Saturday, February 26

Drink Variations

For the classic drinks like Manhattan, Martini, Gimlet, etc... there is a generally accepted base receipt. When someone walks into a bar and orders one of these the barkeep should know what is expected.

Example: Manhattan - bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, which is stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass.

This is the default receipt. No question. If a patron asks for this cocktail they most likely know what they are asking for. If not, shame on them.

If the patron wants something different then, they specify. Example: Sweet Manhattan on the rocks.

This would let the bartender know that you want bourbon, sweet vermouth, bitters, with a splash of cherry juice in an old fashioned glass over ice.

Without a known base receipt that both bartender and patron know there is miscommunication. This will result in the patron not getting the drink they want and the bartender not getting the tip they want. It's a vicious cycle.

Now, over time base receipts change. Back in the day Manhattan's were made with Rye instead of Bourbon. This was because the Manhattan was actually invented during prohibition days and that was what was available. Since then Rye has become less popular and Bourbon took its place in this classic drink.

The Martini is currently going through a transition. The base receipt for a Martini calls for Gin. However, more and more people are expecting Vodka when they order a Martini. If you want Vodka, ask for a Vodka Martini. We may come to the day when Vodka becomes the default ingredient for a Martini, but we are not there yet and I know many people will fight this for years to come.

If you are bartender, learn the classics.
If you are the patron, don't complain if you order a Martini and you don't get your vodka.

Monday, February 14

Whoa - I can't believe that...

You ever go into a bar and order something and you honestly can't believe what you got in return?

I'm not trying to bitch here this just like that TV show, Reply’s Believe it or not?

Here is mine.

I was traveling in California and I was staying at this hotel. I asked the desk clerk for a recommendation for a good place to eat and more important get a GOOD drink. He recommends a place so I took off. When I got there it looked like a very nice establishment. Nice dark room with a complete wrap around bar, just like the TV show Cheers except with the lights turned down. :)

So I go to the bar and order a Maker's Mark Manhattan, straight up. First the barkeep looked around aimlessly and confused. So I ask, "Something wrong?" The reply was, "No, I just can't find the Maker's Mark." So he looks around for a while and comes back to me and says, "Doesn't look like we carry that."

Well I should have walked out right then.

He continued, "I just stared here this week and this place is a mess." So I ask, "Have you been a bartender long?" the reply, "8 years."

I was a little surprised, due to the age of the person. I was thinking that this person must have started mixing drinks in their dippers. :)

So I told the barkeep to use the best bourbon they have in stock. Then, I wait, and I wait, and I wait.

Finally barkeep comes back from around the other side of the bar with a big smile on their face and a shot glass in his hand.


It was a straight shot of bourbon. That was it. It wasn't even chilled! :o

I grin and look back at him and think. Okay, obviously this person was very distraught over not having Maker's Mark for me and is now very confused.

So, being a good sport that I am. I downed the shot and then made the mistake of placing a second order. It should have been my back up drink vodka tonic, but no now I am curious how far this person would go trying to convince me he has been bar tendering for 8 years!!

So, I order a sidecar. I know I was being mean.

The barkeep comes back with ANOTHER SHOT! BUT, this time they have an old fashioned glass of coke. He sits the shot down, then the coke proclaiming, "There's your sidecar."I couldn't believe it.

I left.

Saturday, February 12

Shaken or Stirred

My issue with shaken versus stirred is that it seems like the typical bartender does not know this simple information. Bartenders there is one simple rule, if a drink is all alcohol… STIR IT!

It is extremely rare that I get my favorite drink, a Manhattan, which has been stirred instead of shaken. It seems that bartenders have some type of Tom Cruise from Cocktail disorder... Guys and Gals just because you mix it in a cocktail “shaker” it doesn’t mean you actually have to shake it!

Many people say, “You can’t tell the difference.” I beg to differ. A shaken cocktail is more watered down and you loss the taste of the liquor, Maker’s Mark Bourbon in my case. :)

I just hope that this post provides just a few other patrons the pleasure and appreciation for a good STIRRED cocktail!

Thursday, February 10

Everything has to start.

I am a simple home bar enthusiasts, 30 years old, and my favorite drink is a Maker's Mark Manhattan, Up, Stirred not shaken. A close second is an Old Fashioned, then a Sidecar.

This space will be devoted to cocktails, mixed drinks, liquor, "good" bars, etc...

I hope I have as much time to devote to this as it is needed.

Check back often.