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Mixologist incompetence


michaeldauphinais
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A note about Webtender.  The drink database is on hiatus (sp?)

:shock::shock:

But I can still search, right? RIGHT?? *checks*

Ok, great. Bit...worried there for a minute. But everything is fine now, just fine. :cool:

Just don't do that again!

Matt Robinson

Prep for dinner service, prep for life! A Blog

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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.

So what is in a Homeskillet?

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The Fuss drinks dry J&B Manhattans. Simple right? J&B, dry vermouth, splash of bitters (we usually make it a point to ask for bitters, just in case), & a lemon twist. We place our order--two Bombay (not Sapphire) martinis, ten to one w/ twists and a dry J&B Manhattan (w/ a splash of bitters)......

We wait and wait and wait; I would not be worried but it is not a big restaurant; there are not a lot of people there; it is relatively late; we can see the bar and see that our martinis are made; what is the problem?.....

here comes the waiter w/ the martinis and a question. "How do you want your manhattan again ?" "Dry J&B Manhattan w/a splash of bitters and a twist" "okay, I will be right back".....we wait......here comes the waiter, no drink "do you mean you want less sweet vermouth?" "no, dry vermouth not sweet" "okay, I will be right back"....we wait.....here comes the waiter, no drink, "you mean dry vermouth?" we look over and half the restaurant staff is standing at the bar staring at us as if they have never heard of such an animal......"yes, take 1 & 1/2 ounces J&B, add about a 1/4 ounce DRY vermouth, a splash of bitters and a twist"......"oh, we have never had a request for a dry manhattan before so wanted to make sure. The bartender thought by dry you meant less sweet vermouth so I had to check"......well, at least they asked.....

Finally here comes the cocktail. It was mixed perfectly--how could it not be after I gave the receipt to him? I am just glad Fuss does not drink "perfect" J&B Manhattans as I could see them trying to understand that drink.

This was not a dive but an upscale white table cloth restaurant that had a decent clientele and was recommended to us by the hotel. The rest of the meal was uneventful and the food and service were good but not spectacular. Also I could not blame the waiter as he was just the go between caught in the middle but how could a bartender not know how to make a dry Manhattan?

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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Re the dry manhattan, I can see where confusion might have happened. The "dry" in "dry martini" has completely changed meaning over the life of that drink. Whereas "dry martini" used to mean making the drink with dry white vermouth instead of sweet red vermouth, now it means using a very small amount of vermouth. The idea of making a martini with sweet red vermouth doesn't even exist any more.

I imagine most bartenders would follow the modern day martini convention and simply use a smaller amount of sweet vermouth when asked for a "dry manhattan." The tendency to make this assumption would be reinforced by the fact that most customers asking for a "dry manhattan" would likely do so with exactly that meaning in mind. That the staff at this restaurant did not automatically make this assumption and mix the manhattan with a smaller proportion of sweet red vermouth, and instead took the time to make sure they knew what you wanted, speaks to me of mixologist competence rather than incompetence.

--

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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.

So what is in a Homeskillet?

Check in RecipeGullet, of course. Your questions will be answered.

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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OK, I just don't get it, what is wrong with ordering a Bloody Mary during the day on a weekend?

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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OK, I just don't get it, what is wrong with ordering a Bloody Mary during the day on a weekend?

I think that squeat was saying they preferred people to order them during that time rather than during evening hours.

�As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy, and to make plans.� - Ernest Hemingway, in �A Moveable Feast�

Brooklyn, NY, USA

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Then what is wrong with ordering a Bloody Mary in the evening? Is it that it is just a more labor intensive drink to make, or is it somehow only classy to drink it in the morning?

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Re the dry manhattan, I can see where confusion might have happened. The "dry" in "dry martini" has completely changed meaning over the life of that drink. Whereas "dry martini" used to mean making the drink with dry white vermouth instead of sweet red vermouth, now it means using a very small amount of vermouth. The idea of making a martini with sweet red vermouth doesn't even exist any more.

I imagine most bartenders would follow the modern day martini convention and simply use a smaller amount of sweet vermouth when asked for a "dry manhattan." The tendency to make this assumption would be reinforced by the fact that most customers asking for a "dry manhattan" would likely do so with exactly that meaning in mind. That the staff at this restaurant did not automatically make this assumption and mix the manhattan with a smaller proportion of sweet red vermouth, and instead took the time to make sure they knew what you wanted, speaks to me of mixologist competence rather than incompetence.

I would agree to an extent as we would rather have the drink done properly than have to send it back and go through the entire situation again and kudos to the bartender for asking instead of making it incorrectly. My problem is that if the waiter had come to the table immediately and simply said, "we have requests for dry martinis and the bartender wanted to make certain you wanted dry vermouth instead of just a smaller amount of sweet vermouth" I would have said, "yes, thank you, dry vermouth". Instead it became an absolute night mare and almost half an hour wait to get one cocktail. My argument is not necessarily that they asked but that it took so long to make a simple cocktail that should be in any bartender's repertoire.

My guess is that there was an argument at the bar over how to make it and no one wanted to admit that they were not correct hence the delay.

Now to bring up another situation.....why, when ordering a martini and specifying a twist do bartenders automatically dump olives in the drink? When you point out that you wanted a twist instead of an olive they fish out the olive and add the twist right in front of you and then get upset when you refuse the drink. Do they not realize that putting an olive in the martini completely changed the drink? Do they not understand that now the martini is "briny"? I like olives--as a matter of fact I truly enjoy olives--I just do not like them in my martinis as I think they over whelm the taste of the gin and vermouth.

in loving memory of Mr. Squirt (1998-2004)--

the best cat ever.

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OK, I just don't get it, what is wrong with ordering a Bloody Mary during the day on a weekend?

I think that squeat was saying they preferred people to order them during that time rather than during evening hours.

Nullo, mjr is spot on. Bloody Marys eat up behind-the-bar time like you wouldn't believe, unless you've set up beforehand specifically to produce a lot of them, which is usually done on weekend mornings at places that specialize in them, like the bar I worked in at the time. When the random orders for BMs (pardon my french) come in on a slammed evening shift (usually from people joy-riding in the city who can't think of the name of a real cocktail), it can really throw a wrench into an otherwise swingin' and profitable night.

As far as Perfect Manhattans, or Perfect Martinis for that matter, I have pretty much given up on being able to order one in any bar at all, except for a few hotel bars here in San Francisco and one excellent neighborhood bar which is fortunately near my home. I certainly wouldn't order one in a town or city I was unfamiliar with, although I hope and trust there are still places in New York City that could comply with my request.

Cheers,

Squeat

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Now to bring up another situation.....why, when ordering a martini and specifying a twist do bartenders automatically dump olives in the drink? When you point out that you wanted a twist instead of an olive they fish out the olive and add the twist right in front of you and then get upset when you refuse the drink.

If I asked for a martini with a twist, I would absolutely expect there to be no olives. And I think it would be totally fine to ask the bartender to mix another one if it came with olives in it. This is fairly dependent on the type of bar you're in, though. In bars of a certain kind it is not reasonable to expect a high level of mixological skill, so you order a martini at your own risk and take what they give you.

--

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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:

Revealing? Me? mwahahahaha...

Seriously, I don't play Stump The Bartender unless I know the person. Though finding out what a BloodBath constitutes in other Goth places is kinda fun.

And lots of the Old-Style Goths are actually fressers extraordinaire, so it's all in the line of work, shall we say. :wink::raz:

Now... real bartender story: I ordered a Bellini at a place that shall remain nameless, but which prides itself on being "The Best Bar In Town." So what came was sparkling water and peach schnapps, with a dried peach (!) in the bottom of the hurricane glass. The server said: "We're out champagne splits right now and never did have peach juice. We'll only charge you for the shot of schnapps. "

I just wanted to know where the dried peach came from...

"My tongue is smiling." - Abigail Trillin

Ruth Shulman

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As far as Perfect Manhattans, or Perfect Martinis for that matter, I have pretty much given up on being able to order one in any bar at all

And I've given up on figuring out what a Perfect Martini or Manhattan is. It seems that since perfect is an overused adjective it has foiled my technique of Googling everything I may not know. Most hits seem to lead to some guys idea of a perfect ratio for drink mixing. I stumbled upon these entries from drinksmixer.com that lead me to believe that the true meaning in Perfect Martini or Perfect Manhattan (although many websites have no qualms about capitalizing the perfect in their perfect ratio of a standard martini recipe) is that the liquor is mixed with both sweet and dry vermouth. All those perfect people putting up webpages out there are hindering my usual ability to find the signal through the noise. Thanks.

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As far as Perfect Manhattans, or Perfect Martinis for that matter, I have pretty much given up on being able to order one in any bar at all

And I've given up on figuring out what a Perfect Martini or Manhattan is.

Yep, "perfect" usually means using half sweet red vermouth and half dry white vermouth for the vermouth portion of the drink. An example of a Perfect Manhattan would be 2 oz of rye or bourbon with 1/4 oz of sweet red vermouth and 1/4 oz of dry white vermouth.

--

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I live in a very small town, and eating (or drinking!) out is always an adventure in itself. I never know what new heights of culinary mishap I will be exposed to; I thought I had topped it when I was told at the nicest restaurant in town that the chef was "too busy" to make the hollandaise for the Eggs Benedict I'd ordered. Seeing as this is the Cocktail forum, though, I'll relate the story of the Worst Margarita I've ever had.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and warm out. We'd stopped at a local bar for a quick drink before heading out to meet some friends, and I had a hankering for a margarita. Having lived and travelled in the southwest for many years, I know what a good margarita is, and I had no hope of getting one at this particular bar. Still, I was willing to settle for Cuervo and Marg Mix - it was that kind of day. I approached the bartender, and asked if he could make a margarita.

"Oh yeah!" he says. "I make a great margarita!"

My husband looked at me doubtfully, and said "I don't think this is a good idea." I poo-poo'd him, and went ahead and ordered my marg. After a moment's doubt, hubby ordered one as well.

I watch the bartender. He grabs a bottle of something I'd never seen before, which turned out to be an off-off-off brand of Tequila. I knew better than to ask for something like Patron or even Sauza in this small northern town, but Cuervo wasn't too far out of the ballpark. "Um, do you have Cuervo?"

"No, sorry." he says.

"How about El Toro?" I ask. I'd spent many a fine college night collecting the little sombreros that topped that particular brand of tequila. It wasn't good tequila, but it at least brought back good memories.

"Nope, this here is all we have." He waved the clear bottle containing a clear, flat looking liquid.

"OK" I sighed. At this point I figured the marg mix would make up for the lack of decent tequila. I knew it wouldn't be a homemade mix, but I figured at least he'd have a decent brand or two of mixers. After all, this is a college town, and college students like margaritas, right?

The bartender finishes pouring a shot or two of tequila into a couple of thickly made stemmed glasses. Then, before I could think, he grabs the soda gun and fills the glasses with... something. It was clear, and sparkling. Could it be...? No, it couldn't be.... I take the glass he offers me, and dubiously take a sip. Yup, I had just been served... Tequila and Sprite!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently switched from mixing dry sapphire martinis to perfect sapphire martinis. It happened only by necessity (I'd always had dry martinis) as one night my dry vermouth bottle was, well, nearly dry and had only half the amount needed. I put the only other vermouth I had to supplement (sweet red) and was amzed at what a deleicious drink it is.

I know I should probably use a sweet white to make this to preserve that crystal clear aesthetic so many want for a martini. However, I love the orange amber tint using the red gives the drink and it seems the prefect color for adding a twist.

As for my favorite drink, a Manhattan, I'm very tired of getting crappy ones that are all cloying vermouth and no bourbon, so I simply order it and say "four parts bourbon, one part vermouth please."

"Democracy is that system of government under which the people…pick out a Coolidge to be head of the State. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies." H. L. Mencken

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talking about manhattans...

I went into Lab (in London), the first year it opened, and ordered a Manhattan, for which I specified Makers Mark. But I was told no, as he (the bartender) insisted on making it with Canadian Club. Needless to say I hated it, but I drank it.

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We took our Czech Republic employees out Sunday evening to celebrate and toast the Summer season. One of them left to return to Prague today and the others next week.

I knew we'd be downing a few vodka shots....

We went to the club our last bar manager and his brother opened for themselves. I worked with both of these guys years ago. Their lead bartender worked for us before the club's opening and I can say that we've all been out together on the same side of the bar for a few.

I was aghast when I watched him chill the vodka and then try to serve us utilising those crappy 1 ounce pony shot glasses.

What the hell?!?!?

Sure a tequila straight up, neat -- but no way to a chilled [diluted] vodka! I really lost all respect for this bartender.

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A few years back I was at bar in Vancouver known mostly for serving beer. When I asked for a Gin & tonic the bartender looked at me like I had just landed from another planet. He made the G&T with Bombay Sapphire, which surprised me, since most of the bars use Gordon's, filled it with Tonic, threw in slice of lemon (which is how I like it) I paid the man and took my well deserved G&T back to our table. I took one sip and nearly spit it out (I would never do that good Gin though). He had made me a Gin and Soada water. Horrifying. I went back to the bar and told him of his error and he made me another drink. This time with Tonic. Or at least what he thought was tonic. No...this time it was flat sweet water. Gin and flat warm tonic is not a suggested drink.

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A few years back I was at bar in Vancouver known mostly for serving beer.  When I asked for a Gin & tonic the bartender looked at me like I had just landed from another planet.  He made the G&T with Bombay Sapphire, which surprised me, since most of the bars use Gordon's, filled it with Tonic, threw in slice of lemon (which is how I like it) I paid the man and took my well deserved G&T back to our table.  I took one sip and nearly spit it out (I would never do that good Gin though).  He had made me a Gin and Soada water.  Horrifying.  I went back to the bar and told him of his error and he made me another drink.  This time with Tonic.  Or at least what he thought was tonic.  No...this time it was flat sweet water.  Gin and flat warm tonic is not a suggested drink.

Unfortunately, tonic is one of those things that when it runs out (soda gun) you don't know until someone tells you after tasting their drink. It happens everywhere and was one of those things that I laughed about when I left Cleveland and bartended in Alaska.

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  • 5 months later...

"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!

Well, that's what bartenders do, sometimes. :P Every so often a customer will order a drink that they have no clue about what's in it, and only a vague clue of what it's supposed to taste like. And since bartenders don't enjoy looking stupid, a lot of times they'll just bullshit and hope for the best. :) This is also why sometimes there will be multiple drinks with the same name.

Granted in this situation, you called their bluff, but a lot of times things turn out differently.

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