Saturday, December 15, 2012

YOU ARE WHAT YOU DRINK (By Guest Blogger D, The Bartender's Bartender)

            Okay, it’s time again for another appearance by our infamous Guest Bartender D., The Bartender’s Bartender. As some of you know, D. has been a beloved bartender from our posse’s favorite, and now sadly shuttered for good, best dives to crawl out of Williamsburg, Brookyn: The Subway Bar and Cyn Lounge.
            D., battered and bruised, rising from the ashes of these two fine establishments, now has returned with a wonderful contribution to The Bartender Knows, You Are What You Drink. I have often wondered what it said about me that I preferred Well Whiskey and Budweiser as my choice intoxicants. I no doubt believe D. has her opinions. And, being my bartender (and knows roughly 67% about the truth of who I am and never fails to remind me of this fact) has seen me in my best and embarrassingly worst. This kind of intimacy is frightening, and slightly unfair. Unlike marriage, I don’t get any home-cooking, strange birthday sex requests, or a cuddling partner, I only receive the troubling scrutiny any bad husband would.
            D’s real name is Diane, and yes she still bartends in the neighborhood, but it’s up to y’all to find out where. I’ll give you a hint: craft beer and top shelf whiskey.
            Good luck in Williamsburg with that clue, dude!
            But if you find her, you will not be displeased: Hot, girl-next-door looks, always friendly, endlessly patient, and a waterfall of sarcasm, you couldn’t ask for a better bartender.
            But back to the immortal question?
            What does alcohol say about us?
            The bar is now open.            

            “Hey? What ya havin’?” I ask you when you walk in.
             I wonder if people realize how much their drink choice says about them. And that the bartender has already judged people by what they have just ordered. I mean, we categorize everyone the second they walk in the bar (sizing people up is an innate skill for service people. And 99% of the time, the initial assessment proves to be correct in the end).
            But you are what you drink, so let’s see what your drink choice says about you!

            VODKA SODA

            You are a 22 year old girl who just walked in the bar with 5 other 22 year old girls.
            It’s probably somebody’s birthday.
            You spent 3 hours getting ready to go out.
            You’re oddly dressed up for the shitty Irish dive bar you’ve found yourself in. And if you’ve somehow ended up in Brooklyn because one of your friends just moved to Williamsburg from Murray Hill, you look around bewildered like a deer in headlights, but pretending you are totally comfortable. Sort of looks like a rich kid looking for an apartment in a bad neighborhood.
            You come up to the bar and ask for a vodka soda which comes out as ‘vakkasodaaaa’, as in “lemmegettavakkasodaaaa”.
            Ugh. Then I inevitably ask, “What kind of VODKA would you like?”
            Blank stare.
            Ok fancy little lady. Shitty well vodka for you then.
            She’ll then order 5 more, one at a time. This is so frustrating.  
            People- please order all drinks at once. The bartender hates what could’ve been done in one motion will now takes five trips back and forth.
            This girl will leave a bad tip even though it’s her parent’s credit card. (She never has cash).
            Now, I know some people drink vodka sodas because they are lowest in calories and if you are watching your weight, I understand. Just know that this drink puts you in that category.
            If you are a 45 year old man and not a 22 year old girl drinking vodka sodas I am going to think you are a total weirdo.
            Drink a beer or a whiskey. Man up, dude.
            As for our gaggle of young ladies, they will continue drinking vodka sodas until they meet that special douchebag who works in finance and then get married and have babies and get fat and not care about drinking low caloric cocktails and switch to drinking wine all day with their equally rich miserable friends. 

            The common equalizer among us all.
            Everyone at one time or another is a beer drinker.
            My favorite beer drinkers are daytime lunch-break construction workers who will have 15 Budweiser’s before returning to work on whatever high rise or bridge they were working on.      
            They tip well, have great stories, and are usually local neighborhood guys or from Long Island and probably know my Uncle Jimmy.
            Nothing makes a slow afternoon shift fly by then a group of these guys. They put a pile of twenties on the bar and leave it up to me to do the math.
            This is a class move, as stated in a previous The Bartender Knows blog (bartender secrets pt. 1).
            On the other end of the beer lover’s spectrum lie the craft beer drinkers.
            Beer nerds!
            They like microbrews and know all about hops and yeast and other obscure beer shit, but it’s cool because they love beer, so they’re passionate about it. And they drink beer with 10% alcohol which is no joke. These guys are serious for beer.
            As for me, I want a beer in the summertime. A nice cold Budweiser. I want a beer at a barbecue or the beach or when I’ve had too much whiskey but don’t want to stop drinking.
            I want a forty on a stoop in a brown paper bag. There’s times when all you want is a beer. And so beer drinkers are alright by me. 

            I would like to describe the Hennessy drinker without stereotyping in general.
            But fuck it.
            If I am going to stereotypes 22 year old white girls and 50 year old blue collar dudes, I’m coming for you Hennessy drinker.
            This guy is a black dude, wearing lots of diamonds. He always pays cash. He has a wad of twenties in his pocket. He rolls deep with at least 5 other guys. He orders for everyone (usually at once—thanks for that Hennessy dude).
            If you don’t have Hennessy, he doesn’t want whatever your substitute cognac is. He doesn’t want Remy or Courvoisier. He likes name brands and is loyal to Hennessy. If you don’t have it, he will switch to Grey Goose or Patron.
            Whatever’s top shelf.
            Never whiskey.
            Maybe Jack. But that’s rare.
            Typically he does not wait patiently for service and will wave me down from across the bar despite how busy I clearly am. Usually he won’t tip. Like Europeans, many thug dudes pretend they don’t know about tipping or don’t see the point.
            But he’s putting far more money in the bar register with one round of Henny than six rounds of the hipster beer/shot combo, so for the sake of business, I accept that the bar is getting rich off this guy while I am not.
            So it goes. 

            Whisky drinkers are my all time favorite people.
            I may be biased because I myself am a whiskey drinker.
            What sets apart the whiskey drinker from the beer drinker or the other hard alcohols is that drinking whiskey is a skill one must learn. No one likes whiskey the first time they drink it.
            I remember the day I chose I be a whiskey drinker. I was 21 and had just moved to Brooklyn with my boyfriend. I felt like a grown up. I wanted to drink a grown up drink.
            I said to myself, you are going to learn to drink whiskey until you like it. And that, dear reader’s, is what I did.
            Jack Daniels.
            My first whiskey boyfriend.
            It was tough at first.
            Burned going down.
            My drinking coach (my Uncle Jimmy who exclusively drinks Dewars rock, pronounced “Dewahs”) told me, take a sip and as it goes down, breathe out.
            The burning stopped and I slowly started to LOVE the taste of whiskey. I also learned that Jack Daniels makes me, and most people I know, belligerent as a motherfucker.
            I switched to nice smooth Irish Jameson. My point is: Loving whiskey is for life.   Whiskey people don’t later become Vodka or Tequila people. We are married to that brown bottle forever, ‘till death do us part (maybe from cirrhosis).
            So when you saddle up to my bar and ask for a Jameson rocks or a Maker’s neat or a Manhattan up or whatever, just know I love you.
            I do.
            I just love you.
            Unless you order well whiskey. Then I know you’re cheap. But I still love you. Especially if you’re drinking a beer/whiskey shot combo. I mean, that’s just economical and times are tough.
            I understand.
            Love you anyway.

            Let’s give it up for Diane, The Bartender’s Bartender! And yes D, I am that cheap. But I’m rich in love, my dear. And sometimes in words.
            ‘Till next time! 





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