Happily, the Bar is not what it used to be
With the onset of the Twenty First Century, the old, traditional bar has come to an end.
I you have one from the Twentieth Century, check your bottles. You’ll probably have to get new things. You obviously consider bottles with old, famous names as “forever” objects. But their presentation and positioning is surely different. Things have changed.
In the modern bar, there’s more concentrated diversity nowadays. If you live with your family, the bar is no longer his alone; it now belongs to the ladies and the youngsters of the family (and their friends).
If you live alone, the bar is not only a showcase for your whims, it’s also a gathering point where modern tendencies come together.
A New Role
The revolution of the bar was made evident during the last fifteen years. Never as now has the offer of bottles, categories of Spirits, cocktails, and long drinks been as large.
Never before in the history of drinks has there been so many people enthusiastically trying out recipes, formulas, secrets, under similar premises: novelty, more pleasure, less alcohol.
Gastronomy Master, Jean Huteau, maintained in his classes in Paris that the development of drinks could not be separated from the evolution of culture and societies.
He’s not exagerating; it’s the truth. Spirits or distillates were born under the Agua de vida”label, and were restoratives during the harsh life conditions in the Fifteenth and Eighteenth Centuries.
The first bitters, Vermouths, and herb liquors were closer to home medicine than to pleasure.
The limits of consumption and the rejection of excess are now common currency. That notion that “responsible consumption” is even promoted by producers and distributors.
The bar has changed, for the better.
Thousands of young people have subsituted the veternas behind the bars. Thousands of women are now experts in drinks, an unimaginable thing only 25 years ago.
Aqua vitae that 200 years ago was obtained by laborious processes to be administered by spoonfulls to the ill, has now become a panacea and knows no frontiers.
Additionally, the good and the exquisite, since the Eighteenth Century, no longer belongs to the aristocracy, the upper classes.
Modern clientele at the bars – states Domine and Euler – ae after ideals such as fitness, sport and health, and expect their drinks to correspond to these characteristics.
At the same time, the certainty in Modernity that an excess in alcohol is harmful has imposed new styled under a simple formula everyone understands: Less, but better.
This has produced an increase in the demand for distilled drinks of very high quality. Vodka, for example, is the palpable expression of the search to eliminate the congeners, responsible for headaches, by increasing by three, four, five times the distillation process.
Distilleries, distillers, and artifices of formulas and mixtures, are being egged on by the new generations of consumers to demonstrate purity.
But not only that, the big brands aldo know they must have origins that evince enthusiasm because of their authenticity, and respectful processes in harmony with the environment.
The bar as an urban place is today a mixture of refreshing sociability, space for coterie, and the exchanging experiences and gastronomic references.
The atmosphere of the place (be it the very slmall space of your bar table), has to have personality. Even the big hotels, struggling to make their bars a geographic reference in each city, have understood this.
Likewise has happened with the brands inventing new bottle designs, changing labels, creating new derinks, training men and women bartenders, interested in every type of consumer, except for one: lovers of excess.
Alberto Soria Writer / Journalist specialized in Gastronomy, Wines and Spirits / University Professor