Friday, January 21, 2011


Playboy's New Host & Bar Book's author Thomas Mario is so eloquent. Check this out: "Given a choice selection of spirits, fresh and flavorful mixing ingredients, and attractive glassware, the host at home is still several steps away from the professional bartender's finesse, an art that is public property for every drinker astride a barstool to behold. It looks deceptively easy, especially to the eye that is mellowed by two or three dry martinis. But there are skills, tricks of the trade, and tips in creating and serving drinks-icemanship, mixing, stirring, garnishing and others- which can be briefly explained the same way that a golf pro on the golf course can." What a great analogy! Barmanship takes talent and practice.

I feel I must rant for a moment. I am totally sick of the snotty ass bartender or mixologist or bar chef or whatever  that scorns people paying good money for a drink that doesn't fit into the motif of the bar. Seriously! These "undereducated" bar clients pay the bills. Some people don't want to wait 20 minutes for a complicated drink. Sometimes a drink is a drink. Any bartenders feeling the urge to turn up your nose at your guest just think about what you want when you get off work. PBR and a shot of Jameson's sound familiar?

Back to Barmanship. Be prepared when entertaining at home. Get all of your ingredients together in one spot. Don't get too complicated when entertaining if you aren't comfortable behind a bar. Remember when entertaining at home the best host is a relaxed host. Freaking out because you have misguidedly planned a mojito party for 50 and didn't hire a bartender to help you is not good. Keep it simple.

Bartender story: In the early 2000's I worked at a martini and jazz night club. Even the hookers had business cards. Anyway, my friend Frank, who is also an excellent golfer, is tending bar in the back room. Frank has a cult following. Fresh drinks are constant as is the conversation. I don't think a lady has ever lit her own cigarette at Franks bar. I was cocktailing the vip room next to his bar and happened to be in earshot for this interaction. A woman obviously drunk, obviously unpracticed in the social graces of a bar had been running back and forth getting apple martinis (hot at the time) for herself and her friends. One at a time. Each time interrupting another bar guest, stepping in front of them etc. The bar is 3 deep. Finally as the woman shoves her way in and demands a glass of water. Frank had enough. He fills the glass with ice, sets it on a fresh cocktail napkin and says in his New York accent and gravelly voice. "It'll be ready in 20 minutes." If I would have said this to anyone It would have gone terribly wrong. Bewildered this woman giggled, set down a cash tip, and took her ice. Ahhh charisma. The real bartenders have it in spades. Give me a barman who is attentive and funny and I am a happy girl. Creativity is awesome but not when the barman never looks up from the muddler to connect.

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