Monday, September 19, 2005

Only in Canada, eh?

Don't usually like to mention anything remotely connected to the film festival as I find the evidence of this place's provincial mentality a little distressing. For example, I was walking home from a nice meeting with the Plymouth Gin people and found getting past the Inter Continental hotel as much of a feat as it is during the Santa Claus parade thanks to the slack-jawed gawkers lined up to see if they can catch a glimpse of Kevin Bacon. However, Rebecca Eckler had a little story about a film festival drink at the Four Seasons called "The Six Figures" in the September 14th National Post and I felt compelled to comment.

The drink is a Margarita. Eckler confuses it with a Martini several times, but we can forgive her that since it's a common mistake these days to call anything in a glass with a stem that isn't wine a "Martini". I've changed my mind. We can't forgive her as we must take a stand on the degradation of the vocabulary of the drinking chamber. Still, I'm not really so pedantic that I'd actually write a whole blog entry about her little slip. (To be precise, she calls her Margarita a Martini ten times - so that's ten little slips.)

My real complaint, though, is that the public relations director claims that there's not a lot of profit in her $70 cocktail. The drink is clearly an attempt to get on the map with world's most expensive drink (not even close, by the way, see here and here). By this, I assume she means the profit margin is low, which may be true although I can't see it. After all, fresh lime juice, Patron Anejo and Grand Marnier 150 are expensive; lime juice= a dollar; Patron Anejo, well let's say they use 2 ounces and that's ten dollars; that leaves, wait a minute, just how much Grand Marnier are they using? The truth is, even though Grand Marnier 150 is abour $225, you really only use about a half ounce (tops) in a drink like this, so that's about $5 with some spillage. So the drink cost is about $16 a perfectly respectable cost of 22%.

But really, that's just a digression from my actual real complaint, which is about this ridiculous Patron pricing scheme. There is no way, I repeat, no way, Patron Anejo is worth remotely $125 at the liquor store and ten dollars for two ounces. This is one of the more outrageoss scams I've seen in the liquor industry. Patron is a premium bar brand in the States. It is the equivalent of asking for Johnnie Walker Red Label instead of bar scotch.

Patron is a decent brand. In New York and in Baltimore (where a bottle of silver goes for around $45) I'd gladly pay another oh, say, dollar to have a Margarita made with Patron. That would make it seven dollars (not seventy). And, I have happily paid over a hundred dollars for good tequila. But not for Patron. Don't fall for the marketing on this one, kids. It's not even drunk in Mexico. The bottles look handcrafted small batch but it's major mass production. Buy two bottles of El Jimador instead. Or, write the liquor control and ask them to import one of the hundreds of other excellent tequilas available (but please don't mark it up to twice the price anywhere else).

On the other hand, maybe what we don't know won't hurt us. That must be what they're thinking. It's yet another confirmation of that provinciality I was talking about. Another confirmation that our "world-class city" lacks many of those cosmopolitan qualities that we desperately covet and so blatantly lack.