“I went from vodka Red Bull to vodka soda to vodka water to sauvignon blanc,” my stylish writer friend was saying as she ordered an espresso at The Manifest on a Wednesday night before the music got too loud. It made all of us laugh because she was so right. It was the drinker’s path to maturity. I noticed I have become more of a sipper these days, too. I’m happy with something that I can order on the rocks and just sort of hold the glass for a while, or even something like wine that doesn’t ever get watered down. In our twenties, it was so not about smelling and tasting our drinks, pulling out herbal notes or whatever. It was getting something down our throats so we couldn’t feel our shoes anymore. Quickly. And I’m glad liquor exists, mostly because of its complexity and range, even though some are saying we never really caught back up to “cocktailing” since Prohibition.
Just look at Los Angeles-based social media, food-porn specialist extraordinaire Mike Prasad. This guy is one of those super smart tech entrepreneurs who launched a bevy of successful media websites and has a pretty impressive resume when it comes to creating buzz. I’m talking going from zero to a hundred thousand Facebook likes in under three months. What’s he into now? Cocktails. Launching his latest dot-com MXLGY all over the nation, he has crafted a private newsletter for the drinking enthusiast, dedicated to the art of craft cocktails and modern mixology. I was introduced to him years ago by a mutual friend and have spotted him here and there, giving talks on social media. The fact that he’s been spending so much time in Hawaii lately is good for us and for cocktail culture in general. “Last year I got to know many amazing bartenders here and when I pitched the concept of the MXLGY Triple Shot, everyone wanted to help make it happen,” he told me at the launch of his Triple Shot event. The concept was to take three bartenders and give them three spirits, a showcase if you will. The new Loft in Space gallery in the back of Fresh Café was the perfect setting for watching three bartenders (they do NOT like to be called “Mixologists!”) work their magic. See, this never gets old. You can take the same spirit you drink all the time, and give it to one of these bartenders, like Kyle Reutner from Town for instance, and he seriously just turns it to magic. Most people know I like to drink my gin with Canton as a supershot, but this night Kyle turned gin into The Violet Fizz: a bubbly combination of violet, lavender, lemon and froth. The event was golden and, immediately after, Mike made plans to make it a monthly thing, rotating venues and bartenders. Honolulu’s bartenders have their own fellowship and events among themselves and even Instagram-battle their cocktails to each other on the Internet. Yes, I said Instagram-battle, do you follow Jess Shedlock at Motown on Mondays at Nextdoor or Roxanne Siebert at The Standard? It’s serious. They’re seeeeerious. Now the rest of us get to see just how creative and delicious their cocktails are. I can’t wait until the next event. Triple shots for all!