Vodka is the whipping boy is the cocktailarati. This has become clear after a few days in New Orleans. To be serious about spirits is to loathe and disdain the barbarian hordes storming the gates of our nation's taverns crying for the latest infused vodka—on the rocks, with tonic or awash in fruit juice.
Some comments I've heard and been amused by over the past few days:
Chuck Taggart (author of the blog The Gumbo Pages): "Vodka and tonic, come on! Let's have a drink that tastes like something."
Darcy O'Neil, blogger and bartender: "The vodka menus in bars are not our fault."
Wayne Curtis (author of "And a Bottle of Rum"): "Vodka I blame for what has happened to a lot of the rum industry."
James Meehan (bartender, mixologist, author): Talking about James Bond's favorite drink: "Vodka Martini. No flavor, no taste. Now I'm going to go kill some people."
I must say I am in agreement with all these folks, and would probably express myself in more salty terms. Vodka has its place, but dominance of the cocktail market should not be it.
A good idea for a panel in 2008 might be "Vodka: A Defense."