Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'll have a vodka martini. Hold the ironic mustache.

Bar experience.  Early spring, 2012.

Me: I'd like a Kettle martini, dry.  Shaken hard.
Bartender, begins shaking his head in disapproval.
Me:  Is there something wrong with my order?
Bartender:  Well, you really shouldn't shake your cocktails.  It adds an effervescence that takes away from the integrity of the spirit.  And if you're having a martini, you should really have gin.
Me:  Thanks for the tip, but I want a vat of cold vodka.  And shake the shit out of it, please.

For the love of Christ and everything holy, I never go out.  On this particular night, I actually made it out to meet a friend for a drink.  This is the first interaction that took place.  Man, was it annoying.  I couldn't say all of the things I wanted to, because the friend I was with has an innate need to be liked. I totally don't have that. Even though this bartender was a complete douche, he spent the rest of the evening trying to charm a smile out of the guy - and tipped him 30%.

Yes, I am writing about booze today.  It may be because I have been on this cleanse for 10 days.  Or it may be because I read an article about New York City's artisanal cocktail culture this morning.  The article was a little annoying, and reminded me of the above interaction.  Everywhere you go in New York, your bartender is a "mixologist" with a curly mustache and suspenders.  There are 400 ingredients in your cocktail that all have to be hand mulled - by a man, of course, because this is prohibition New York that we are trying to emulate - and women didn't work in bars back then.  Gross.  I hope this fad passes soon.


Anyway, since my friend wouldn't let me speak that night, I decided to write a letter that I will never send to Mr. Bartender Douchebag Extraordinaire.

Dear Bartender Douchebag Extraordinaire,

I realize your establishment has brainwashed you into taking your job way to seriously, and that is not your fault.  What is your fault, is annoying the fuck out of me on my only night out in months.

I held up my end of the deal.  I was respectful.  I smiled.  I sat down and told you exactly what I wanted.  And you proceeded to try and convince - nay, shame me into thinking it wasn't.  I love gin.  It's great.  I am aware that there are bars that don't even stock vodka because they consider it to be a substandard spirit.  Yours is not one of them, evidenced by the fact that you had five different varieties of it on your shelves.

Have you heard of James Bond?  He's just about the coolest fictional character of all time.  Guess what he drinks?  A vodka martini - shaken, not stirred.  So there.

But back to you and the way that you are doing your job.  When you don't smile, you are really doing the curly mustache you sport a disservice, because I imagine it would be showcased in all of it's glory if it was in motion.  Smiling at a person is a very easy way to make them feel welcome.  Apparently you are unaware that you are in the hospitality business, and that very word means a friendly and generous reception.  

Your stone-faced demeanor and your attempt to change my order - made sitting at your bar a giant bummer.  You look like you are about 26.  Do you know what that means?  It means I have been bartending since you were eight years old.  That depressing fact means that I might know what I want to drink.  Also, you can't shake effervescence into something.  You just can't.  And cold martinis are delicious, and water is an integral part of a cocktail.  But even if you believe that I am ordering a sub-standard spirit, made wrong, and served too cold - nobody cares.  You aren't paying for it.

Yours truly,
Bitter Old Bartender From a Bygone Generation

read to be read at


  1. Ugh... don't worry. I'm sure he eventually smiled while riding his ridiculous, old timey bike home, the wind slightly twitching the tips of his over-waxed mustache as onlookers basked in the glow of his awesome irony.

    Was this him? (

  2. First of all, I love the comment above.
    Second of all, been there, hate that.


  3. Nice! he can shut the hell up.
    I live in Portland where I think the term mixologist was coined. If you need to see food and alcohol (among other things) taken way too seriously watch Portlandia :)

    1. I know it's overused, but "Put a Bird on it" is my favorite phrase ever now to refer to stupid snobby crap. I live in Atlanta so we have a lot of it... lol

  4. Oh. My. Gawd. I hate people like that with a burning passion. I was a bartender in several restaurants in Decatur, booze capitol of Atlanta, and we shook the hell out of our cocktails. If that glass didn't come out frosty, nobody wanted it! Also, if you want "effervescence" then put some effing vermouth in the glass before you pour. Oh, wait, most people HATE vermouth. Nevermind...

  5. I'm not allowed to drink clear liquor because of a few unfortunate stip club evictions (this happens when most of your friends are guys you deployed with,) but I will defend to the death your right to drink it however the hell you want!

  6. Umm... This is awesome and I love you. I think you should just go ahead and send the hipster doofus (sp?) the letter.