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Illustration: Andy Friedman

Ask the Critics | Lipstick, booze and more

You asked about booze and lipstick, and we answered.


For about 30 years, I’ve been a regular drinker (one cocktail a day) and have tried just about every brand of booze on the market (and also Southern moonshine), and I haven’t been able to tell the difference among them. One made me as drunk as the other, and the hangovers were the same. Level with me: Is there really any difference among boozes, or is it just advertising? —Hosea L. Martin, Prairie Shores
Three-hundred-sixty-five cocktails a year for 30 years is almost 11,000 cocktails—and you’re asking us if there’s a difference? We believe there is a difference between brands, but that difference only matters to some drinkers. For example, certain whiskies, gins and rums have subtleties that cheaper bottles don’t—but that doesn’t matter if you’re going to pour it into a cup of pineapple juice and Red Bull. Use the pricey stuff for drinking straight (or almost straight), and the cheap stuff for mixing with cola. (One exception: Vodka, in which case something good, cheap and Polish—like Sobieski—works both ways.)

I recently sent back a glass of wine because there was lipstick residue on the glass. The bartender simply poured the wine from my glass to a new glass. Am I right to assume that lip prints denote a dirty glass? And is the way the bartender handled this kosher?—Nick, Andersonville
Personally, we don’t worry about a little lipstick on a glass. But the health department takes a harder stance. “If there is still residue/lipstick on the glass, then it wasn’t washed/rinsed/sanitized properly,” a rep told us. Either way, when a bar agrees to make an exchange, they’re agreeing to a brand new drink. So the bartender’s response: not kosher. Not kosher at all.

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