Ask the Bartender!

I have just one question: Where’s my beer? It was just here a minute ago. C’mon fess up.

Uh, Q.E.D., if that’s intended for the OP you’re risking shortly finding yourself serving as an amusing anecdote in the “Ask A Bouncer” thread, with the potential that always carries of a guest spot in an “Ask the ER Doc” thread.

If it’s intended for the other people in thishread, I never saw what happened to your beer but White Lightning was hanging around your stool earlier. Maybe you should go ask him.

Could I get a 7&7 in a bucket?

aww c’mon someone had to…

Audrey –

This is the best of the “ask the *” threads. Lots of good questions and your candor is appreciated.

If there were an All Star list of bartenders, what would be required to make the team? Are there any legendary (Hall of Fame) bartenders?

Best regards,

“12 hours between bottle and throttle”

Soooooo, erm, uhhh…

oh never mind.


/me gets cut off and has to leave/

Let me see if I have this right…One bag cherry jolly rachers and one bottle (750 ml) of, let’s say, Absolute Vodka and let it sit for 1+ weeks. Now should this be chilled when sitting or just in the cabinet? Is there a big difference from 2 weeks to 3 weeks (if I want to plan my event in advance)? Should I use cheaper vodka in larger quantities?

This may very well replace jello shooters.

Oh, and how does the whole tip thing work when you make drinks for people not sitting at the bar (like in TGIFridays)–split between you and waitress or what?

What do you think of flair bertending? My brother’s an impressive juggler, and I keep urging him to get some equipment, learn the tricks and get a job bartending when he’s of age. But it always seemed to me that flair guys would be real jerks in their off hours–maybe that’s residual Cocktail prejudice.

uh… what is “triple-distilled vodka”? Would smirnoff’s work? would some cheap stuff work? I’m at work right now (no alcohol in Prudhoe Bay), but I plan to give this a try when I get home.

When people order non-alcoholic drinks, do you ever try to get them to drink alcohol? Do other total strangers in the joint do that? Do you tell those jerks to shut up? It happens to me all the time:

I’ll have half OJ, half cranberry juice?
And what type of booze?
1/2 OJ,half cranberry juice?
Oh, come on. Why aren’t you drinking?

If you’re going to be mixing it with jolly ranchers (!), there’s no point in using anything too good. Smirnoff’s is actually a pretty good vodka.

If you’re going to be mixing it with jolly ranchers (!), there’s no point in using anything too good. Smirnoff’s is actually a pretty good vodka.

I’ve a little luck locating Rye other than Old Overholt and Jim Beam Rye. (In the BRIGHT yellow lable) Of the two, I prefer Old Overholt. (Known to my college freinds as Old Overcoat.

Nice to see another rye drinker around.

First off, sorry I haven’t been replying as quickly as I should; I’ve been really busy at work and then when I’m at home, my roommate kept hogging the phone. :frowning: (Yes, I have oh-so-primitive dial-up.)

Radar Ralf, I will be honest; without the liquor in front of me to sample :wink: it’s difficult for me to say how I would make your Jellybean. I’ve never worked at a bar that carried Anisette, so I’m not familiar with it. (I asked around at work about it, however, and was told that it’s a licorice-type liqueur. Similar to Sambuca. True? I’d love to learn.)

And a big OH YES to the time-honored practice of tipping other bartenders exorbitantly in exchange for absurdly strong, often free drinks. This is the handshake of bartenders; we like to drink just as much as anyone else does, so we hook up other ones so they’ll hook us up later.

Funny you should mention this, b/c people ask me the prices of other bars downtown, and I have to admit I really don’t know what the “list prices” are of just about any of the bars I go to. I usually get a tab that’s under $20, regardless of what I drink. (For the record, Absolut with a splash of seven is my standard.)

Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful with the Jellybean!

I’ve never put the beer caps in a separate receptacle; I would assume this is probably for recycling in your area. And no, the bottles are not recycled, either.

And while I’ve never heard of a Hairy Buffalo, I would assume it’s one of those nasty shots you order to screw with your friends. We have one called a Cement Mixer, which is Bailey’s with Roses lime mix; the lime mix curdles the Bailey’s and it basically explodes into this horribly nasty mess in your mouth.

There’s also a Mat Shot, which is basically when you pick up the bar mats you’ve been making drinks on all night and dump whatever’s in them into a shot glass.

And while I have made Cement Mixers, I’ve never made a Mat Shot b/c I think it’s absolutely disgusting. God only knows what’s in those mats after a long night. Ugh.

There’s also a Prairie Fire, which is tequila heavily laced with Tabasco. It’s basically undrinkable and it’s what I give really annoying people who beg me for free shots.

Good question! I know that there are nationwide bartending championships, usually held in Vegas, every year. They test you on drink knowledge, speed, accuracy, and flair. (“flair” meaning bottle flipping.)

And there are a couple of bartenders–one of them is Alan Mayes (sp?) and I don’t remember the other one’s name–who get paid $10,000 a WEEK to open new bars. These guys are incredible; it’s better than the circus. My fiance has a video of them doing their act.

So I guess guys who get paid ten grand a week to flip bottles would qualify as legendary Hall Of Fame bartenders. (And if they don’t, who would?:smiley: )

Definitely do not chill the vodka; the warmth is what melts the candy and “infuses” the vodka. And the length is really up to you; the longer the vodka sits, the sweeter and more candy-infused the vodka will become. This is where buying a better grade of vodka comes in…I’m trying to reply to everybody’s questions all in a row, so pardon me but I don’t remember who asked about the quality of the vodka, and how that relates to fusion…and basically, however sweet the vodka becomes with the candy, it’s still straight vodka. A lower-grade vodka’s going to make the candy less effective b/c of the harshness of the vodka. You want a smooth vodka for the best flavor; I wouldn’t use anything cheaper than Absolut. (And if you’re throwing a party, I’d start fusioning the moment you decide on a date; it’ll just be sweeter.)

And a triple-distilled vodka is any “top shelf” vodka, like Absolut, Stoli, Grey Goose, Vox, Ketel One, etc…the more it’s refined, the smoother it tastes. Vodka is nothing but neutral grain spirits, and the best vodka has no actual flavor, other than the “bite” from the alcoholic content. The smoother the vodka, the lesser the bite…which is why using a better-grade vodka will make the fusion taste a lot better.

And as far as making drinks for people not sitting at the bar…funny you should mention TGIFriday’s, b/c I used to work there. Anyone who walks up to the bar and orders a drink is on the “bar tab,” regardless of what table they came from. Most bars won’t allow you to order a drink from the bar and add it to the tab your waitress has for you, b/c it would be far too time-consuming to find that waitress and track down that tab, etc., etc.

And most of the time when people go to the bar for a drink, it’s because their waitress didn’t get to them in time. (It’s also because some bartenders will deliberately sabotage service-bar so that they’ll get more over-the-bar patronage. So don’t always blame your waitress if your drinks are taking forever; she’s at the mercy of whoever is working service bar. Not every bartender does this, but sometimes you get a bad apple.)

And if you’re talking about drinks that I make for the waitstaff, for their tables, they are required to tip me out one percent of their sales. They sell $800 total, I get eight bucks. (Some places do it on a larger percentage of alcohol-only sales, but it usually balances out to about the same amount.)

I think flair bartending is an excellent way to make money and build a clientele, but only in the right atmosphere. My fiance used to be head-bartender at a Friday’s, and he taught all of the barstaff how to flair…and it takes a lot of your own personal time at home, with duct-taped liquor bottles, in order to learn to flair in any worthwhile manner. Trust me. You have to really want to learn how, and be willing to dedicate your off hours to it, in order to get anywhere.

I think just one bartender who knows how to flair looks like a hot-dogger; if the whole barstaff isn’t into it, I don’t think it works. And a lot of bars don’t like flairing because of the risk, the breakage, etc…so a lot of them don’t allow it.

I don’t flair myself; I work in a bar that’s not keen on it, and frankly I never wanted to devote that much of my time to it…but I do think it’s very cool in the right atmosphere.

And no, not all flairing bartenders are Cocktail-style a**holes. :smiley: Although the ego of the average male bartender is pretty big to begin with, so don’t think it’s reserved just for those who can flair.

I never try to talk anybody into drinking. That’s against the law in Texas; I’m not even allowed to wear liquor or beer logos–shirts, hats, stickers, etc.–for this reason. It’s considered “promotion of consumption.”:rolleyes: Like I’m not working a bar, or something.

If you came to my bar and ordered fruit juice or a soda, chances are I wouldn’t even charge you for it; according to TABC, the “desginated driver” is not supposed to pay for their nonalcoholic beverage. To encourage this sort of thing.

But yes, other people will rag on someone who’s drinking juice or a soda; usually it’s that person’s friends. Unless the person mocking the non-drinker doesn’t know them, I don’t say anything. I don’t pick peoples’ friends. :smiley:

I’ve also made nonalcoholic drinks and shots for people who don’t want to be “party poopers” but don’t want a drink. So I’ll make something that looks alcoholic and pour it in a shot glass or whatever, and that way everybody’s happy.

Strippers, btw, are particularly keen on this; on their nights off they come in with one of their “big spending” customers, who hope to get the stripper wasted so they can get lucky…and I’ll make them “shots” and “drinks” all night long, and ring 'em up full price. (They also do this while they’re working, if someone wants to buy them a drink. More often than not, the “drink” you buy a stripper’s got nothing in it.)

Strippers are fabulous, incredible tippers. Whatever it takes to make 'em happy.:stuck_out_tongue:

Wolf Shield, I’m gonna be honest. I’ve never had anybody order “rye,” but I do know it’s a type of whiskey. :smiley: We don’t carry any rye where I work, so unfortunately you wouldn’t get anything at all at my bar, but at least I know–kind of!–what you’re talking about.

And yes, to continue with the honesty, a Gibson is what I call an “old classic” that hardly anyone orders anymore; some bars don’t even carry the onions for them. A Gibson is like an Old Fashioned, or a Rob Roy…every bartender should know what they are, but they are ordered so seldom anymore that a lot don’t. I can count on my fingers how many times I’ve made each of them.

Same thing with your Mint Julep, Mrsface. I’ve never made one, b/c no one’s ever ordered it, but I think it calls for creme de menthe–a thick, minty liqueur that’s frankly nasty–and cream, I believe, with fresh mint leaves as a garnish. I could be wrong, though; this is anecdotal because no one’s ever ordered one from me, and I have a hard time remembering drinks I’ve never made. (And on some days, I have a hard time remembering drinks I have..)

Since it’s an old Southern drink, there’s probably bourbon in it somewhere, though. :smiley: I’ll ask around at work. (My boss is an old-school bartender who knows all kinds of old drinks I’ve never made.)

Audrey: Yes, ma’am, anisette is a licorice-flavored liquer. You could use any of the licorice-flavored offerings, or get yourself some triple-distilled vodka and a couple of bags of Good ‘n’ Plenty candy… sorry, I couldn’t resist…