Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Sep 2 20:14:46 UTC 2002

At 2:45 PM -0500 9/2/02, Mike Salovesh wrote:
>TONIC  Boston localism. (This creates the necessity for stodgier members
>of the MIT and Harvard faculties to find a non-ambiguous term for the
>beverage often used to dilute gin. Frequent substitute: "it".)

Well, there's "TAW-nik" (generic in eastern Mass. for soda/pop, still
alive and well as of a couple of years ago on the big board at South
Station, Boston) and then there's tonic.  The latter, to be mixed
with gin, I suppose could also be "quinine", in the style of the
British colonials.  Or "gin & tonic", where the context removes the
ambiguity.  The contemporary "G&T" is also pretty transparent.
(Except for the lime, heh heh.)  And I suspect "tonic water" can only
be the quinine mixer.  But maybe the "tonic" issue partly explains
the New England tradition in the 50's, mentioned by Roger Angell in
his piece on martinis in the New Yorker food issue a couple of weeks
ago, of just referring to "Gin" as the name of various concoctions
based thereupon (not martinis, not gin and tonics, just plain gin,
which--in a martini--is mostly what it was).

>SELTZER  Originally N.Y., but widely diffused as a traditional
>accompaniment to Passover seders. Seltzer comes in many flavors.
>Unflavored seltzer may also be called "soda water".  (Also see "two
>cents plain".)
As I've probably mentioned, I grew up thinking "Vichy" ([vIshi], with
first syllable stress) was a Yiddish word for seltzer.  It's what we
called the large blue glass siphon bottles delivered to our house
(Washington Heights, Manhattan, late 40's-mid 50's).


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