Have a break, Have a gin.

by Danilo Nakamura
translation by Hidemi Hamano

Fashion is a bitch: it makes you feel ugly and old much faster than you would naturally age and lose your beauty – the same way Steve Jobs used to make you feel passé when you were still in love with your new iPhone (he'd go and release another one). They share the sudden creation of the obsolete – the “new” obsolete, as contradictory as it may sound. With time, though, I've grown to accept the idea that something pretty isn't pretty anymore, just like that. I got used to the skinny jeans and therefore to the new man's silhouette (I was told to blame it on Dior). I've also managed to cope with all the new music that has turned my once modern repertoire into an enormous list of songs simply useless for the dance floor. I've had some problems, and still have, but kind of surrendered to the idea that lovely colognes sometimes are too old to smell too good.

What I never understood, though, is how you can find a taste delicious today and unbearable tomorrow (the opposite would be easier to understand, and some might even call it development). Not that it ever differs much. The thing is that these tastes have never gotten any worse and they never will. The only people who care if what they taste is suitable to good taste are the tasteless. But I've seen an increasingly rapid change in what people are drinking just for the sake of coolness, and not taste. I ain't talking about wine, for it's a very distant and self-sufficient world, with its own rules and all. I am talking about drinks, cocktails, liquids that people swallow unpretentiously during a night out. The only one that has withstood all the fashions I've endured over the years is beer – apparently because beer is too friendly a drink ever to be out of fashion, even though it had its sparse (and terrible) moments of 'seriousness'. Beer is okay because it's effortless (just like plain black t-shirts).

I've seen people rave about new martinis or Absolut flavours only to drop and curse them two nights later. “Have you seen that girl drinking a cosmo? Sooo passé!”. What the fuck? Weren't you holding a fancy glass of silly pinkish cosmopolitan last week? More than that, weren't you so proud of it? Who ruled the cosmopolitan out? That's the point. Drinkology has no Karl Lagerfeld or Miuccia Prada. Its coolness depends on people who can't actually sew a drink. With no Karl Lagerfeld, there can be no Viktor & Rolf, no Gareth Pugh, no disrupt, no evolving – after all, how can you contradict a statement that has never been? “The never-existed is no longer”.

So, for some mysterious reason, gin is back. It's been back for quite a while, actually (say, 5 years). It's always been there, I know, the dry martinis and gin & tonics have never been a no-no. But gin itself, in its sheer existence, is back after a few decades of uncoolness, when vodka took over its part on popular mixology. Gin was for the elderly, the alcoholic, the depressive and, of course, Her Majesty, the Queen. I've been a gin person for quite a while, thus being taken for all the aforementioned adjectives (except for “Her Majesty, the Queen”, of course) for as long. And to be a gin person in the early 2000's was no mean feat. You couldn't find more than two or three labels of gin almost anywhere. Gordons, Tanqueray and (please, kill me) Bombay Sapphire: that's pretty much all you'd see on the shelves.

Nowadays, it's incredible to be a ginner. Hendrick's, Caorunn, Brooklyn, Sacred and many more – you can even find organic, sustainable, boutique and reduce-your-carbon-footprint labels - are available in most liquor stores (there's even one in Soho, London, with over 80 different bottles of gin). In the oh-so-cool East Village of NYC, you might stumble across a gin bar called Vandaag (with gin scented butter that comes with the bread basket) and it's packed with coolness. The New York Times likes it, and so does New York Magazine (now, won't you?). In Edinburgh (Scotland is the birthplace of the coolest of the new gin labels) you'll find Bramble – a speakeasy cocktail bar with a beautiful selection of gins and hipster barmen that will tell you about every orange peel that they were infused with.

See! I've found the fountain of youth. The gin that made me old for a decade is now unaging me back, although I'm getting older and older, way past the age of fashionism. Sooner or later, it may be out again, but given I'm not a hipster or a fashionista, I won't abandon it, even though I may hide myself behind a bottle of beer here and there – just so you don't call me passé. In the meantime, have a break, have a gin.