A Generational Shift of Which I Do Not Approve

These kids today should get off my damn lawn, at least until they learn how to play on it properly.  Seriously, I know it’s trite for old fogies like me to bitch about the younger generations, but this, I think, is a real loss, and, professionally speaking, I’m sick of fking dealing with it.

I was raised by old-school drinkers, children of the Greatest Generation.  I remember my father telling me on several occasions that the way he was raised, you drank what you drank, but you held yourself together, and didn’t let on how hammered you were, no matter how hammered you got.  I remember, growing up, feeling proud of myself when I could tell he’d been drinking (which wasn’t often; he was a responsible parent).  It was always the tiniest slip, a moment of clumsiness you could miss if you weren’t paying attention, and it was rewarding to be on-point enough to spot it when it happened (my sister and I have bonded over this). I’m not saying his example was universal, but there was a respectability to it, and it’s something I think has been lost somewhere along the way.

For one thing, I think, parents stopped teaching their kids how to drink sometime not too long after the generation that raised me.  Somewhere around my early adolescence there was a sea-change in the way people in this country parent, and as younger and younger kids come of age, I’ve noticed a sea-change in the way they relate to alcohol as a result. Continue reading “A Generational Shift of Which I Do Not Approve”

An Excuse to Commit Violence

Last Friday night was a rough one at the bar.  It started off ugly, with a walk-in group of 12 British tourists, one of whom may have been one of the most spectacularly ugly-on-the-inside human beings I have ever encountered, the assimilation of whom into our seating availability presaged a busy, chaotic, full-moon-feeling kind of night, one I was glad to see the end of when my ten-hour stint was done.  We had just locked up, the other bartender and I, and were chatting about the trials and tribulations as we stood outside the bookstore two doors down when a couple of guys came down the street walking bicycles.  One of them wore dark clothes and a ballcap, the other an untucked tuxedo shirt and black pants.  The second one’s face was covered in blood.

“You wanna give me money for bandaids?” he demanded, in such a way I was pretty sure that whatever had happened to his face, he’d done something to deserve it.

We both declined, and turned away, closing our conversational circle, but he just got more obnoxious, while his friend stood off to the side looking helpless and embarrassed.  I put on my 86ing face and told him to fk off and he did.

But then he decided to come back.  Continue reading “An Excuse to Commit Violence”

Making Craft Cocktails Happen Fast: an Example

So, the other day I did some writing about the tension between the care and time involved in making craft cocktails and the realities of putting a drink in front of everyone in the room that wants one.  I did a lot of talking about how you need to figure out beforehand how you’re going to do that, and I figured an example might be helpful.  So let’s talk about the Southside.

The Southside is a classic summer cocktail with gin, mint, lemon, orange, simple syrup and soda.  It’s delicious and refreshing, the kind of thing you could kick back quite a few of on a warm afternoon and find yourself in a very convivial headspace.  It’s also a tremendous pain in the ass to make.  Here, I’ll run you through it:

Pour a half-ounce of simple syrup into a mixing glass.  Add eight leaves of mint and press them with the muddler.  Add one slice orange and one slice lemon and press again.  Pour one and a half ounces of gin and cover with ice.  Shake and (micro)strain over fresh ice.  Top it with soda and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

A few months ago, when the place I work redid the house cocktail list for spring and summer, the Beverage Manager for the company put the Southside on it.

Continue reading “Making Craft Cocktails Happen Fast: an Example”

An Open Letter to our European Visitors, From the Service Industry Professionals of the United States

We know you know you’re supposed to tip, and how much.  We hear you joking about it at your table sometimes (more of us are bi- and multilingual than you think).  So come on, guys.  Cut the crap and do the right thing.  This is how we earn our living.


the Service Industry Professionals of the United States

Underpants Gnomes: The Craft Cocktail Thing vs Production

My daily internet meanderings led me to this today, which got me to thinking some things I’ve thought a long time, being as I am intimately acquainted with the particular tension that can occur between the time it takes to make a craft cocktail and the number of people a room can accommodate (we’ll leave out, for the present, the x-factor of how thirsty those people are).  I was expecting the usual snark at the expense of the stereotypical craft bar hauteur (was in fact amazed at the subtlety involved), until I came across this:

I was at a hot new spot and the artisan cocktail I eventually ordered was worth every penny. Unfortunately, while the drinks lived up to the hype the poor service staff could only do so much. The place was packed, the cocktails on their menu are labor intensive, and it was really hot out so people were sucking them down faster than they could wash a shaker. Had there been a reservation policy in place, the three guys and one girl on bar would have been in a much better position to be accommodating, and creative.

Most people don’t get this.  Many simply don’t care.  They want what they want and they want it in a timely fashion, and if the staff is too overwhelmed to give them the service and attention they’re here for they’ll yelp your ass in a heartbeat.  So it’s nice to see someone recognize our heartbreak as we soldier on in service to their good time.  Much of the time it’s not our fault when we’re overwhelmed.  The people in charge just didn’t think it through.  I’ll give you a couple of examples: Continue reading “Underpants Gnomes: The Craft Cocktail Thing vs Production”