Through the 23 cocktail shake-downs we’ve shared in 2017, each has filled me with a mounting dread of failure.
Could 2017 pass without me finding a way to weave a very important anniversary into one of the shake—downs?
Well, at the third last edition of this very strange year, I have rid myself of that burden.
The Japanese Slipper is possibly the vilest concoction I have ever consumed in the name of research. I could not choke down more than a few sips of this cocktail, nor could I convince any of my drinking companions to finish it for me.
To be fair, I came to it closed-minded. Midori, Cointreau and lemon juice served with two sunken maraschino cherries.
You’d know Midori, it is Japanese for green and that is the most positive thing I can find to say about it. It is not an ingredient in a single IBA Official Cocktail – and while I have laid out in these pages my concerns about the judgement of that body – this to me seems a measure of good taste.
But Midori is an important liqueur in that it forms part of the alcohol apprenticeship for so many of us. I confess to a short dalliance with the melon liqueur in the 1980s.
But arguably the most important contribution Midori has made to the cocktail world is today, in allowing us to finally mark the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Fever (and if you want to be precise, prepare to raise your glass on 12 December 2017).
See Midori was launched by Suntory at a party for the cast and crew of Saturday Night Fever at Studio 54 in New York.
Now that we have made that link, there should be no further requirement for us to discuss this sickly melon-flavoured liqueur.
But because I am nothing if not professional, I took to the bars of Sydney yesterday to see if bartenders could convince me that Midori can be served in a fashion acceptable to anyone over 21.
Three bartenders refused the challenge.
Calvin at Untied gave it a solid crack though and came up with a nameless drink that was Bombay Sapphire gin, a modicum of Midori, passionfruit and pineapple juice, served with a lot of crushed ice, mint and a slice of blow-torched pineapple.
I am about to give this cocktail the highest praise I can ever imagine giving something containing Midori.
It was ok.
But I’m done with the experiment and done – permanently – with Midori.
So back to Saturday Night Fever. A timeless classic, worthy of our attention.
You know the story, Vinnie Barbarino, having graduated from the Sweat-hogs worked (not terrifically hard) in a hardware store by day and carved up the dance floor at disco 2001 Odyssey by night under a new name, Tony Manero.
Let’s set aside the most implausible part of this movie – that anyone could slide on a dance-floor in the 1970s and not come up covered in cigarette ash and butts, booze stains and in all likelihood, vomit.
Let’s also set aside the plot which is just bad.
Instead let’s focus on the DANCING. The FASHION. And especially the MUSIC.
Saturday Night Fever, the album, was released on November 15, 1977 and is still the highest selling soundtrack album of all time (which is especially remarkable when you remember that the Footloose album had Let’s Hear it for the Boy, Footloose and Holding Out for a Hero – not the shitty 2011 remake which, as a matter of principle, I have never watched. The 1984 original).
The Bee Gees apparently wrote pretty much all the SNF songs in a single weekend and weren’t involved until post-production, so all the Travolta dancing scenes were originally to Boz Scaggs and Stevie Wonder.
I bet you haven’t thought about Boz Scaggs in a while.
No, none of us has.
In another excellent quirk of fate, in SNF’s opening scene as Tony gets ready for his big night out, we see the posters on his bedroom wall. One of these posters is of Wonder Woman.
It’s the Lynda Carter version, but 2017 being the 40th anniversary of Tony/Vinnie/John Travolta’s dance-floor Odyssey also saw the release of the new WW movie. Nice one, Universe.
So you could embrace that theme in working out what to drink while you watch SNF (or just skip the movie and put the soundtrack on repeat, closing your eyes and imagining a sunken lounge room with shag-pile carpet up the walls).
There is a Wonder Woman cocktail which I haven’t found the origins of but does pre-date the Gal Gadot movie and disappointingly but also symmetrically, does contain Midori.
It sounds bloody awful – Midori, peach schnapps and three types of juice – so I’m going to pass on that one and will instead opt for an IBA cocktail that was big in the 1970s, maybe an Alexander or possibly even the very first cocktail covered in Shake, Stir, Muddle, the Tequila Sunrise.
Whatever you do, don’t let this opportunity pass to review Barry Gibb’s testicle arrangement in his tight white Stayin’ Alive pants and stay clear of the melon liqueur.