1970 to 1990
The Dark Ages of Mixology are a time that bartenders look back upon with mixed feelings. Really, the dark ages can be extended backward to the 1940s if one is willing to exclude tiki and other proper cocktail establishments. While aspects of pre-prohibition mixology remained in certain bright spots during the dark ages, by and large, American mixology was lost and making sub-par drinks. The average American during the dark ages might order a cocktail at a party or nightclub, which played a heavy influence on the mixology of this period. Special shot drinks and different words ending in -tini became popular. It would be during this time that James Bond would ask for his vodka martini “shaken, not stirred.” Shaking this recipe produces something that provides nothing to the flavor palate and nothing to bartending as a whole, but it does get you drunk fast and make you look cool while doing it. By and large, alcohol was a tool used by people to enjoy other things, not the cocktail itself. Bartenders in this era rarely used fresh ingredients and instead used mass-produced mixes to sweeten drinks and speed up their construction. Like many aspects of Western society in this time, cocktails in this era were not an art but mass-produced and heavily monetized.
This does not mean this era was without its artists. Dale DeGroff and other prominent bartenders started to explore the old works of Jerry Thomas and research the Golden Age during the late ‘80s. While not massive in popularity, this would help set the stage for the bars of the future.