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Mixologist incompetence


michaeldauphinais
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Tonight I had the pleasure of the company of two friends, including fellow e-Gulleteer Eric_Malson. The three of us went to a bar in New Jersey called "The Martini Bar", attached to (and sharing a menu with) the "Americana Diner". The bar certainly looked promising, and had a very appealing atmosphere and decor. After being seated at a table, Eric ordered a Martini, our friend Rachel ordered a Cosmopolitan, and I, being in the mood for bourbon, asked for a Booker's neat. Several minutes later (probably at least 10) the server, who was probably 19 years old at best, returned to inform me that they were out of Booker's. I then asked for a Woodford Reserve neat. Several minutes later he returned with a tray...carrying three martini glasses. The Cosmo and the Martini were just fine, but my glass was full of cold bourbon, presumably shaken with ice. The ensuing conversation:

me: "Um, this is not what I ordered."

waiter: "What did you want?"

me: "I ordered it neat. This has obviously been shaken."

waiter: "What did you mean by 'neat' ?"

me: "Does your bartender not know what 'neat' means in reference to serving bourbon or whiskey?"

waiter: "We don't have a bartender tonight."

(insert rimshot here)

At this point I gently explained, as unpatronizingly as possible, how to serve a drink "neat".

The waiter took the condensation-soaked martini glass full o' bourbon back to the bar.

Several minutes later, he returned, carrying a martini glass - full to the rim with Woodford Reserve.

I was at least able to wait until he left to begin guffawing.

A camera phone was present to capture the absurdity.

i11211.jpg

I've been reading these forums for awhile, but I believe this may be only my second post. I hope that such a thread does not already exist. Please share your stories of bartenders who had no clue what they were doing!

epilogue: I was only charged $8....

In vino veritas.

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I had a similar experience years ago at a bar/restaurant. I ordered some single malt scotch neat and received it on the rocks. When I pointed out the error, the waitress took it and went back to the bar. When she returned, it was with the same scotch, which had simply been strained and returned to the glass.

Another time, a very young bartender at a place that served mostly beers and shots was asked for a martini on the rocks. She started out okay -- she poured the gin and vermouth into a shaker and mixed it. Then, however, she filled a very small cocktail glass with ice and strained the drink into the cocktail glass. Except, because the glass was so small, not all the drink could fit; my guess is that the actual liquid in the glass totaled maybe an ounce. She was so confused; she stood there looking at the glass, then at the shaker. Finally, she handed it to the customer, who obviously was torn between saying something and just chalking it up to experience. But at least her heart was in the right place; she gave him the remainder.

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This happened to an old manager of mine a few years back. He was in a bar with some friends and ordered drinks from the bartender. This was a 'young crowd' bar, and one of their specialties was a fishbowl. If you don't know, the drink is an actual fishbowl, filled with ice and your choice of a drink. The special that night was something like $15 - which amounted to about 3 regular highballs. My old manager jokingly asked the bartender (who was evidently new to the job), how much a fishbowl would be with Macallan's. She shrugged and said, "Same price, I guess." He immediately said, "Sold!". I don't remember exactly how many he had that night, but I'm sure it was more than one.

-Greg

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I went into a swish members bar in Kensington, London, with a friend and ordered one beer and an oldfashioned. As the two of us were (and still are) bartenders we watched the bartender as he prepared the oldfashioned. Bourbon was poured into the ice-filled rocks glass, at least two shots. This was followed by a shot of sweet vermouth!?!

We, of course, stared at each other.

The bartender administered bitters and an orange twist, then gave the old fashioned to my friend, exclaiming

"I am sorry I made your oldfashioned with bourbon, it is meant to be made with brandy, but that is how we make them here."

We think the bartender was bluffing as he gave us both our drinks free of charge.

Hmmmm!

George

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Finishing dinner with friends one night in a Chinese restaurant, I asked the waitress for a brandy stinger. She returns with what was obviously brandy and green creme de menthe ( the two together make an icky color), garnished with a little paper umbrella.

Mark

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Hey Queneau,

as you are Irish does that mean you like the top of a pint of Guinness to be featureless (i.e. no engravings or etchings, stencils, airbrush etc)?

The things I have seen on top of a pint of Guiness include:

starburst pattern with a swirly thing in the middle.

a satanic goat

pentagram.

All of these are available here

Would they not go down well with ewe?

Cheers!

George

Edited by ThinkingBartender (log)
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I've been reading these forums for awhile, but I believe this may be only my second post. I hope that such a thread does not already exist. Please share your stories of bartenders who had no clue what they were doing!

Oh a thread does exist.

First off, if they didn't have a bartender I'd hardly expect a server to know how to make me a drink. :rolleyes:

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Hey Queneau,

as you are Irish does that mean you like the top of a pint of Guinness to be featureless (i.e. no engravings or etchings, stencils, airbrush etc)?

The things I have seen on top of a pint of Guiness include:

starburst pattern with a swirly thing in the middle.

a satanic goat

pentagram.

All of these are available here

Would they not go down well with ewe?

Cheers!

George

:laugh:

Hello George. I seem to remember something to the effect of q likes or creates a harp for presentation. But I must admit, it is fun to yank q's chain.... :wink:

<cracking whip sound>

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I bloomity frickin' hate bartenders messing around with my Guinness: Black stuff, white stuff, pint glass. Difficult?

Like a Martini, a pint of Guinness is supremely elegant in its naked simplicity - clean, pure flowing lines. For someone to disrupt the almost Feng Shui aesthetic quality of this drink annoys me. But it happens all the thyme (although mainly to tourists, who think it's cute, and subsequently tip better).

Yes, yes, I confess that I've done myself in the past, but the last thyme was the Paris Guinness Perfect Pour Competition, wherein I did draw a harp on the head. And I won! Always happy to forget my principles when there is cash/free booze involved.

irony doesn't mean "kinda like iron".

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Upon my ordering a perfect Manhattan, the bartender smirked at me and said, "All the drinks I make are perfect" with no hint of joking or cuteness.

Then, the scraped his shoe into a shaker to make a dirty martini.

(Ok, ok, only the first part really happened)

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Alright, what is a bloodbath, and where did the recipe come from. Stump the bartender is not fair if you're making up drink names, or asking for non-standard recipes. Webtender doesn't have anything called a bloodbath in its recipes... nor does hotwired's virtual blender... which isn't saying much since neither has the Blood and Sand listed either...

I'm somewhat responsible for a bunch of stumped bartenders and chagrined customers... Years ago I was called in to design the drinks menu for a very large party some friends living in the East Village of NYC were throwing... I went whole hog and presented a whole bunch of options, most canonical but unusual like Algonquins and Aviations and Buckeye Martinis, though I threw in my own signature cocktail that I call the Homeskillet. For years afterward stories have been coming back to me of people who were at that party subsequently asking their bartenders for Homeskillets and getting blank expressions in return. So any barkeeps I flummoxed, I'm sorry. Totally not fair asking complete strangers to read my mind. (and since it contains maraschino, there's no way you could have made it anyway.) :biggrin:

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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okay, i have a good one. now this story violates the 5th, but...

my twenty first birthday, a few months ago. I got hammered (really hammered) between the hours of 12 and 2 the night before, so i took it easy the night of my b-day. I got dragged to a sleazy country karaoke bar. I ordered a manhattan. oops

I received an unshaken normal glass (not cocktail) filled with ice and an elixer that had grenadine in it. a lot of it. so much that i couldn't taste the 3+ shots of maker's i saw him pour. there were no bitters in it. it was bright red.

the worst drink ever, but mighty alcoholic.

the catch is that I had a hundred manhattans prior to this encounter, and he actually asked me what was in it. I obliged, and i know, FOR CERTAIN that i did not say grenadine.

"The Internet is just a world passing around notes in a classroom."

---John Stewart

my blog

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I just recalled a true story of mixed up mixology--

In London the Institute of Contemporary Art has a bar... a very well stocked bar. Walked in and spotted the Peychaud's Bitters right on the bar and decided I wanted a Sazerac, so ordered one. What came back was not recognizable as a Sazerac, as it had significant quantities of lemon juice in it, and was nothing like the herbal whisky concoction that a Sazerac was meant to be. So I tasted it, said "no, no fruit in a Sazerac, what's this?" which amused my companions to no end. The tender claimed his mixing book called for lemon in the Sazerac... so I told him to ignore his book and make my drink to my specifications... which he did.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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Ah, but good things come to those that wait.

I am surprised how many bartenders don't know how to pour this one. But again, if you don't know, then you don't. As I've typed before, coach them a bit and then they've a new trick up their sleeves, if they are amenable to such.

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Alright, what is a bloodbath, and where did the recipe come from. Stump the bartender is not fair if you're making up drink names, or asking for non-standard recipes. Webtender doesn't have anything called a bloodbath in its recipes... nor does hotwired's virtual blender... which isn't saying much since neither has the Blood and Sand listed either...

The BloodBath, as far as I know, comes from an old NYC Goth hangout, The Black Veil. It's an interesting recipe: 2/3 winestem of Merlot, cranberry juice to top off and a teeny chambord float. As odd as it sounds, it's very good. Especially if you get a nice fruity Merlot.

As part of the bartender lessons at one my school's student restaurants, I actually made this as the Cocktail Special for one day. I called it a Wineberry though, because I didn't think BloodBath would fly.

:smile:

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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Alright, what is a bloodbath, and where did the recipe come from.  Stump the bartender is not fair if you're making up drink names, or asking for non-standard recipes.  Webtender doesn't have anything called a bloodbath in its recipes... nor does hotwired's virtual blender... which isn't saying much since neither has the Blood and Sand listed either...

The bar I worked at for years was a no-nonsense neighborhood dive that was usually quite busy with its working-class regulars, but we prided ourselves on classic, well-made cocktails, and most of us behind the bar were fairly well-versed mixologists. Because of the bar's location, however, it attracted lots of tourists, bridge-and-tunnelers and wannabe hipsters, especially on weekends. Stump the bartender was not appreciated under those circumstances. If a drink outside the standard canon was ordered that I hadn't heard of, I'd ask how to make it if I had the time and it sounded interesting, but usually directions were given to the nearest trendy see-and-be-scene flavor-of-the-month joint. (People ordering Bloody Marys when I'm obviously in the weeds were also often invited to imbibe elsewhere -- we were famous for them, but weekend daytime, please. Obnoxious frat boys from out of town asking where they could pick up chicks were given specific directions to the nearby butch-boy gay bar.) We did pull Guinness, but no shamrocks or hearts or flowers on top.

Cheers,

Squeat

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Alright, what is a bloodbath, and where did the recipe come from.  Stump the bartender is not fair if you're making up drink names, or asking for non-standard recipes.  Webtender doesn't have anything called a bloodbath in its recipes... nor does hotwired's virtual blender... which isn't saying much since neither has the Blood and Sand listed either...

The BloodBath, as far as I know, comes from an old NYC Goth hangout, The Black Veil. It's an interesting recipe: 2/3 winestem of Merlot, cranberry juice to top off and a teeny chambord float. As odd as it sounds, it's very good. Especially if you get a nice fruity Merlot.

As part of the bartender lessons at one my school's student restaurants, I actually made this as the Cocktail Special for one day. I called it a Wineberry though, because I didn't think BloodBath would fly.

:smile:

Are you revealing a wee bit of yourself our eG Intern? :wink::biggrin:

I've worked and been known to patronised a goth bar. :smile: All is not preppy polos and chinos here but I drew the line with black lipstick or fingernails.... :rolleyes:

Most of these drinks are house drinks with house made up names. There are bizillions of them and it is absolutely ludicrous for one to expect others to know that often lack that knowledge. One who comes up to the bar, where I work, with a smirk and try to stump us with as many off the wall named drinks only ends up being ignored or handed a bud light. We are at the peak of our in-season attitude, which is quite different.

A note about Webtender. The drink database is on hiatus (sp?) and being carefully scanned to ensure quality submissions by it's owner, Pål -- as opposed to yet another Everclear and Gatorade recipe (and be aware Webtender is a hobby side project for that lovely fella and not his sole focus of energies). re the Blood and Sand: Gary's submissions to the cocktail world inclusive, at no disrespect. Email Pål cdh, I'm sure he'd find a way to incorporate it. :smile:

edit: clarity

Edited by beans (log)
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(People ordering Bloody Marys when I'm obviously in the weeds were also often invited to imbibe elsewhere -- we were famous for them, but weekend daytime, please. Obnoxious frat boys from out of town asking where they could pick up chicks were given specific directions to the nearby butch-boy gay bar.)

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I so know that scenario.

I remember one hellish Saturday morning when our bar manager decided to open an hour earlier while failing to instruct the scheduled bartender, moi. I barely got the first manual, crank up window louver (sp? and we had EIGHT of them) open a wee six inches when a line of happy tourists were squeezing their faces to look in with the inquisitive Bloody Mary orders.

edit: kant tipe

Edited by beans (log)
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