The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Zagat Releases First Mixology Survey: Creativity Is An Annoying Trend

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 19, 2012 4:30PM

Photo by Jen Marie.
Zagat caught up with the rest of the restaurant world circa 2006 today when it released the results of its first-ever mixology survey. Snark aside, it's awesome that this mainstream outlet recognized the ascendency of the cocktail. And there are some interesting tidbits in the survey. Unfortunately, their readers also managed to label almost everything we like in the cocktail world an "annoying trend."

Let's start with the interesting stuff. Out of 1000 respondents, 33 percent voted for whiskey as their favorite spirit, followed by 27 percent for vodka. We despondent gin lovers are apparently not on trend. Tons of people are drinking cocktails, and people agree that $15 is the cutoff point beyond which a cocktail becomes ridiculously overpriced. Plus, the Cosmo is dead, saints be praised.

Unfortunately, as with all crowd-sourced wisdom, the crowd is often, well, wrong. 70% of drinkers apparently prefer their drinks shaken to stirred. First, this is a silly survey question, since different drinks require different methods. However, it does point to something interesting—show versus taste. Do people really think their Manhattan tastes better shaken? Or do they want a vest-clad bartender to shake things around for them? Hmm.

A followup article on Zagat's blog went through the most "annoying" trends in cocktails, and here's where we have a bone to pick with the readers of the little red book. Some of the annoying trends we wholeheartedly agree with—flavored vodka just needs to stop, bacon in drinks is probably overdone, and who wants to have drinks with an obnoxious snob?

On the negative side, the survey results also condemned "twee serving vessels." Apparently there are "people annoyed at the trend toward Jazz Age drinking vessels." We think the rise of the coupe and other interesting glasses is an awesome trend, and are eagerly awaiting the downfall of the always-spilling (but apparently never twee) martini glass.

Survey respondents also don't like molecular cocktails (calling the Aviary), herbal infusions, floral infusions, retro cocktails, drinks with too many ingredients and metal straws. But the most popular drinks are the Manhattan, martini and old fashioned. In other words: make classic cocktails without any interesting new flavors (but don't label them retro!), serve them in boring glasses with plastic straws and don't do anything interesting. "It's the 21st century, and people want their drinks to reflect that (without the addition of liquid nitrogen, that is)." Huh. Mixers, put on your thinking caps for that one.