Here at TTAB, I’m just about never opposed to showcasing a fellow bartender who (a) consistently displays mad mixology skillz or evident bartending experience and (b) has upped their social media game somthin’ special, putting their unique personalities front and center. Like many a [straight] walking penis, I’m particularly enamored when said barkeep happens to be.. ehem… hot. So it is with great pleasure that I “discovered” Ms. Casey Young recently and highlight this pretty young thing for your viewing pleasure.
Well, more like I knew The Monogamists. Sex and The City – Season 1, Episode 7. I know, I know… it’s not Throwback Thursday just yet. But what the hell. Pouring through some really old hard drives from yester-year, I dug up some vintage photos and video footage. Some of them – naturally – I really didn’t want to see (read: relics of relationships crashed and burned). Others, had me awash in smirks and nostalgia.
I’ve written much on the why, how and when previously kind and hospitable bartenders mysteriously transform into utter assholes or douchebag mixologists. But, don’t take it just from me. I’m not the only game in this town (or The Wrong Coast for that matter). Enter Eric Alperin of Hey Bartender fame (I’m still waiting to see the movie) and barkeep at L.A.’s The Varnish.
So, you wanna be a baller, huh? You love to pound shot after shot, cocktail after cocktail in an effort to show just about all your bros (and often hos) that absolutely no one can possibly upstage you during an evening out, by drinking you under the table. How well you “handle yo’ licka,” is a skill which must be conveyed to all your homies at any cost. Among several problems with such an excessive endeavor, including (1) rapidly draining the evening’s budget and tapping into the Rent Reserve (2) funnin’ strangers boobs without a formal invite and (3) eating a fist full of teeth and getting tossed on your bum, perhaps the most challenging may be the dreaded Hangover.
What in tarnation causes a hangover anyway? How do you avoid it? Most importantly, how do you get rid of it once you have it?
It’s nearly Kentucky Derby time fools! Personally, I don’t give two craps. I’m the anti-hero when it comes to sports. Golf, Horse Racing, and NASCAR make me dry-heave an extra two times with, twisting my gut with extraordinary pain. I know, I know - sacrilege, right? Especially for a bartender and a dude! I couldn’t care any less about following football, basketball, hockey (extra yikes!), and baseball. My straight guy friends (they’re rare – 9/10 of my friends are hot chicks) hate on me endlessly for being “anti-sports,” a befitting description of me since my early twenties. Shockingly, many of my gay guy friends have a ton more interest in following sports than even I do. Somehow, I fake it pretty good when engaging sports fanatics with seemingly endless conversations at the bar.
The only reason I care about the Kentucky Derby, is because it’s yet another excuse to drink a classic cocktail.
I started this blog as a goof, an outlet for a few pent-up frustrations, and for self-psychotherapy. I held no other expectations. The unexpected however, has a way of creeping up on your ass when you least expect it. Having a [public] social media presence has a way of attracting attention – sometimes wanted, other times – not so much. So it’s been with this blog as the year and a half has crept by.
On the good side, I’ve met all kinds of Hospitality blogger geeks and established some pretty cool relationships. I’ve had the good fortune of being contacted by, and participating in several articles, interviews, and now videos, from major and minor publications. It’s all good I guess.
So it was the other day when Huffington Post reached out to me. They highlighted an article from BroBible.com, “Confessions of Bartender” and reached out to a few folks (myself included) to add a little colored commentary. The article is pretty well written and accurately conveys many issues and concerns I’ve mentioned previously.
Gotta love the InterToobs and Google Hangouts I must say.
“Aviation Aramos Fizz…” and 10 minute, $20 cocktails. “Smoked Salmon Infused Vodka… over Lava Rocks.” “Sazerac with some muddled Sage.” You can pin the blame for the mixologist craze mostly on Jerry mother-fucking Thomas. Yeah… more on him to come. Post-Prohibition revival and modern fainboi’ism of all things late-19th century have also had a hand. In the last few years, Brooklyn and San Francisco hipsterdom (who seem to have committed every passage of Imbibe to memory) took all this shit and ran absolutely raving wild with a ridiculously wide expanse of “throwback,” speakeasy’ish saloons. They’re not done. There seems to be no end in sight to this pseudo-retro explosion. It’s all gone a bit too far. Me? I heart me most of those cool spots as evidenced by my Pub Crawl. I just hate when folks go overboard and refuse to keep it real. I like to believe that I’ve got mad creative skills as well – no doubt. I’ve contributed to many a successful cocktail program. But mostly, I schlep my ass off in busy ass bars. Do yourself a favor and watch this epic video backlash.
This lovely evening has graced the New York City area with Mother Nature’s finest imitation of shit London weather. I fucking love London. I don’t love London’s weather (or Londoners’ teeth). When it gets all rainy and overcast like this, I grow fond of planting my dumb ass firmly on the couch. I like to compliment the R&R by consuming serious quantities of cheap vino, that I’ve convinced myself is a far more expensive varietal. I usually accomplish my mission by dribbling some $5 Trader Joe’s crap into a fancy, over-sized crystal goblet. I’ll swish it around, study the “legs,” rest in the “nose” for a minute, and finally, gargle the first gulp like a banshee. Good show, eh?
The only rub is that I have to keep getting my lazy arse up to refill my lovely goblet lest my buzz go by the wayside. The solution? Vat19′s Texas-sized gargantuan wine glass. Itholds a fucking fifth of liquid people. That’s an entire bottle of wine – 750ml.
I’ve decided that I’m in the wrong business. I should not be bartending. I need to dream up some ridonculous (but truly useful) products in the footsteps of my Clapper, Chia Pet, Snuggly, and Foreman Grill predecessors.
675 Bar. It’s smack dab in the epicenter of bedlam, MPD (that’s The Meatpacking District for you uninitiated folks). 675 Bar is actually a neat little bar directly below Bill’s Burger. It has an eclectic scene most weeknights. It’s sandwiched between The Gansevoort and one of those chain, pseudo-Mexican spots – Dos Caminos. Ara, a local industry wine bar, is thrown in there too for good measure. Dos Caminos is right up there in quality and stature with The Olive Garden, in my not so humble opinion. They’ve spread to 4 or 5 locations all over Manhattan. I’d like to find the dude that leased Dos the space in MPD, in particular, and tie him to the 14th street F-train subway entrance on a 98 degree July day so he can “waft” in the subway’s finest, Summer aromas. Ok, ok… I jest somewhat. I’ve eaten at Dos (on Park Ave) a few times. The food is just fine, the cocktails yummy, and the overall experience: pretty good.
Interestingly enough, both 675 Bar and Dos Caminos are both BR Guest establishments. BR Guest is one of a couple of dozen, large scale, NYC-based hospitality management organizations that have proliferated in the last decade or two. Their properties also include fine spots like Strip House, Primehouse and Blue Water Grill. Sometimes they get it really right (read: Blue Water) and other times (as in the aforementioned Dos Caminos) err… not so much.
Anyway, Eben Klemm, BR Guests corporate – um – “mixologist,” (here we go again with the labels) dishes on Manhattans – shaken v. stirred. Me? I don’t give two craps about [temporary] cloudiness and tiny shards of ice that will dissolve in a minute anyway. I kind of like them – and I’m a life-long Bourbon/Manhattan aficionado. As I mentioned in a previous article, I’ll take my Manhattan extra cold – thank you. All else being equal, shaking will generally result in a colder cocktail.
Mr. Klemm gets the proportions correct, thankfully. He’s got a weird shake and uses a jigger, which simply won’t fly in busy spots, but whatever – those things may just be camera fodder. Bartenders need to be able to free pour those measurements like clockwork. If you watch the video, clearly he’s bent on pushing stirred. Just like Mr. Klemm, our buddy Doug, over at The Pegu Blog, is also adamant about stirring over shaking. I’m in the opposite camp.
What say you Kimosabe?
Dude, if you’ve read my horribly brief review on Tito’s Texas Vodka, you’ll know that (1) I suck ass at reviewing vodka (2) I’m hearting me some Tito’s Holy Water lately and (3) I can’t get enough of this guy born
burrito “Burtito.” Anyway, I don’t even know him – but he rocks! This is likely the greatest story – er… – ever told. My new BFF. I’m mesmerized by a good Southern accent almost as much as I’m romanced and stricken silly by the average Glaswegian, Dublin/Hiberno, or Cockney speak. Southerner, born and bred.
Humble, well spoken, funny, in-touch. Been broke, been doing well. He’s just takin’ it all in stride – true gentleman style. Buy his hooch… buy a lot of it.