Back in America, where a martini isn't a big glass of vermouth, and the glassware isn't glass.

October 4th, 2013, 3pm

It was 22.2°C with overcast. The breeze was light.

Let me just start by saying I’m not complaining about anything. I love travel (and being able to travel). And I probably couldn’t afford more than one or two “actual” cocktails anywhere in Europe anyway. And besides, cocktails are more of an American thing, and I can see how offering an old-fashioned at a continental bistro is like putting a hamburger on a sushi menu.


We spent two weeks in Switzerland. It’s a land of wine and beer (mostly lagers). Both are very good there (and I usually don’t like lagers), but they’re not the same as a nice cocktail.

Martinis are on the Swiss menus, but they’re just Martini & Rossi poured cold into a glass. There are aperitif cocktails at a few Italian-leaning establishments, and those are just fine until dinner arrives. And once dinner arrives, you need a glass of wine (or maybe a beer depending on the food) because a cocktail will just overpower the meal.

We had two fabulous weeks with the in-laws. (We rode trains.) Then we flew away and landed in Chicago. And in Chicago we were in the airport. And in the airport there was a bar. And in the bar there was gin and there was vermouth and there was ice. I love a good martini. I ordered it. I drank it and thought about my vacation. I was able to enjoy my memories and feel glad to be back. It’s hard to do those two things at the same time. But I did. And I thank the kindly bartender at the very end of the O’Hare terminal for helping me.

Daniel said thanks.

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Gabe Bullard

Journalist. Public radio news and program director (WFPL, Louisville Public Media). Nieman Fellow, class of 2015.

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