Good Times For All
Without sounding too arrogant, I like to think I am a pretty good at what I do behind the bar. And I say this not to be egotistical, but because I hear it from my guests on a regular basis. As a bartender it is my job to know not only classic drink to keep up with the latest trends: that is what makes one a professional. I also pride myself on a few original cocktails as well, and knowing those same trends as well as the classics make me better at what I do.
But there is also something else that I hear when I am mixing that I wanted to write about. But first let me set the scene….
Last Saturday, I was on a long shift working the afternoon and most of the evening. I got a little rush as people were coming in from the warm Santa Fe day. I had about guests at the bar when someone walked up unsure of what they wanted to drink, so I asked a couple of questions like “whats your favorite liquor” and “do you see any fruits and herbs on the bar you might like” and as I gathered a little info from them I went to work making them a drink. While this was going on, another couple walked in and heard the conversation, saw the drink and asked me if I could do something like that for them. “Of course!’ was the reply and we went through the same routine and I made their drinks. A third group had come in saw what was going on, nad heard the first two sets of folks chatting about the libations I had made them, but the third group was simply looking for a different experience. When it was their turn to order they said something like,”Well this may be a waste of your talents, but can we get 2 beers and a vodka and soda?’ They got the same response,”Of course!’
Fact is, no matter what I can do with booze, every guest that comes in to my or any bar is looking for a special experience, and as a bartender, my job to help provide that experience. Some want a hand crafted cocktail, while another wants a simple highball or straight shot. I don;t judge. A guest should never feel pressured to order something they do want or won’t enjoy.
As a bartender it is not my place to judge what a guest is drinking. They are the ones who are paying for it, and if my opinion is wanted it will be solicited. If someone wants to order a $100 shot of cognac and mix it with Coke, it’s fine with me.
Now you may be asking yourself (or wanting to ask me after tossing water in my face), “You really don’t care if someone bastardizes a fine cognac like that?” My answer is “No, I don’t.” Not part of my job. If that is the drink that is going to make that persons night special then I am happy to pour it for them. I guarantee the boss doesn’t mind selling a $100 glass of booze no matter how is it mixed, and I’m sure the booze maker doesn’t mind because his product is being sold!
“Yeah, but do you recommend it??” Of course I don’t, but again, my opinion was not asked for. Some guests want to be dazzled: some want to sit quietly. Some want to be pampered, others let alone. As a bartender it is my job to recognize this and do my best for each guest to make their time in my bar special.
Don’t be intimidated to drink what you like. I’m just glad your here tonight.