It’s that time of year again… aching, wheezing, coughing up loogies – the shakes, fevers and sore throats. For the first time in several years, I neglected to get a Flu shot and sure enough, I got hit with it badly. Nursing a two day old 103 degree temperature, my doc was kind enough to save me a trip to the E.R. and phone in a prescription for Tamiflu. He rocks. Keep in mind though, there is no such thing as a sick day in this business.
In all my years of tending bar, rarely have I seen any other cocktail prepared as inconsistently (and wrongly) as ye olde Hot Toddy. Why? It’s mostly a result of the “telephone game” or Pass It Down theory of learning to bartend. It’s a situation where Barbacks working Service Bar, teach Runners “how to bartend” – the stupid passing down (uh…) knowledge to the ignorant. This cocktail requires a couple of minutes of preparation and often, a bit of running around. Usually, that means leaving the bar for a trip both to the espresso machine and perhaps to the bowels of the kitchen to retrieve necessary components. What bartender in their right mind would look forward to unnecessary complicated cocktail prep in lieu of serving 3 or 4 other gratuity-rich guests? Answer: the usual suspects – the short-sighted contingent.
On Rolling in the Deep
Bartenders: In packed neighborhoods teeming with nightclubs (Chelsea, The Village, MPD, LES, Bedford), filled with weekend bridge-and-tunnel drunkards, bartenders are expected to handle a bar 3 or 4 deep for hours, without suffering a mental breakdown or losing money.
Mixologists: Doesn’t happen. A lot of mixologists hone their skills either in boutique or high-end hotel bars – places like PDT and Apotheke, and The Four Seasons, Le Bernadin, and Le Cirque. They take their sweet-ass time, blending Employee Manual certified house cocktails to perfection. However, put them in a club setting, with an extremely loud DJ, and shirtless cokeheads begging for Goose-Redbull and a Gatorade, and they’d run crying for their Mamas.