Thursday, September 18, 2008

With the Upcoming Bash...

So at last count, I was dragging Kat and VinNay down to The Bash with me next week (I should really book a hotel room... damned lazy me). Arriving on Friday, sometime in the late afternoon/early evening with luck. Anyone else want to hitch a ride?

So, with the thousands of people who will be in the bar on Saturday night, I got to thinking back.

For one school year, I tended bar at the student pub. This was hardly a demanding task as it was only open Friday or during event weeks, and involved pouring copious amounts of beer for Engineering students. The non-beer behind the bar consisted of some limited supply - vodka, rum, peach schnapps, blue curaƧao (that's a SOFT "c", it's not curakao), maybe gin, rye, amaretto, tequila, and some mixes. Basically what you need for the standard University student to get drunk on or do a few shots.

But Engineers are voracious drinkers, especially on a Friday after putting 30-60 hours of class and lab time in, and a weekend that looks like it'll be spent in a lab or buried in a text book. So we'd have 2 or 3 bartenders avoiding one another behind the small bar, the manager getting more ice and hoping the new keg settled enough, and general mayhem for a few hours. You got good at filling multiple cups simulataneously, and estimating a "shot" based on how well you knew the person ordering (or how cute they were).

Now when it comes to drinks, I love nothing more than being asked to "surprise me" at a party, or my place, or even during the rare slow times at the bar. Other bartenders I knew back in the day also got a wicked gleam in their eyes when those words were spoken... with a caveat - that they weren't completely swamped with a million other orders.

When a bar is running full steam, you can barely hear, and you've got people impatiently wanting to add their drinks to the already growing list you have in your head. Beer is easy and done quickly. Basic drinks comes next - a screwdriver, a vodka and cranberry, rum and coke, rye and ginger - the ones that have 2 ingredients and often describe themselves. Real martinis aren't terrible, since they're generally one booze, a hint of vermouth, and some accoutrement. After that though? It starts getting ugly with the shaking and the stirring and the 3 mixes and 5 alcohols and 14 fruits. Sure, an Old Fashioned sounds classy, but would YOU want to muddle fruit with hundreds of screaming drunks in your face?

So, knowing that there will be millions in attendance at The Bash on Saturday night, do the bartenders a favour - don't ask for "this pink drink I had once, but I don't know what was in it... maybe passion fruit or something?", or that drink that has-a-long-name-that-you-have-a-hard-time-remembering-when-you're-drunk, or "surprise me" (although I imagine any pros out there have a mental list of "surprises" that can be thrown together - Paralyzer anyone?). Keep it simple for the poor boozemongers - beers, SoCo, shots everyone knows, [booze] and [mix] names. And if you absolutely HAVE to have a "sloe sour southern screw against the wall on the beach with satin pillows and a kiss the hard way in Manhattan" while a million people are yelling drink orders, make sure you tip the tender at LEAST the price of the drink itself, and do so before you even order. Remember, we're Al's friends, and want to be invited back next year.


BamBam said...

An excellent point good sir!

For myself, it should be rather easily handled though. By the middle of my visit just a few short months ago, the bottle was pouring and the tap had been pulled, before even I knew I needed another round.

Gotta' love the "real" pro's!
See you soon.

Anonymous said...

"Can I get a sloe sour southern screw against the wall on the beach with satin pillows and a... ah fug it, give me a Coors Light"