Like most Service Industry dweebs, this bartender consumes copious amounts of Jameson Irish Whiskey – pure sorcery. I drink a lot of this shit. I’d estimate that I drink it more frequently than all other alcoholic beverages I consume combined. I drink it on the job and off, both day and night. There’s only one problem: Jameson Irish Whiskey tastes like ass. Yeah, you heard me; I said it. Given the choice, I’d rather suck on a rusty hitch ball than touch the stuff. Yet, I must continue to guzzle this crap. I’ll explain why.
The heart of the issue is twofold:
Part I lies in my given profession – bartending itself. It’s a tradition which, arguably, got it’s traction (in this country) long ago from Northern Europeans – innkeepers from Great Britain and associated territories – Ireland in particular. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that 500 or so years of separation, and 200+ years of independence have done absolutely nothing to dampen the love of the job for American descendants, and immigrants from that part of the world. The restaurant/bar industry, or any place else bearing the slightest resemblance to… uh… an alcohol dispensary, is rife with Irishmen in pubs. This phenomenon has only contributed to the drunk Irish stereotype.
In any case, the Irish influence and celebration of the homeland’s most storied whiskey, is steeped in tradition. It’s as pervasive as Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian are to tabloids (at least in New York). The whiskey’s reach is so influential, that tens of thousands of non-Irish New Yorkers have fallen ill to the allure of getting jiggy with seemingly endless shots of “Jamo” in every nook and cranny of the Big Apple. The bar/restaurant industry is the epitome of excess when it comes to sex, drugs, booze, and just about every other classic vice. Bartenders, waitstaff, managers and guzzle Jameson with an extraordinarily high frequency and incomparable fervor. It’s by far the single most frequently ordered spirit – second only to Patron and a combination of various vodka brands.
Part II can be 100% attributed to the those professional shucksters, also known as Advertising Executives, up on Madison Avenue in New York City. Not too long ago, before many of you were of drinking age, Jameson Whiskey wasn’t doing all that well (not that anybody remembers – a hallmark of effective subliminal marketing). Don’t fret. They were selling their hooch just fine. But they were selling no more or less than their Irish and Scotch head-bedeviling spirit counterparts – distilleries such as Dewars, Johnnie Walker, Lagavulin, Talamore, Powers, and Bushmills.
The John Jameson Company execs couldn’t be satisfied with driving plebian Jaguar XJs, living in prime Dublin flats. No way. They wanted to kick it up a notch. Nothing less than Bentley Arnages and McMansions up in the County Kildare heezy would do. So they hatched a master plan. They’d brainwash the living fuck out of
all mankind us stupid Americans. They contracted Madison Ave advertising gurus TBWA/Chiat/Day to undertake their dirty bidding. What TBWA/Chiat/Day came up with is arguabley the second most effective, most lucrative, and most widespread hoodwinking of an advertising campaign ever unleashed on the sheeple.
The Jameson campaign’s effect is surpassed only by the monumental advertising scam and social manipulation engineered by that pseudo-legal South African diamond
mafia cartel, De Beers, Inc. De Beers originated this scam way back in 1947. Prior to De Beers, dozens/hundreds of diamond mining companies were in the diamond fracking game. Wives-to-be didn’t give two shits whether they got a Ruby, Emerald or fucking Amethyst ring setting. De Beers flipped the script by engaging extremely clever and creative advertising companies and endlessly bombarding all advertising channels with their wares. We all remember the line “…where better can you spend two months salary…” but we can’t really place it can we? That, my friends is some seriously effective subliminal brainwashing. Good grooms to be have been hella mad ever since, but have little choice but to commit to the program, lest their paramour (1) forever gaze upon their husband with an lifetime, inexplicable look of remorse and (2) they be loath to ever show up to “girl night,” where all the GFs/wives judge each others’ clothes, shoes, hair, and rings and utter snarky comments. It’s the female equivalent of dudes’ urinal-penis-judging game at the high school locker room or at the gym.
Well, John Jameson & Company took a page right out of the De Beers playbook. For a decade or so, you couldn’t go anywhere on public transportation in this country without catching sight of a Jameson placard on a plane,train, bus, station or whatever. Publications were littered with ads as well. Those print campaigns were followed with some extremely well timed (read: Jack Sparrow), seriously well-produced television ads; the more memorable spots being (1) the supposedly “lost” Jameson barrel during the storm of 1781 (2) young, good looking Irishmen lubricating their minds at an inn with Jamo following a massive hurricane and (3) the giant whiskey-barrel-stealing hawk whose nest John finds, and winds up turning the thief into dinner.
Look, I abhor getting shit-faced while on the job. It leads to nothing good whatsoever. Though I recognize that many bartenders have extensive “problems” with the sauce, I harbor severe disdain for co-workers who hit the bottle a bit too hard and a bit too frequently. They literally takes money out of my pocket. I’m don’t trudge to work, planning to casually enjoy a sippy sip sip and get my buzz on. I’m there to schlep and line my pockets with fat stacks (in Jesse Pinkman’s words). Becoming incoherent is not conducive to trying to ring up $3,000 to $5,000 at your till and trying to pocket $400 or $500 bucks for the evening. That said, I do take shots with customers and staff here and there but never, ever do I drink mercilessly and get myself all hammered. That’s plain stupid. Many of my fellow barkeeps however, are of a different school of thought. Those zombie motherfuckers are seemingly there to consume every bottle of Jameson in the joint - every god-damned night. My sober ass is presented with dozens of Jamo shots a night both at work and afterwards, by both friends and guests. I’m often not in a position, for a variety of reasons, to turn down the offers. What the fuck? I sometimes think these people are all diseased.
As I mentioned at the top of the hour, and at the risk of insulting most of my friends, I think Jamesons tastes like complete cow dung. After a long, sticky, sweaty shift, I’d much rather stumble my aching muscles across the street to a relatively quiet bar, order up a Michter’s Rye, Old Grand Dad Bourbon, or Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac accompanied by a pint of ice cold craft beer. I buck trends. I’ve never given much of a shit what everyone else was doing and I’m not about to start now. But rather than sour every relationship I have, for now, I’ll suck up and continue – to some degree – kissing ass at the alter of John Jameson.