Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When a Gathering Was a Gathering

Recently I've been getting nostalgic for the "classic" years. Those not-too-long-ago days when social networking meant simply gathering together with friends. There were people, chairs, a table, some drinks, food, maybe some music in the background and that was it. The evening would be filled with long conversations and laughter, uninterrupted by buzzing smartphones. People gave their unadulterated attention to the moment because they weren't distracting themselves with the half-dozen other virtual conversations happening online in their pocket - a time when thumbs weren't doing the talking at the table.

I'm reminded of these times when I watch classic films. A character pours a drink, there's dialogue and the plot thickens. They're not checking e-mails, updating their Facebook status or uploading a picture of their drink to Twitter (I know, I'm one of the worst offenders).

Though the atmosphere of bar life and social interaction has changed, the classic cocktails enjoyed back then by the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and Alec Guiness are thankfully still alive and thriving today. To celebrate this, the Museum of the American Cocktail hosted "Cocktails of the Silver Screen," (which I've written about here) highlighting cocktails from Hollywood classics like "Casablanca," "The Thin Man," James Bond and "Our Man in Havana." An all-star cast of DC's brightest bartenders paid homage to the greats like the Champagne Cocktail, French 75, Rum Collins, the Martini, the Knickerbocker Cocktail and the classic Daiquiri.

Though technology hasn't made it possilbe to go back to a time of less "interactive" imbibing, we definitely have the ability to bring those times back. Next time I go to meet friends at the bar, it'll be a classic cocktail for me and I think I'll hit the off switch on my phone (or maybe even leave it a home - GASP!) and see what happens.


  1. Definitely enjoyed your classic daiquiri! Next time let's do some Sazeracs!

  2. You were there? Are you really sure those times ever existed?

    1. Was I there during a time when people weren't constantly checking their gadgets? When you would meet friends at a bar or had them over at your home and you weren't competing for attention with their e-mail? Abosulutely. You don't even have to go back very far - like the mid to late 90s and even into the early 2000s before the dawn of the smart phone.

      I certainly experienced the times I describe. Hollywood is of course a controlled fantasy world and is never a real template for life. But the experience of sitting on the balcony for hours, sipping beers and just chatting with friends, completely cut off from work and anyone who wasn't in your immediate presence - those times totally existed.