Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quote of the day

"I conclude that economics is not yet a science.  Economics is most like a science when people do not care about the outcome of the argument."
- Tyler Cowen

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I had to apologize last night....

Of course, it is not all that rare for me to apologize.  When I inadvertently jostle somebody, or I step on somebody's foot, a heartfelt "sorry" or "get out of my way" slips past my lips without much emotion.

But this time I was actually wrong.

One of the most likely things for me to order at a bar is "a Grand Marnier, straight up in a snifter".  I've been ordering this since the 80s without the occurrence of any disasters.  Sometimes I just say "Grand Marnier", figuring it's the most likely way for it to be served - in a brandy glass, without any ice.

Last night, before the RPO concert at Max's across the street, I ordered a "Grand Marnier" and the bartender asked "neat?" and I said "straight up".  She brought me a concoction I didn't even recognize, cloudy and cold.   After looking at her incredulously, I repeated "Grand Marnier, straight up"?  She nodded cheerfully.  I informed her what I thought "straight up" meant...she seemed dubious, but set the original glass aside and poured me a new one the way I wanted it.  As I enjoyed it, I decided to look up "straight up".

To my amazement, it was exactly the concoction she brought me in the first place....strained through ice to chill it and then served without any further ice to water it down (logical, if you want your drink cold).  For almost thirty years I've been ordering drinks "straight up" without finding out what that actually meant (OK, the article DOES say
"Straight up" means "chilled and served without ice in a cocktail glass" but is often used to mean "neat."
In retrospect, there have been times when bartenders asked  whether I wanted it chilled, but I thought they were just offering an additional unrelated service.  On this occasion, since I had just overruled her "neat" (thinking I was actually confirming it) she couldn't have asked for further clarification without seeming argumentative.

I bought the original glass as well to get an idea of what I've been ordering all these years (not bad, actually, but the temperature tempts you to pour it down the throat much faster than is wise) and apologized.  I'll be ordering it "neat in a snifter" from now on (although back in the 80s "neat", which was the first word I learned for the concept (in a Chinese cookbook, of all places), usually got the bartender to ask "You mean 'straight up'?"

Am I the victim of regional language change, or just delusional?