Circle Jerk – Bartender Meeting







I know not one fellow barkeep who hasn’t been subjected to the water-boarding that is The Mandatory Bartender Meeting – be there or be fired.  Yeah – you know… that early afternoon, non-peak time pow-wow that takes place at just about every medium-large bar – maybe 2 or 3 times year.  Let’s all practice our collective gasps, head-shakes, and oh-god-360s as we bemoan the notice that’s occasionally posted on the bar/restaurant’s bulletin board – usually, right next to the weekly schedule.

I can’t imagine a bigger waste of everyone’s time, energy and money in this business.  You don’t get paid – the managers do.  You get the privilege of coming in on your day off, or you get 3 unreturnable hours sucked out of your life before your scheduled shift time.  Alternatively, you have to cancel your audition or make up some ridiculous excuse in order to bail from your day job for a couple of hours to ensure you’re at the bar.

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Idiot Bartender of the Day – James Keck

Sin City Edition (I suspect we’ll frequently be hearing crazy bar stories coming out of Vegas)

The booking photo for James Keck, 42, who was arrested on three counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of burglary with a deadly weapon following a shooting Thursday at a bar in the southwest valley that left three people injured.Poor Mr. Keck. If only you’d taken the time to get your edumacation on properly by studying my Macking With The Staff article, you could have saved yourself a rather awful engagement with The Man.

You could have found other ways to court your paramour or you could have found equally – uh- reciprocal benefits in someone else, like a nearby Bunny Ranch associate, no?  Your former co-workers could have been spared that all too familiar (don’t ask me how I know) cool/hot feeling and subsequent bleeding out one often gets upon being pumped full buckshot from a 12 gauge.

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Idiot Bartender of the Day: Racist Edition – Jessica Elizabeth

Jessica Elizabeth… you complete me.  Oh Proof nightclub.. you had me at boobage.

So, the genius powers-that-be at Proof nightclub in Chi-town decide it’s in their best interests to hire a stripper-looking bartender to boost business.  They proceed to employ a stereotypical, bleach blonde bimbo; one with a perfectly matched, but ghastly, set of surgically enhanced, out for the world to see, double-dee endowments, an unbelievably even glow disgusting spray on salon tan, and fresh bleached teefs.

Now, I may be wrong (does an Oh God 360), but I suspect that the manager/owner who did the hiring, in this case, was a dude.  I also surmise that Ms. Elizabeth would stare like a deer in headlights, if I walked in and ordered a Perfect Manhattan, Seagrams V.O. Old Fashioned, or Knob Mint Julep. I’d likely be directed to enjoy a refreshing Jack & Coke instead.  I challenge you to prove me wrong on both charges.

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In Vino Veritas

[Bar Dude #1] Mmm….  You gettin’ smoke on that?  Oh yeah! I’m fer sure gettin’ smoke – Hickory embers.  The legs on this are workin’ for me.  Me? I’m detecting old – ugh- Fromage de Chevre, some vintage Moroccan shoe leather and – uhhhh – magic marker.

[Bar Dude #2] Dude, you’re SO stupid! You’re doing it all wrong!  This blend is all mossy with kick-ass tannins and an ever so slight peachy-ness.  Err… yeah – and I’m definitely gettin’ some musty Oak on it – and… wait – sweaty ballsac – yeah!

Cool thing is about wine, is that no matter what you say, you’re not wrong and neither the dude next to you with a completely different opinion.  The interpretation is nearly all subjective.  Sure there are plenty of sommeliers out there and all kinds of technical characteristics that can be applied to wine tasting.  But for most folks, again, it’s all in your head – personal preferences.

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Whiskey Chicks


I have an instant disdain for the seemingly ever present hot chick that rolls up to my bar and is interested only in a “Ketel club,” Michelob Ultra or Skinny Bitch Margaritas.  Those drinks may occasionally be accompanied by a nutrient-rich and decadently filling share plate of Mixed Greens, drizzled with Balsamic and topped with 2 packets of Splenda – oh the yum.  You’re an indulgent cokehead – incessantly concerned about any calories not on “today’s plan.” Your 5’9” frame has never once been three ounces over 108 pounds since your blackout partying days prior to (miraculously) graduating sleeping through the Varsity chess team in return for finished papers at Dartmouth 4 years ago.

You’re one, who heaven forbid, can never be seen without wads of Kim K’ish cat-like black eyeliner, applied with unfathomable surgical precision, and perfectly hot-ironed hair. Under no circumstances will step foot out of your Riverside Drive pre-war solo with ugh – “tennis shoes.”  Those are reserved only for the Columbus Circle Reebok center – twice a week spin class run by Serge, followed by Krishnam’s Bikram yoga session.  No, you need you some proper four-inch Eye-Talian stilettos, or next season’s wedges at all times – ala Carrie Bradshaw.  All the denim you own is only of the True Religion variety and is pressed bi-weekly by Uri at the cleaners up on Broadway.

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Carabinieri Cocktail


The Carabinieri


  • 1oz Vodka (or Tequila if you prefer)
  • 1/2 oz Galiano
  • 1/2 oz Countreau (Orange Curacao or Triple Sec if you’re cheap)
  • Splash of Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1 Egg Yolk


Chill a cocktail/Martini glass if you don’t have a dedicated chiller.

Build your concoction in your 16oz glass shaker. Save the egg yolk for last. Crack and separate the yolk from white using second glass, making sure to stretch your arms really high, and bulging your eyes as extra drama.

Smile grandly and say something mystical that will reinforce the customer’s belief that you’ve graduated from the Tom Cruise Academy of Flair.  Alternatively, concoct some whimsical story about partying it up with these crazy dancers from Florence you shacked up with last year when you were exploring the Eastern-most Himalayas on foot.  Remember, you’re on stage.  The theatrics, presentation and atmosphere are half of what they’re paying for.

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P.Y.T.s and F.O.R.D.s (Fat Old Rich Douchebags)

P.Y.T.s and F.O.R.D.s (Fat Old Rich Douchebags) – a.k.a, O.F.W.G. (Old Fat White Guys)

You are familiar with the P.Y.T., Michael Jackson acronym, ay? Yeah baby! We’ve all seen their men tooling around in their “Fuck you, lesser beings” Bentley Corniches.

The dude will proudly be sporting the wealthy (fat) man’s Triple-H uniform: (1) Hawaiian, short-sleeve button shirt – impeccably pressed (2) Hermes belt, and (3) Herve Leger linen with super crisp breaks.  He’ll rhythmically be alternating between (a) talking shit to his production company’s casting director, or his fund manager, using a custom, Tiffany cased, iPhone 4s and (b) sucking on a half-smoked, but authentic, Havana Cohiba Maduro.  These dudes almost always finish the outfit off with sock-less, alligator loafers and a Gucci clutch. If you actually opened the Man Purse, you’d find a 2 week supply of 20mg Viagra tabs – ready for the evenings  sensual love affair 3-minute rabbit drill.

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Sour Mix

Lemon-X Sour Mix - 1 gallon


Sour Mix

…oft misunderstood, frequently (and wrongly reviled) and lately, lumped in the same camp as Crispy Cream doughnuts. When “cocktails” were at their height of elitism, popularity, and art – arguably near the turn of the 20th century – this additive probably consisted of something like sugar, bitters and lime. In popular/modern context, it’s come to mean a concentrated lemon additive for alcoholic beverages.

In reality, at the vast majority of bars, what you’ll find is that 95% of bartenders and bar management don’t give this stuff a second thought outside of how to obtain it as cheaply as possible. That’s really, really sad and extremely short-sighted. For most buyers, it’s simply another necessary bar supply – one for which corners must be cut to – uh – increase profits.

What that typically means is that your average bar owner will opt for “food service” distributed “Lemon-X” brand Sour Mix. It comes either in gallon jugs or syrup boxes to be hooked into the WunderBar or similar soda-gun systems.  Furthermore, it’s name is misleading as it’s not really sour at all but rather, very sweet – at least the commercial crap is. As a result, you get a lot of customers that are terrified to go anywhere near the stuff.  That’s probably because most bartenders (1) again, buy this junk instead of making it and (2) they overuse it.

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Your Bref So Stank

Hygiene.  I mean really?  How much can I bash you over head with guidance before you realize you’re – uh – not so fresh?  How many times have you been in the midst of conversation, and subsequently been befuddled because your paramour “backs up the truck” 2 or 3 feet and exhibits “bitter beer face?”  Confuzzled?  Did I break wind or something?  Have they seen a rat?  Is there a piece of lettuce stuck in my teefs?

No you dirt-ass! You have stank-ass breath – a.k.a, Chronic Halitosis.  You can’t possibly be that dim-witted and not realize that your mouth feels and smells like an uber-ripe, clogged, downtown subway sewer in balmy July.  You have to do something about it you big dummy!

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