Sunday, May 31, 2009

Magazine Lady

It was one of those slower nights when Magazine Lady came in. She's always got a stack of beauty mags and real estate mags 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 traveller 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 and I was surprised at her experience. "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.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Serve Safe

Yesterday I had one of those days that a lot of people seem to have---12 hour days at the office. I had to be at the bar early for Serve Safe Training. Actually from 11 am to 3 pm and then my shift began at 4. I was initially upset, but once the training began, I really liked it. It was like school. Bar School. I learned about the laws and the way the body processes alcohol. Much of this is common sense, but nonetheless, it's always good to have more knowledge. So once I find out my test results, I'll be certified! And our trainer (manager of our other Kimpton bar/restaurant) is from Ohio and went to Kent! Oh how things are sync-ing up. 

And on another note, looks like I'll be having regular shifts starting in July so you'll all know when to find me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Manicure!

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

We Hate This Vodka...

Over the Mother's Day weekend, I was walking around with my mother and since I knew people were going to be coming over Saturday night, I thought, maybe I should have some wine in the house, maybe my yoga pals won't think bourbon and beer post yoga is a good idea. Plus I knew mom wouldn't be having any of that. And in all the hub-bub, I don't think she went into my freezer for her usual red wine garnish, though I can't be sure. And after a bottle of wine, I introduced Leslie to bourbon, Mr. Woodford precisely. 

But rewind to mom and I in Adam's Wines and Liquor, my favorite local shop for alcoholic sundries. Adam offering mom and me a taste of the sweet honey Polish vodka whose name I forget but I promise you, is well worth the trip to South Slope. Adam telling us how much he hates Belvedere and especially Grey Goose (to which I showed him my valiant be-headings of such bottles). Adam, proud of the true vodkas (made in Poland of course, not made somewhere else and then with the name France on the bottle to indicate class, though with wine yes! vodka no!) and joking and smiling. And Adam who only wants to sell quality products and do proper business and feel good about the money he makes, which resonates with me. 

When I first started bartending my friend Shannon told me all people in this industry are either artists (interpret as you may) or alcoholics. I think about this term, honest living, and when you put yourself in a place where there's plenty of alcohol and innuendo, either you succumb, you make art, or you fall somewhere in the middle. So it's nice to find a kindred spirit to share my spirits with. He gets a hearty cheers for helping me discover more of my ancestry and for being an all around wonderful person, in the industry and in the world.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Manhattans, Rocks, and Scooby Snacks

I get this question a lot: What's your favorite drink to make? Or the variation, what do you like to drink?

And while lately, I've been playing more with rum, gin, and jelly, my answer is always, a manhattan. There's just something too funny about drinking a manhattan in Manhattan. So who comes into the bar asking the famous question, but Curtis Robinson, fellow blogger and "Producer-At-Large" for The Imbiber. Talk about serious professional comprehensive site! 

He had his on the rocks, which leads me to my next question that I was asked by some lovely patrons last night---is it ok to drink a martini on the rocks. What I've noticed is that a woman has never ordered hers on the rocks. I say, ok, have your rocks. Put them where you like. It's your drink and you're the only one who has to drink it. Perhaps this theory comes from my mom who likes a few of them in her red wine. At first I was embarrassed if we went out, but nothing tops my cousin, right after we turned of age, ordering a drink called a "Scooby Snack," in a fancy restaurant. And our gracious waiter asking, M'am, how do you make that?

It was something with Midori and cream, a beautiful spring color, but seriously. Seriously yes! If we can dream it, we can drink it. So here's to us all, getting what we like, green, not green, rocks, no rocks. 

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Jammy Jam

It's a rainy day in New York, a fine day to blog about one of my favorite drinks that I had while in Miami--the breakfast capirhinia. The key ingredient is orange marmalade! The best way to make it is to shake everything else up and then stir in the jam. Cheers to Jacques Bezuidenhout for an amazing cocktail menu and for introducing me to adding a little jelly to my drinks! The next Monday Emiliano and I added raspberry jam to gin. I'm thinking about adding grape to vodka for a kick ass vodka soda---it may end up tasting like Grape pop from when I was a kid. 

And if you mix Frangelico and Chambord, you have yourself a nice little peanut butter and jelly shot to accompany your sandwich (courtesy of E's fine tending skills).