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

Dealing with Aggressive Drunks (and, to some extent, everyone else) Part 1of a Series

One of the less-than-wholly-awesome upshots of alcohol’s disinhibiting effect is that it makes people who are angry on the inside angry on the outside, too, and one of the lesser joys of the mixological craft is that you’re going to have to deal with those people face-to-face.  I’ll give you an example.  This happened to me last night.

A fellow came in and sat at the bar near the end of the dinner rush.  The other bartender (a woman) got him water and a menu.  She ID’d him, as I’ve taught her to (see here for why).  I was in the main well filling server orders when she came up to me.  She told me he vibed a little weird to her, and showed me what he’d given us for ID, which, while it had his picture and date of birth on it, was not one of the six forms of ID that Washington state liquor law says we can accept (it was, in fact, issued by the Department of Corrections, for what that’s worth).  I told her to follow her intuition and refuse him service, on the grounds we can’t accept his ID, and she did, quite graciously, I later gathered.  From what she said, he was gracious in turn, and declined a seat in the dining room, where we would serve him food but not alcohol.

On his way out he stopped by my well, fixed me with a rage-filled let’s-fight glare, and exchanged the following words with me (as close to verbatim as I can remember, and not edited for content): Continue reading “Dealing with Aggressive Drunks (and, to some extent, everyone else) Part 1of a Series”

Why I ID You (even if I know you’re of age)

I’ve been helping to train up some people at the bar lately, and in the course of my discursions on the subject have gotten to thinking about why I do some of the things I do behind the bar.  One of those things is I ID any- and everyone I have even the slightest question or hesitation about, usually right at the very beginning of our interaction, as I’m saying hello and dropping off water and/or menus.  I do this for a couple of reasons.

First, though I work in a nice place now, I haven’t always, and sometimes even nice places get customers who are or are going to be trouble for whatever reason.  It’s certainly much rarer, but it happens.  People who are trouble have to be dealt with carefully, and are much more easily handled before you’ve served them any (or, as is often the case, more) alcohol.  They also have a higher incidence of not having valid ID, which is a great (and impersonal) reason to tell them to leave, which like as not you’ll have to do anyway.  It’s also, for what it’s worth, illegal to serve them, at least in the state where I work.  Sometimes you’ll get a regular person with expired or no ID, and then you make a judgement call.  In Seattle it’s not unheard of for the Liquor Board to do sting operations, so I tend to skew conservative on those calls, but it’s up to each individual bartender to decide whether letting a particular individual stay will have a positive or negative impact on everyone else’s good time. Continue reading “Why I ID You (even if I know you’re of age)”