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.


barmixmaster said...

I still think this is how it should be, but my opinion has changed slightly see this post.

Be specific

Anonymous said...

I agree - my favourite drink is a Jack Daniels Manhattan, light on the vermouth extra dash of bitters, straight up, no cherry or cherry juice and that is exactly how I order it. Otherwise, how would the bartender know what I wanted?

Unknown said...

With the shape of the economy as it is I have found it funny how many people with other "careers" have lost their job and fell back on the idea that they knew how to bartend. This may be sexist, but I have always believed that people are more impressed with getting quality drinks than looking at big tits. This is the opposite in a college bar where all a bartender really does is pop bottles and pour drafts but I choose to work in places where customers appreciate quality drinks. My point is that I have found most people behind a bar don't know what they are doing when I ask for something out of their comfort zone and instead of admitting they don't know or looking it up in a book they make something up.

I love a Knob Creek Manhattan up with an extra dash of bitters.

I am still green as a bartender, but I knew what to learn first and fast from having good mentors. I recently found this blog and love it. Thanks.