Maybe it's because of the Queen's recent visit, or the steely blue gaze of the newest James Bond, but gin is experiencing something of an American renaissance these days. Eric Asimov, writing in the New York Times dining section, recently called it "a thinking person's spirit." And who doesn't want to be considered thoughtful in their choice of libation? But in the United States, alas, pensive gin-drinkers must be at least twenty-one years of age. Which is why the recent graduation ceremony at Ohio's Phoenix Village Academy charter school poses a bit of a problem. Four sixth-graders were given a concoction of gin and water as part of the event, which was said to mimic an ancestral Ghanaian rite of passage. The point, according to principal Kwa David Whitaker, is to teach truthfulness--after sipping, students were supposed to identify that they weren't drinking pure water, and spit out their cocktail. Gadfly has no idea how much gin is consumed in Ghana but he's pretty sure that Phoenix Village Academy has no liquor license. The Queen wouldn't approve, that's for sure.
"School Defends Serving 6th-Graders Gin," Associated Press, June 9, 2007