As many of my brethren on the Eastern seaboard know, it’s hurricane season up in the heezy. Those of you in the panhandle of the Sunshine State, know it a just a bit more than you probably care to acknowledge. You guys are repeatedly hit with the brunt of Mother Nature’s shit show. Up here in New York City, we generally don’t give two shits about no stinkin’ hurricanes – that is, until we do. City dweller’s typical idea of hurricane preparedness is ensuring the subway’s running and making damned sure that the nearest local watering hole has an available stool or two. That’s why I’m shocked as shit when I visit the local grocery and big-box stores, 3 days ahead of Hurricane Sandy’s predicted landfall, only to watch in horror the soccer moms, old farts, and just about everybody else start prying every last pseudo-survival item off the shelves.
I’m not one of these dudes who’s a afraid to veer a little left. A good contigent of my bros routinely give me shit for lifting a pinky and sipping on something off-beat (read: something other than Jamesons, Jack Daniels, Bud and Coors Light). Even in The Great Liberal North-East – NYC being the epicenter of “live and let live” – there is still a bastion of meathead’ish, old school, “straight-guy logic” that outs itself in force when boozing time rolls around. There’s a set of unwritten rules to abide by. Among a half-dozen, mostly straight dudes, few other things can incite fierce stare-downs and raucous shit-talking faster than ordering a “girly” drink (like a milkshake, fruit-juice highball, or the poster-child for metrosexual and homosexual men – The Cosmo). Having the balls to order such a drink in a sea of seemingly straight men has sometimes even lead to drunken skirmishes.
Let’s face it: our forebearers, forefathers – or whatever you want to call them – on the other side of the pond, have a few things not going so well for them. The lot of them have got grills fresh from the tannery and uric acid treatment facility, arranged in the antithesis of symmetry. They desperately cling to the powerless puppet show called a Monarchy, where the biggest claim to fame these days is (1) random, spied, Duchess boob – in and of itself, a non-event and (2) a worldwide devotion to said Duchess’s hotter, younger sister’s, pretty fabulous ass. The U.K. also has the dubious distinction as being the first in line at the political trough, shamelessly following the U.S. into the latest/greatest, unjustified, Imperialist , invasion like a dumb puppy on a leash – misinformation be damned.
There comes a point in one’s Hospitality career where one must make a decision – veer left or veer right. Get the hell out of the Service Industry or concede that you’re well on your way to becoming “Lifer.” You’re not going to be doing “much else” besides slinging drinks and serving slop to alkies, social imbibers, and the dregs of humanity – or so the social elite (my parents, unfortunately) keep telling me.
Having been behind the stick for nearly two decades now, along with owning a tenth of .001% of el Blogosphere-O real estate for a short while, I get my fair share of interesting questions. Looking back, if I could tally them, I’d say some of the most frequent are (1) can you hook me up [booze-wise] (2) you get laid a lot working here, don’t you [or some variation] (3) how much money do you make and (4) how do I get a bartending job?
I often work in gourmet eateries frequented by the likes of the Firecrotch, KimYe and every Tom, Dick and Harry in between. Oh, they’re no Alain Ducasse type of places but shit – they sure do put on a great front (and mostly fail). Yet, the bar/restaurant/lounge going public couldn’t care less how many Michelin Stars these spots aren’t bestowed. From their perspective, the eats are damned good and the eye-candy, even better. So when you roll into my restaurant bar, peruse the menu, and ask me “what’s good?,” be prepared for a big, fat, fake-ass smile. Brace yourself for a litany of grad-school approved, Madison Ave fluffed superlatives suggesting the priciest (read: bigger tip percentage) McNuggets on the menu and how scrumptious I say they are. There’s just one problem: it’s all a big fat fucking lie.
Folks calling themselves “Mixologists” are truly strange characters. The truth is that they almost all suffer from an elevated inferiority complex. They bend over backwards to have you identify them, not as the plebian “bartender,” no… but as something much more – someone who studiously and methodically “crafts” your “beverage.” They’ve gathered their Turbinado Sugar, Organic Basil, Candied Ginger, and Fennel Seeds and have them all on tantalizing display in the bar trough – almost always in fancy little mason jars. There’s just one major problem: these people are fucking retarded slow at making drinks.