My husband and I were driving through town the other day, and we passed a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called “Ham’s.” He said, “Remember you got mad at the bartender there? What’d she do wrong again?”
I had just an inkling of a memory, as so often is the case.
I vaguely remembered having to tell her how to make an Irish coffee. Their drink list said it contained Irish whiskey and spiced rum. I wanted to make sure that I was getting a full shot of each liquor, and that she wasn’t just pouring a little of each, for flavor. I wanted the Bailey’s on the side. (So often they skimp on the Bailey’s!) Also, I wanted a very small amount of coffee, because some bartenders give you a huge cup of coffee, which dilutes the liquor and is not good for you. (Too much caffeine.)
My little bit of bartending knowledge was a dangerous thing.
The bartender then said loudly to the other bartender, and to the whole restaurant: “She wants two full shots in her coffee and another shot on the side! She would up-charge her?”
No discretion. Whatever happened to bartenders who took orders and delivered them without comment?
When she finally got my drink together, she said loudly, “That drink is burning the hairs of my nose! It would knock me flat. Better not light a match! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
Needless to say, we never went back there, unless every other bar in town was closed. (Somehow this place stayed open late, even when we were under travel advisories, like tornados or snow storms.)
My husband and I laughed about that absurd scene, and then went on to other bartenders and wait staff that had failed to meet my very high expectations.
Actually, my expectations weren’t all that high. All I just wanted strong drinks delivered fast. Is that too much to ask?
You who are still lingering in the wine and beer category of drinking can’t relate to this, but I’m telling you, once you throw a leg over that wobbly fence to liquor, you’ll want to get your money’s worth.
Here’s another scene we thought was funny: At a nice restaurant in the city, I asked the bartender for a diet coke and rum in a short glass. He delivered a diet coke and rum in a large glass. That meant that I would have to drink that whole diet coke for just one shot of rum. All that caffeine, right before bedtime, and no liquor to balance it out. How was I supposed to sleep?
“I wanted a short glass,” I told him, handing back the drink. (I often found my ability to speak up strengthened with a drink, and I’m sure I’d had one before I got to the bar.)
He stared at me, so I pointed helpfully to the short glass that my husband had. He raised an eyebrow, but then POURED HALF OF THE DRINK I’D GIVEN HIM INTO A SHORT GLASS! That meant I was getting half a shot! Did he not understand that he had just halved the liquor in the drink? DID HE NOT GET IT ?!!
My husband, sensing a scene of some type, came to my rescue by saying, “She wants a full shot of rum in a small amount of coke. In fact, why don’t you just make it a double.”
Something clicked for the bartender, and he gave me a quick once over. He hadn’t pegged me as a serious drinker, what with my delicate features and pink cardigan. (Joking here: I actually had a puffy face and watery eyes. Signs that a good bartender would have recognized.)
And that’s just two fun drinking stories! There are so many more, even though I’ve only lived in this state for a short time.
Odd, but I have no new stories. Not since I stopped drinking. The service around here has improved dramatically. They are so much better at serving decaf coffee and creme brûlée.