Jameson's Whiskey Hand Signals

I was at a bar on Saturday and I met a very charming drunk who, when I offered him a drink, instructed me to perform an elaborate hand signal to our waitress. I did my best to imitate his complicated maneuvering and the waitress responded, “Two shots of Jameson’s?” Which was, in fact, the drink that the drunk and I had decided upon. The gesturing consisted of touching the forehead, nose, cheek, and chin in some very specific order and then finishing by holding up the same amount of fingers as how many shots you would like. Is anybody else aware of this ritual, its origins, and what the actual pattern of gestures is?

I remember Alistair Cooke telling a similar story on Letter from America a few years ago (possibly duriung the Clinton/Dole election compaign). In this case the drink was something called “bourbon and branch” and the location was a small-town bar somewhere in the deep South.

It transpired that the drunk was a regular at the bar, the waitress knew what his usual drink was, and that he would always insist on his companion having the same. The hand gesture was just a joke between the drunk and the waitress at Cooke’s expense.

31 minutes.

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