Posted by: Jack Henry | April 7, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Robots and Mixed Drinks

It’s been some time since I’ve shared the Chicago Manual of Style Q&A with you, but this month’s topics could not be ignored: robot names and the names of mixed drinks. You never know when you’ll need to know these rules. Isn’t it Spring break somewhere? From CMOS:

Q. Robots are being named and even developing personalities, not just in fiction, but in the real world. Should their names be italicized—i.e., “I told Benjamin to wait at the coffee shop,” where Benjamin is a robot with artificial intelligence?

A. Italics for robot names could be fun in fiction; however, that doesn’t seem to be the convention either in fiction or in real life. (An exception is generally made for named spacecraft and the like, including the robotic Mars rover Perseverance.) Before you decide what to do, consider asking some robots to weigh in. [KC – My
says he prefers being called Steve McQueen the Clean Machine; no italics necessary.]

Q. Do you recommend capitalizing named cocktails or other things that are given whimsical, as opposed to utilitarian, names? I’m thinking of things like “Sex on the Beach” or “Florida Tracksuit” that are not strictly proprietary. My inclination is to capitalize to highlight that the phrase is not to be read literally, but is in fact a name, like Coca-Cola, even if it isn’t trademarked.

A. We agree with both your inclination and your logic. Whether you name your cocktail or your cockatoo, that name generally gets treated as a proper noun and capitalized. As you suggest, readers will be less likely that way to get the mistaken impression, however fleeting, that something intimate is happening on the sand or that someone might be about to drink a workout ensemble.

Florida Tracksuit? I had to look it up because it cracked me up! The recipes are as follows:

Sex on the Beach


1 1/2 oz. vodka

1 oz. peach schnapps

2 oz. orange juice

2 oz. cranberry juice

Orange wedge, for garnish

Florida Tracksuit

1/2 oz of orange vodka
2 oz of Red Bull energy drink
1/2 oz of Sour Puss raspberry liqueur

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Editing: Symitar Documentation Services

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