Tuesday, October 16

False Advertising

So I am at the Vegas airport on a lay over for a business trip and I
was passing by a 25 cent slot machine. I just happened to have a quarter in
my pocket so I said to myself what the heck. I stopped to drop it in to give it
a whirl. Alas, there is no coin slot in the slot machine... it only takes bills! Huh!?!

I thought to myself well that's interesting. It's kinda like saloons
that have Manhattans on the menu but have no bitters behind the bar.

It's crazy I tell you.

Also while on my journey I had a bartender tell me that she doesn't
put bitters in Manhattans because most people don't want them anymore.
Strange I've yet to meet a Manhattan drinker yet that doesn't want bitters.

Is this the case for anyone out there? Are there people out there that
don't want bitters in their Manhattan?

Just courious... Let me know.


Anonymous said...

I popped into a local hotel in St. Pete prior to an appointment I had and ordered a Manhattan at the bar. I asked for light on the vermouth and heavy on bitters. The bartender gave me a blank look and I had to explain that I was talking about Angostura bitters. He went on to let me know that Manhattans never use bitters and he'd never heard of such a thing. I asked him what drinks used bitters. That stumped him and he replied that he didn't know of any. So I asked why did he have them (the bitters)at all. He said he had no idea. I asked him to humour me and give it a few good shakes and left it at that.

On a related note/rant, I was at a martini bar not too long ago (also in St. Pete which shall remain nameless), ordered a martini, specified the gin I wanted and the ratio (I did not even ask about orange bitters) as I like 3 to 1 gin to vermouth ratio, stirred with lemon twist. The waitress came back and in a mocking tone announced the arrival my martini as I specified it. Can you imagine (1) making fun of a customer regarding his (2) order of a martini in a (3) martini bar where the martinis cost (4) about $8 - $10?!? I changed my mind, I'll name it - Dan Marino's at Baywalk.

Robert Simonson, "Our Man in the Liquor-Soaked Trenches"-New York Times. said...

A Manhattan without bitters isn't a Manhattan, so technically the question doesn't even make sense. If someone ordered a Manhattan without bitters, they'd be ordering some other drink.

Colonel Tiki said...

Not only do I like a nice amount of bitters in my Manhattan (Fee's aged oak please), I also prefer a 3:2 rye:vermouth ratio.

For fun sometimes, I'll even use Punt e Mes as the vermouth.

Anonymous said...

wish i could drink 'em. i'm such a lightweight... margarita kinda girl. hey, thanks for the link - i love how you personalized the blogroll with the author's names... :)

The Skillet Head said...

Depending on the clientèle, unfortunately I can see that. The bar I work at ...TGI Fridays (trying to find a new job QUICK), the customers don't give a shit 99% of the time about what the drink tastes like, they just want something strong. They don't want to order shots, but for the same price they about expect to get their drink in a hi-ball filled to the brim with liquor and a splash of mix.

I'll go up to these guests with a balanced, well made drink (something on-par with what I make myself when I'm at home) and they send it back expecting to get something stronger, so I have no choice other than to use well liquors and heavy ice to give them the shit that they want. I firmly believe that, except for a select few like those here, the art of mixology is being overrun by assholes who couldn't care less. The same trend that is taking over the food industry (I refer to Friday's food as glorified fast food... about the same care is taken into it) is slowly taking over the bar industry, and it's a sad sight to watch.

Anonymous said...

I was recently in New York with a friend and one of the cocktail stops we made was Bemelmans. I ordered an Old Fashioned and as he was making it the bartender asked me if I wanted bitters in it. I replied most emphatically that I did to which he responded, "you know, for years nobody wanted bitters in anything, now everybody is back to wanting bitters. I just can't keep up with what people want to do with their drinks these days so I just ask."

It seems to me that most people are afraid of bitters based on the name, and not knowing what bitters actually do to a drink. I'd be willing to bet that if you served a bitterphobe a Manhattan with bitters and one without they would very much prefer the one with bitters and would likely be surprised if you told them that the one they like had bitters in it.

Anonymous said...

A Manhattan isn't a Manhattan without bitters. I think people like the idea of cocktails more than the actual cocktails themselves

Anonymous said...

Yep around the Toronto area I order a manhattan and you get 2 ounces of Canadian whiskey and 1 ounce of vermouth on the rocks. I have only met 2 bartenders that even know what bitters are, me and 1 other bartender, doing it 21 years. I have Angostura at home, bars that cost 2 million bucks dont have bitters. But they have Rose's "Lime cordial" and Rose's "Grenadine syrup" I'm gonna puke, twice. However, I must say that cocktails are the rage and are all over the tables...Beer not anywhere as commonplace..Say thanks to "sex in the city show".. I'm serious about that. Martinis and Cosmopolitans. If you ask for anything even a little specific ie 3:1 ratios in a martini, or a dirty martini. They think you are obsessive compulsive. They want double tips. I recently was served a "whiskey sour" that was a dirty rocks glass with an enormous snoball size icecube sticking out over the top of the glass, a crappy shot of whiskey, and Realemon juice. Not shaken. "Is that ok?" she asked. "Yep". Bimbo.
Saw an article in the Toronto Sun a while back about Kim Mitchell, prominent Canadian musician, said his fav drink was manhattan but he doesn't like bitters in it. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the late post in this but I must say as a fan of the manhattan and a fellow barman, I think bitters are essential. However, in some bars, clubs etc. the clientelle ( ok i dont know how to spell it) cannot appreciate that dimension in a drink. To be blunt they are 2 dimensional drinkers, and the addition of bitters creates a paplate sensation that some people are incapapble of understanding.