Like Jonah, I also wish I had come earlier to the party celebrating Judge Bork’s book and firm drinking prescriptions. His dry-as-a-bone essay on the Martini in our 1996 post-election issue provoked some wonderful responses. They included (again if my memory is right) a letter from a former U2 pilot who wrote that it was a matter of pride among his fellow-pilots to strip out the iron rations from their survival kit and replace them with a Martini kit. The idea was that if your plane was shot out of the sky, you would land somewhere in Siberia, get out of the parachute, scoop up a handful or two of snow, mix the martini, and drink it while waiting for the Russians to arrive.
The spirit of the story strongly indicates gin rather than vodka as the drink’s mainstay.
On the wider question of cocktails I can reassure Mona Charen. We can indeed all get along. Judge Bork himself regularly enjoys a gimlet as a sort of vacation from the Martini, rather like going on the wagon. But the alcohol in his gimlets not only has to be gin, the lime juice absolutely has to be Rose’s already-sweetened version. Accept no substitutes. Gimlets made with a blend of some other lime juice and bar sugar might as well be called a limetini and abandoned to abandoned young women.
The 1996 Bork discussion of the Martini, incidentally, appeared in an issue entitled “How to Forget the Election.” Is anything happening at the moment that might explain the recurrence of this topic?