I went out after work for that “one drink” with the crew a couple of nights ago. We happened to be at The Crooked Knife on 14th St. That’s borderline Meatpacking District/Chelsea for you out-of-towners. After a bad-ass, long, hot, sticky, dirty, demanding evening on my feet, I’m all in for settling down at the local watering hole (once in a while) and kicking back before the journey home. Here’s how I get down: I double-fist it – mostly.
You’re looking at my (1) a pint of Magic Hat #9 and (2) a shot of Michters [with three cubes] – a decent rye with a mildly fruity nose, and a fairly smooth finish. Coincidentally, Michters is one of the oldest distilleries in the U.S. – dating back to before our independence.
No, I’m not a fucking lush. This is all I had. I don’t drink often or in quantity (anymore) mostly because I work two jobs, have a family to take care of, and have to remain completely sober for my ride home. Yes, I said “ride.” I’m one of the lucky ones – depending on how you look at it – that bops all around New York City on an honest-to-goodness, balls-to-the-wall, two wheel death trap – my motorcycle. And I do it year round – barring snow or sub 25 degree weather. Hands down, there’s no faster, cheaper, cooler, nor fun way to get around this town. I’ll get into that another time.
I’m a huge beer guy. I mean I’m a huge beer aficionado, not a fat ass. I’m not sorry if this insults you, but I literally gag at the mere thought of ingesting your pisswater, run-of-the-mill Bro-beers (e.g., Heineken, all variety of Bud, MGD, Becks, Coors derivatives, etc.). Presented nothing but this pedestrian sewer chum at a party, I run for the hills – or wine or soft drinks. I’d opt for a concoction of pepper, Tobasco, baking powder, ketchup, and cigar ash over those choices (that’s the kind of science experiment my son frequently likes to put together and trick me into ingesting – kids). Somehow, the big breweries have made the stock car race-loving American masses highly enamored of this absolute crap. They’re all fucking brainwashed.
So, I’m bartender right? One of the expectations is that I be able to soak in your state of being, demeanor, dress, speak and aura, time of day, and somehow – via Vulcan mind-meld – spit out some pixie-dust infused drink suggestion that you’re absolutely going to go ga-ga over. Fine. I can do that. However, a fucking magician, I am not. You’ve got to give me something to work with. For instance, I may ask you “what do you normally drink?” or “do you usually prefer dry, sweet, strong, or spicy drinks?”
Rolling up to the bar, grinning your grin, and asking me “What’s good here?” is positively useless and infuriating. I may grin and offer a friendly suggestion, but in my head, I want to stab you in the meatless part of your shin multiple times with a rusty, blunt butter knife I’ve reserved behind the register for just that purpose.
I’m not a fucking mind reader. I opt mostly for beer and whiskey if I’m out at a bar. I drink substantial quantities of wine with dinner and at home. Unlike most drinkers, I have a serious sweet tooth and rarely shy away from Sauternes, Rieslings, Muscats, sweet liqueurs and sweet-ish highballs. What I choose to drink, and when, doesn’t necessarily jive with (1) commonly accepted pairings or (2) what you personally think is tasty or appropriate for a particular meal (or pre/post meal), weather, state-of-inebriation, or a myriad of other variables.
Just like with most other things in life, there’s a way to do things and a better way to do things. There’s a world of difference between uttering something retarded like “What should I have?” and “Which one of these whiskey highballs on your cocktail menu do you prefer?” or “I usually like dry, vodka-based drinks… can you suggest anything fruity in that genre? I want to try something new.”
So, Miss I Don’t Know What to Drink So I’ll Ask You, The Truth About Bartending salutes you and all your hot-ass, but socially inept, common-sense deficient, credit-card-splitting friends. I’ll still smile, severely flirt, show you a great time, yet make you something of my choosing which I know you’re going to return, in short order, for a Vodka-Soda & Lime. But two minutes later, I won’t care because – you know – I’m a straight dude and am very easily distracted/manipulated by ass.