Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Double-Take

As a bartender, I try never to do “The Double-Take.”  What is The Double-Take, you ask?  Well…it’s when someone orders some ridiculous drink, that doesn’t make sense, and you question their order.  Sometimes I’d like to be almost robotic.  What would you like?  A tequila and Coke with a sugar rim?  Sure, absolutely, coming right up.

But sometimes, I just can’t help myself.

First up, lady approaches the bar, asks for a Cosmo.  I’ve made a thousand Cosmos in my life, not a problem.  But then she says, I’d like gin in it.  What?  I’m sorry.  (Double-take).  Gin?  Are you sure?  Yes, I want gin in it.  Well, Cosmos are usually made with Absolut Citron vodka.  Are you sure you want gin instead of vodka?  Yes.  Make it Tanqueray.  Allll-right.  A gin Cosmo coming right up.

Then she says, I had one in New York and LA.  They make it there.  Well, gee, shucks.  Must be good then.

Then, about five minutes later, another lady approaches the bar, says, I want a Pomegranate Martini, put some olives in it.

You gotta be kidding me.  Olives in a sweet-ass martini?!?  Am I on Candid Camera?

Ok, how about I make you a Pomegranate Martini, and give you some olives on the side?  No, she says.  I want them in it.  I like it when the olives soak in.

Ah, yeah.  That sounds delicious.




Locking Up The Taps

This post will only be remarkable to .00000000001% of the population in the world, but I’m super excited about it, so here goes.

When you’re bartending at a hotel bar, usually you have to lock up behind the bar at the end of the night, because it is usually exposed to the rest of the hotel.  i.e. drunk guy at 3am can’t sneak behind the bar, and steal some booze.  Usually there’s a way to lock up the liquor, the coolers, the tap handles.  Now I’ve worked at two hotel bars, and I’m seeing a trend.  The locks you put on the taps are worthless.  For some reason, they never fit on right, never tighten correctly, never stay on.  They’re just not made durably.  The keys are also flimsy, and tend to break off in the locks.  Also, it’s usually stripped out where you put the key in.  There’s only so much you can do when this occurs.  At my current hotel gig, when I was trained, my fellow bartender says, you’ve got to figure out the trick to it.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t really articulate the trick.  It’s more of a feel.

Last night, when closing up, I DREADED having to tackle this task.  But then I said to myself, you know what?  If I have to spend three hours on this tonight, I’m all in.  I’m going to figure out the trick, or I’m gonna sleep behind the bar to protect the keg beer.

After ten minutes of finagling with the locks, I had an epiphany.  What if I loosen the lock the whole way, get it into position at its highest point, THEN tighten it.  I tried it, it worked, I almost cried.

I learned a good lesson.  Instead of hurrying into a frenzy believing that I’ll never figure it out, I took my time, trying different tactics before I succeeded in figuring it out.  

And that was my “key” to success.  I left the bar feeling pretty good about life. 




What Would You Like To Pair With That?

I’m at Table 128, a semi-fancy restaurant in West Des Moines celebrating my 46th birthday with my mum and step-father. The server approaches the table to take our order.  My mum orders first, and the server says, what would you like to pair with that?

I like that question:  what would you like to pair with that?  Instead of the tried and true, what would you like for a side?  It’s more upscale, and appealing.  I don’t think you’re going to be at a Perkins, and the server is going to say, what would you like to pair with your burger?  I think I’ll try it out next time I’m taking someone’s food order.  A good poet borrows…a great poet steals.

I’m at the hotel bar last night, a guy approaches the bar, says, can I put in an order for some food?  I say, absolutely!  What would you like?  He looks at the menu, says, I’ll take the tenderloin sandwich.  

Here’s my chance:

Sounds great!  What would you like to pair with that?

He looks up quizzically, says, huh?

I repeat, what would you like to pair with that?

He says, um…what do you mean?

Giving up, I blurt, what would you like for a side?

Oh, he says, I’ll take the fries.

So much for me being fancy.