At the end of the last century, Carrie Bradshaw, the heroine of the HBO series Sex and the City, helped make Cosmopolitans the biggest TV spin-off craze since the Miami Vicegetup. But just a few decades ago, real cocktails existed where liquors anchored the beverage and fruit was just a garnish, not a cornerstone. Manhattans and martinis occupied cocktail glasses, and nearly everything else worth drinking came in a lowball, a glass with a heavy base that felt good in your hand. Many drinks were deceptively simple: a vodka (or gin) gimlet is only four parts vodka and one part lime juice. It’s no coincidence that the first drink reputed to be called a cocktail is an old-fashioned, a mixture in which sugar, bitters, an orange slice and a cherry compliment a jigger (where did that term go?) of whiskey. According to some retro enthusiasts (in Britain at least), light ales were a ladies drink in the ’60s, while men stuck to either lagers or darker beers. Thank goodness some things have changed over time.
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