Sunday, September 13, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
A few summers ago I was vacationing in the Pacific Northwest. While rummaging through a vintage store in a small coastal town, I found some old decanter bottles with ornate medallions that said what they were. I think there was vodka and gin. No bourbon. The proprietor said he could make one into a bracelet for me. I picked gin even though it wasn't my drink at the time. It had sharp edges, so it doesn't really make that great of a bracelet and certainly not for tending, but lately I'm wondering if that object was perhaps a sign from my future self, a small glimpse of who I would become. After all, most of my favorite classic cocktails involve gin---something with raspberries from The Campbell Apartment, and the bittered gin sling and the amazing cucumber limeade with Hendricks gin from Tom and Jerry's. And this blog and my dream bar...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It was one of those slower nights when Magazine Lady came in. She's always got a stack of beauty and real estate magazines and orders a diet coke or a coffee. She tips well enough and her mystery intrigues me. I've always wanted to ask her why so many magazines, why decide to read them in a bar and not order anything alcoholic? Though I've been that person quite a few times having coffee or tea at a bar or even just water, so I get it, on some level.
The last time she was in, the tipsy suits cornered her. She didn't answer. "You a magazine editor or something?"
"No," she had said cooly flipping a page. He tried again. "You're badgering me," she said, "I'm just trying to read."
Luckily his less rude or drunken colleague stepped in, paid the check and said it was nice meeting her and they had a dinner reservation.
There's a fine line between the spoken and unspoken. As a bartender, I try to respect people and let them talk when they want. "I try not to judge or peg people," which is what I told the South American tourist when he wanted me to tell him what I thought of his relationship with the woman standing next to him. He pushed, "is she my friend, my girlfriend, or my friend?"
I let the bait fall loose, knowing that the small fish are small.
"You're supposed to read people," he said.
I set his drink in front of him. "This is what I do, if you want analysis, you'll have to tip me more than 20%."
His girl smiled. "Good answer," she said rolling her eyes at him.
So I let Magazine Lady be. I know she had told me her name, but I had forgotten. It's easier to remember what people drink and what their stories are and so they keep coming back and it gets too late to ask their names again. I was trying to think of a way to find out politely when fate in the form of business traveler stepped in. He was from the midwest but used to live in the city he said. It was late and there were only four guests spaced out across the bar, the Swiss tourist drinking Sam Adams, another regular, Oren, Magazine Lady, and Jim who was introducing himself to Magazine Lady.
The last time she was in she was telling me about a date, how she had met someone at the bar when I wasn't working and how they went to french restaurant in the neighborhood, but it was terrible. She said they had bought a bottle of wine and then the waiter shooed them out before they finished their meal and their wine. I tried to guess where she had been. It sounded like the place I went to once for a bourbon after work. I met the owner. He invited me back to eat and said he'd take care of everything. I never took him up on it though. "The owner must not have been there that night," she said.
I didn't want to say but I sensed that somehow these things happen to her. Once she had given me a bracelet. A friend had given it to her but she said it seemed more my style. She said she noticed the paint was chipped on some of the plastic beads. "The bar is dark I said, no one will notice." I put it in my tip bucket.
Outside the sky had darkened. Cars flashed by in the windows. I poured the chardonnay Jim buys for her, which she had initially refused, but since he was pushy about it, I figured let him pay for it. “You don’t have to drink it,” I had said.
A few weeks after the incident, my manager calls me in to the office, says a woman came in and said that I was the reason she doesn’t stay at the hotel anymore. She said that I treat women as if they’re objects. I haven’t seen Magazine Lady since that night. I ask if the woman had long thinning auburn hair and lipstick that’s a little off, too bright and running into the cracks around her mouth. My boss said “yeah, hair up in a ponytail.”
I shrug. I recount the story and my boss taps a pencil on the bar. “These things happen,” she says.
“She lives in town, she doesn’t stay in the hotel,” I say, wondering why this white lie, but I know, somehow I let her down.
It’s summer now, months since Magazine Lady or the last time we even spoke of her. I keep thinking maybe one day she’ll be back but something in me says I’ll never see her again.
It’s her I think of when Kristie gestures at the end of the bar, at the tall man, shaved head, and asks “job hazard?”
“It comes with the territory, doesn’t happen much here. Like anything else, pros and cons. He’s been at it since we opened.”
She squeezes the lime into her drink, “I don’t know how you deal with it.”
I smile, “it’s busy enough that I can walk away when he gets a little more detailed.”
“The things I could do to you,” he had said as I skated away to the couple a few seats over.
“I practice yoga,” I say to Kristie, “it helps.”
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
|1 splash Blue Curacao|
|1 1/2 oz Gin|
|1 splash Soda Water|
|1 splash Sweet and Sour Mix|
Pour gin into an ice-filled highball glass, and fill with cranberry juice. Add blue curacao, sour mix and soda. Shake gently, add more curacao (until royal-purple), and serve.
Serve in a Highball Glass
I'm not a fan, but hey, you gotta make the customer happy. And speaking of great customers, last week I met Katherine de Tristan Tait, CEO of SENCE Rare European Rose Nectar.
I had a blast whipping up some fun cocktails with her pretty pink nectar, but I have to be hush hush on the recipes since I'm entering them in my first bartender contest, Cocktails for the Cure!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
On the way to Miami, I ran into someone I went to high school with, and it turns out, she also works in a bar---only she does manicures! So, last night, I decided to try the happy hour at Beauty Bar. $10 gets you a drink and a manicure. I had heard about the bar in grad school and always wanted to stop in. I mean, who doesn't like sipping a drink in a 1950's blowdryer chair and watching the walls glitter (yes, lots of glitter in here).
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
I was back in DC earlier this week and got to relive one of my favorite cocktails. A Jim Beam Milkshake! You'll find it here. It combines two of my favorite things---ice cream and bourbon. When I asked the waitress if anyone ever ordered a second one, she said no. Now I have a challenge for my next DC trip, but I think the lesson is clear, one is enough.
Monday, March 16, 2009
For a bartender, I'm a lightweight. Blame in on the "no shift drinks" allowed policy. Rarely will I drink to get drunk. I'm a one hit wonder when it comes to alcohol. Give me a glass of wine with dinner, a sambuca in a snifter after too much dinner, or one fancy cocktail if going out for drinks, and of course the standard bourbon on the rocks (speaking of, I so wish I could be in London for this!)
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Sometimes I feel like a character and this proves it. One of my regulars happens to be a very talented artist and I got to watch something magical happen last week while tending. He lost himself in his bar napkin for about 15 minutes and produced this. As a writer, I know the feeling of getting lost in a poem so I got giddy watching him as the pen moved. For now, we'll call him Mr. Gin (as his regular first drink is a Sapphire and tonic).
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I'm not going to lie, one of my goals at the bar is to have all my 10 seats filled with writers. Call it a make-shift wish of my own Algonquin roundtable. Or perhaps my own thing to do for National Poetry month coming up. So to get the ball rolling and to entice those writers to come out to Park Ave. in April, here's a poem penned by Amy Lemmon, Molly Peacock (and her rhyming napkin), myself, and Brad Hunter.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
I'm wondering if this has happened to any other bartenders. You have a busy enough bar, you're making drinks at a faster pace, and then somehow your hand catches a bottle in the well and well, you decapitate it! This is what I ended up doing to the Grey Goose last night. It happened so fast, and I only got a small nick on my right ring finger. No blood. No glass. Picture to prove it. Bar patrons to tell the story. Needless to say, when I did last call last night, everyone listened. hmmm, new tactic?!