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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.