Cocktails, in their early days in America, were designed to help mask the nastiness of bootleg liquor. That often meant sugar. Lots of sugar. And I, like many drinkers in my early days, developed a taste for sugary, sweet cocktails. The kind you get at a dive bar, served stiff and often in a pint glass.
Now that we’ve entered an era where mixology has permeated our culture, higher-end bars tend to treat you with a certain disdain when you order up something less-than fancy. They’ll look at you as if you walked in, naked and deranged, asking for a gun. As if, somehow, your desire to get something simpler than a concoction named after an obscure 17th century metal-smith containing house-made honey liqueur, whiskey aged at an altitude of exactly 43-feet sea level, pickled melon rinds, and bitters made from the tears of Jack Kerouac would somehow cause the roof to cave in. Look, at least I made the effort to call it by a Spanish name. All I really wanted was a pint of Sugarbooze ™.
Yet now that we live in an age of revisionist cocktail history, we're getting away from the roots of the cocktail itself.