Cocktail culture isn't dead -- it's just gone home (yours)

While the recent economic boom may be most famous for its expensive restaurants, outrageously priced vacations, and insanely high corporate bonuses, its ultimate symbol may well have been cocktail culture. While beer remains the plebian quaff of choice and wine is popular with a more staid crowd, mixed drinks demonstrated energy, excitement, and expense. For many a sophisticated clubgoer, there was nothing more impressive than an experienced bartender, bottles flipping in the air, producing a crisp Mojito or a sweet Cosmopolitan.

Of course, as with so many boom fetishes, cocktail culture had a lot of smoke and mirrors. Bottle service -- which basically involved buying massively inflated bottles of booze and quaffing them with pals -- was more about flashing wealth than about enjoying the finer things. After all, who in their right mind really pays a 1000% markup on a bottle of Grey Goose?