Twenty-five years ago this past autumn, we published a short article entitled 'Adherence of bacteria to hydrocarbons: a simple method for measuring cell-surface hydrophobicity' in Volume 9 of FEMS Microbiology Letters. Together with my Ph.D. supervisors, Eugene Rosenberg and David Gutnick, we proposed a method of measuring bacterial cell surface hydrophobicity based on bacterial adherence to hydrocarbon ('BATH', later known as 'MATH', for microbial adhesion to hydrocarbon). The method became popular soon after it was published, and the paper was, for at least the following decade, the Journal's most cited article. It became an ISI 'citation classic' in 1991. This minireview is a rather personal look at the development of the method and its various modifications and other scientific offspring, with the perspective of a quarter-century.