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An Easy Way To Remember How To Make A Manhattan

A Manhattan is a beautiful and simple drink.  You really appreciate it when you have to start making cocktails with more than three ingredients.  Here’s a sure-fire way to make a delicious Manhattan, and an easy way to remember how to do it.

Start with 2 oz of Bourbon.  If you’re at home making cocktails, don’t be afraid to buy/use a jigger to get things precise.  For starters, I would use Bulleit Bourbon, or Makers Mark is always a good go-to.  I also like Woodford Reserve.

Next, use 1 oz of Sweet Vermouth.  This will smooth things out with the drink, and sweeten it up.

After that, 2 dashes of Bitters, and you’ve got yourself a Manhattan.

2 oz Bourbon, 1 oz of Sweet Vermouth, 2 dashes of Bitters.  (And a cherry).

And do you know what the Area Code for Manhattan is?  

Drum roll please…

212.

-Clint

 

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Revenant

Young guy comes up to the bar, sits down. I’d say he’s mid-20’s, kind of on the preppy side. He orders a drink, I make it, set it down, we get to talking. On the TV at the bar, The Revenant is playing. We get to talking about movies. He tells me he likes Rom-Com movies, which is my least favorite genre. He says, I’ll watch any kind of movie, except for horror. I say, I LOVE horror movies! Why don’t you like them? He says, I’ve been possessed by the devil nine times, starting at age 9. I’ve been to Hell. Actual Hell. If you don’t believe Jesus Christ was here, died for our sins, and is our Lord and Savior, we’re not talking anymore.

I open my mouth to respond, think better of it, turn back to the TV to see my old buddy Leo getting mauled by a bear. 

The bear looks so real. 

-Clint

 

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My Starbucks Moment

I’m serving at the hotel, a group of six come in to the restaurant, sit down.  I go up, introduce myself, set some menus down, take their drink order.  Young group, I ask what they’re doing in town, they tell me they’re in Des Moines for a convention.  I go get their drinks, set them down, we get to talking.  There are three young men, and three young women at the table.  I ask them, so what are you guys up to tonight?  One of the young ladies says to me, we don’t know.  What should we do?  I say, what are you looking to do?  She says, have some cocktails here, then find another bar, somewhere close by.  I say, great.  I know the perfect place to go.  There is a bar literally 36 steps from the hotel.  She says, oh really?  I say, ok.  Don’t hold me to that number.  I haven’t actually counted the steps, but it’s somewhere around there.  You go out the back door of the hotel, turn right, and the bar is in the next building over.  Cool bar, has a 50’s apartment feel to it, with a great selection of craft cocktails.  She says, awesome!  We’ll check it out!

About a month ago, to prepare for the re-opening of our restaurant/bar that was recently renovated, the hotel set up a training session with a company called the Ellis Adams Group.  A man named Ezra did the training.  To be honest, I was a bit skeptical at first whether I would learn something from the training, but I was pleasantly surprised with Ezra’s bar and restaurant knowledge.  At one point in the training, Ezra talked about his “Starbucks Moment.”

A number of years ago, he was working at the Ritz Carlton, and happened to be in earshot of some guests in the lobby when he heard them say, you know what would be great?  A Starbucks coffee.  The guests didn’t know Ezra heard them, and after they left, he walked up to the shuttle service, and said he needed to borrow a car.  They were reluctant at first, but then gave him the keys.  He drives to a Starbucks nearby, and buys two cups of Starbucks coffee, takes them back to the hotel, finds out what room the guests were staying in, and knocks on their door.  They open the door, and he says, I was in the lobby, and overheard you saying how much you’d like a Starbucks coffee.  I took the liberty to go out and get you a couple.

They were understandably surprised and impressed.  The next day, Ezra comes in, and the manager asks him to come to his office.  He says, one, we’re going to have to talk about you borrowing a car from the hotel, but we’ll discuss that later.  Secondly, the guest you got the Starbucks coffee for left you an envelope.  Ezra opens it up, and there in the envelope, was a thank you note, and a crisp $100 bill.  And every day after that, an envelope was waiting for Ezra with $100 bill in it, for as long as the couple stayed at the hotel.

In the training, he described this as his “Starbucks Moment.”  It is a moment you find the opportunity to go above and beyond the expectations of a guest.

Getting back, the table of six sat in my section for a good hour, enjoying each other’s company, and some tasty beverages.  I would go up to their table, and entertain them with stories I thought they would enjoy.  Some tables you just instantly have a rapport with, and this was one.  

Upon leaving, they thanked me for my service, and told me they were going to check out the bar I recommended.  I said, don’t forget to count the steps, and get back to me.

When they left, upon cleaning up their table, I realized that one of the ladies had left their to-go food.  I approached my manager, and said, hey, can you do me a favor?  Deliver this drink order for me I just put in.  I gotta do something.  I’ll be right back.

I grab the to-go bag, make my way to the back door of the hotel, and exit.  I start counting my steps.  1, 2, 3.  I reach the front door of the bar, go in, look for the group.  Hey guys!  They’re sitting at a table, lounging with drinks.  CLINT! One of them yells.  I said, I just wanted you to know, if you didn’t already, that it was 90 steps to the bar.  They laugh.  One of the young women says, you know what, Clint?  I left my to-go food at the table.  At this point, she hadn’t seen what was in my hand.  I say, oh, this one?  And hand it to her.  The crowd goes wild.  CLINT!!!  Stay, have a drink with us!  I say, sorry guys, I gotta get back to work.

And with that, I left the bar, and found my own “Starbucks Moment.”

-Clint

 

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Hamilton Sucked

The Broadway musical hit Hamilton is in town right now, and for the last couple weeks I’ve been bartending/serving to people before and after the show.  Before the show, they sit with a cocktail with friends, excited for a play they’ve looked forward to seeing.  Then, I see them after the play.  They come in, flush with excitement, after seeing an incredible performance.  Words like “fantastic”, “amazing”, “incredible”, “best show I’ve ever seen” tumble from their lips.  And after two weeks of hearing people’s awe-inspiring, across the board reaction to this monumental play,

I’m sick of it.

I mean, c’mon.  Really?  EVERYBODY LOVES IT?!?  How is that possible?!?  I have not spoken to one person that has seen the play that haven’t adored it.  After the play, they slap down their Hamilton program on their table, proud that they finally got to see the play.  And they shelled out good money for it.  One guy last night told me he spent over $300 for a ticket.  And sure enough, all he had to say was, it was absolutely worth it.

At the hotel I work at, the cast and crew may or may not be staying there.  (I cannot confirm or deny).  But two nights ago, after the show, a number of them gathered at one of my tables.  You can really spot them a mile away.  From their young New York style appearance, to their backpacks with a big gold star on it.  I approach the table, get their drink order.  I say, so…I’m gathering that you guys are performing in Hamilton?  They nod their heads, yes, we are.  I say, you know, I’ve been serving people before and after the show, and I want once, just once, for one lone soul, one single person, one individual, to come in after the show, and say to me…you know, I gotta say, I just saw Hamilton, 

and I thought it SUCKED!

-Clint

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Much Ado About Confetti

It’s nearing the end of the night, New Year’s Day, I’m bartending at my hotel gig. Everybody’s safe up in their rooms, lobby’s empty, cheesy music playing over the lobby speakers.

I look over, and the game on tv has finished. The head of the corporation that is hosting the bowl is presenting a trophy to the head coach of the winning team.

“We felt that both teams played great, but TONIGHT, you earned this trophy, Coach. Yard by yard. Inch by INCH.”

The crowd goes wild, the confetti explodes everywhere, flying like multi-colored snowflakes in the air.

Now I believe strongly tonight right now sure I could change my mind in an hour but RIGHT NOW I believe there are only TWO TYPES of people in the World.

Type 1:  Oh, look…they’re flying the blue and red confetti at the end of the game. What a beautiful, celebratory sight, perfectly adding to a joyous night.

Type 2:  Damn…. that’s a lot of confetti. Glad I’m not gonna have to clean that shit up.

Type 2 is only reserved for people that have had to clean up confetti at the end of the night, and after that experience, will never ever be able to appreciate the joyous nature of confetti. Only the pain in the ass part that goes along with the aftermath of confetti falling.

I am a card carrying #2.

And rue the day you were born if carpet is ever involved.

-CC

 

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Thought Of The Day

A lot of times, the reason we don’t do things is out of insecurity. Do the opposite of this, do the thing, and don’t fear FAILING. And with that, what if you trick yourself in a way, and do the action so as to fail? That is the objective. By doing this, it frees you from that fear, and might, in the end, create something interesting because of that fearlessness. At the very least, an unexpected outcome. And perhaps, the thing you were trying to accomplish in the first place.

-CC

Swiss Rolex Guy

I’m behind the bar, its been a busy week.  The Perfect Storm:  The Solheim Cup meets The State Fair.  We’ve got lady golfers in the house, with state fair goers.  Makes for interesting conversations, and people watching.

Guy at the bar, looks foreign.  In the way he dresses, and duh, his accent.  I strike up a convo.  Man, I love your watch.  He says, thanks.  I say, is that a Submariner?  He says, yes.  It is.  I say, beautiful watch.  I actually saved my pennies for two years to buy one.  True story.  When I finally got it, it was just too damn heavy for me!  It felt like a handcuff around my wrist.  I could’ve cried.  …I actually did.  He says, I work for Rolex.  They just let me borrow it.  I say, you work for Rolex?!?  Please, tell me more.

He proceeds to tell me what he does, and I literally drool.  He says, I go from golf tournament to tournament, and set up the big Rolex clocks.  I say, are you SHITTING me?!  That’s fricking AWESOME.  You do that all year?  He says, about 150 days out of the year.

The guy goes around to all the golf tournaments, gets everything paid for.  Sets up some clocks, hangs out the rest of the week.  Shows up in the morning…let’s see, checks his $7,000 watch.  8:22 AM, looks at big clock, yep, says 8:22AM, grabs a coffee, watches some golf, whatever the hell he wants, then hangs out at the hotel bar, with a tight Rollie on his wrist.

I say to Swiss Rolex Guy with awesome incredible job, dude…hook me up!  I WANT YOUR JOB!!

-CC

The Players Championship PGA tournament in Florida