The problem with Latin is that it sounds all egg-heady. Cocktails, which could conceivably both have eggs in them and go to your head, nonetheless rarely have egg-heady names. Would you raise a Pulchritude to your parched lips? Nope, it’s an American Beauty. Sip a Vehicle? Sorry, try a Sidecar. Our Old English, Celtic and Anglo Saxon words just sound better to put in your mouth. They’ve got chewier textures, a whiff of sensuality, the promise of tasting good. Browse a bartending guide and you’ll find Fizzes, Flips and Rickeys, Cobblers, Coolers and Kirs, Sours, Slings and Sledgehammers, Sharks, Derbies, Zombies and Knickerbockers. But Latinate names? I count only five that even come close.
The first two that spring to mind, Cosmopolitan and Metropolitan, are both from the Greek, -politan meaning citizenship, and the prefixes from words for world and city. The Cosmopolitan is the citizen of the world, the Metropolitan of the city. Greek, as we know, is not Latin, but these two words do sound a bit egg-heady, and so they share the problem of Latin, a disembodiment from the senses. Another candidate is the Ideal Cocktail, idea- again from the Greek word meaning to see, which implies that our ideals are more tangible than we think. Judge is Latinate, and there’s a Judge, Jr. cocktail—does that count? I don’t think so. The name is so clearly straining to convert the beverage into a person, and no matter how Latinate a person’s name, a person remains rooted in the body. Personification, an egg-heady word, trumps egg-headiness. Personification in fact does the opposite of how it sounds.