What's new

Hey, that's neat!

I was sitting at a bar in Chicago with a couple of my friends and an argument ensued among our neighboring patrons about the precise definition of "neat." Before they were done, two of the bartenders were in on it and tempers were flaring. Now, we were at a bar, so you can guess that I don't mean, "Wow, that Tommy Sands is so neat!"

Honestly, I was a little surprised to hear the debate. Not knowing what "neat" means is a little bit like being unclear about "wet." How 'bout you gents? Is there any wiggle room in neat?
 
I was sitting at a bar in Chicago with a couple of my friends and an argument ensued among our neighboring patrons about the precise definition of "neat." Before they were done, two of the bartenders were in on it and tempers were flaring. Now, we were at a bar, so you can guess that I don't mean, "Wow, that Tommy Sands is so neat!"

Honestly, I was a little surprised to hear the debate. Not knowing what "neat" means is a little bit like being unclear about "wet." How 'bout you gents? Is there any wiggle room in neat?

As I understand it, if there is anything in the glass that didn't come out of the bottle, it is not "neat." There is no room for interpretation, opinion or editorialization (or ice or water for that matter). What did they argue differently?
 
Neat means a clean glass with the spirit inside. You could ask for a garnish I suppose ("Whiskey: neat, with a twist" for example), but then it isn't truly neat anymore.
 
Not even a millimeter. Neat has one precise meaning, at least in reference to spirits.

It is only a spirit, undiluted in any way, served at room temperature.

Unless it is stored in the freezer(unlikely in a bar) like Vodka.

But undiluted, without a doubt.
 
You're wrong. That's not neat anymore. Neat is at room temperature.


Bob drinks Johnnie Gold stored in the freezer, it's still undiluted, but it is no longer neat. It is chilled.

I agree with Tim. Neat is neat. Period. As soon as you tamper with it in any way, it is no longer neat. (That doesn't mean it's wrong, it just means you need a different modifier to describe it).

For example, chilled in the freezer could still be called "straight up", but it wouldn't be neat.
 
The only thing you're allowed to do to a spirit served "neat" is pour it into a glass. Some say there's no distinction between "neat" and "straight," but with the preponderance of bar patrons who order drinks "straight up" and expect them to be shaken/stirred, strained, and served "up," I think the meaning of "straight" has come to mean something slightly different. That is, strained and served without ice.
 
The only thing you're allowed to do to a spirit served "neat" is pour it into a glass. Some say there's no distinction between "neat" and "straight," but with the preponderance of bar patrons who order drinks "straight up" and expect them to be shaken/stirred, strained, and served "up," I think the meaning of "straight" has come to mean something slightly different. That is, strained and served without ice.

I've seen people order "vodka, straight up" and then ask why they got a vodka martini.:001_rolle
 
I've seen people order "vodka, straight up" and then ask why they got a vodka martini.:001_rolle

Technically, in order to be a martini (as opposed to a drink served in a martini glass), it would have to have a hint of vermouth, no?

Straight up would be done Martini style (in some places), but without the vermouth, or the olives.
 
Technically, in order to be a martini (as opposed to a drink served in a martini glass), it would have to have a hint of vermouth, no?

Yes. My comment was based more on those that believe that a martini is any drink served in a martini glass.

Since you mention it though -- ask a bartender sometime what they make when someone orders a martini. The majority I've asked simply chill and strain vodka into an up glass and drop in an olive.
 
Yes. My comment was based more on those that believe that a martini is any drink served in a martini glass.

Since you mention it though -- ask a bartender sometime what they make when someone orders a martini. The majority I've asked simply chill and strain vodka into an up glass and drop in an olive.

I understood your post and I was agreeing with you. I guess something got lost in the translation from my brain to the keyboard. :tongue_sm

Anyway, I'm one of those weird old guys that still thinks a martini is a gin drink!!
 
I understood your post and I was agreeing with you. I guess something got lost in the translation from my brain to the keyboard. :tongue_sm

Anyway, I'm one of those weird old guys that still thinks a martini is a gin drink!!

Heh, I'm a young guy and I do too:thumbup1:
 
ask a bartender sometime what they make when someone orders a martini. The majority I've asked simply chill and strain vodka into an up glass and drop in an olive.

Most bartenders are very poor in their craft, and that's very sad. When you find a a quality barman that puts care into their work, nourish that relationship and enjoy those quality cocktails.
 
Since you mention it though -- ask a bartender sometime what they make when someone orders a martini. The majority I've asked simply chill and strain vodka into an up glass and drop in an olive.

They would be doubly wrong (is that a cocktail pun?). A Martini is gin and dry vermouth.

I believe that the original Martini recipe had more vermouth than the current interpretation (3 or 4 parts gin to 1 part vermouth). They've gotten so much dryer over the years that the vermouth is often overlooked entirely. Odd that the Manhattan hasn't suffered this fate. They still contain a measurable amount of vermouth.
 
I understood your post and I was agreeing with you. I guess something got lost in the translation from my brain to the keyboard. :tongue_sm

Anyway, I'm one of those weird old guys that still thinks a martini is a gin drink!!

Not weird at all. That's what it is, and you're not alone around here :cool:
 
My understanding of neat was always the liquor comes out of the bottle and into the glass. That's it.

The argument that I heard--and that divided the bartenders--was that a drink ordered neat included the possibility of being served on the rocks. While they all agreed that if the liquor was served with a mixer of some kind, it couldn't be neat, they seemed to think that ice cubes were a neutral material that didn't count. To my surprise, one of the bartenders agreed with them.

I was glad that I just ordered a beer.
 
Top Bottom