Thursday, March 12, 2015


I recently went to a new watering hole, all warm low-lighting and fancy bar menu designed by someone with interesting eyewear and a penchant for Copperplate. The drinks, with the clever names you’d expect from a hipster bar that requires a secret handshake to enter, were made out of exotic ingredients. My pal and I were parched so we just ordered up two Tanqueray & tonics.

No Tanqueray.

No problem. I can roll with a locally distilled and hand-crafted gin.

Minutes ticked by. The thirst mounted.

Finally, our server appeared with a pair of ginger-colored cocktails gleaming in their old-fashioned glasses. “Good news! We have this amazing tonic; it’s made from Peruvian tree bark.”

My face became the visual version of a needle scratching a record. Peruvian tree bark in my gin & tonic. That explained the tea-stained color.

Again, I’d like to think I’m open minded. But hell if it didn’t taste vaguely like cinnamon-laced apple. And it was as flat as Keira Knightley’s chest.

Needless to say, I sent that drink back to South America and gave my best stinkeye to the bartender. Excuse me, mixologist.

Hand-crafted bitters infused with rare herbs. Schnapps produced in a tiny Alpine hamlet only during avalanche season. Drink names that combine the mixologist’s last vacation destination with a weather phenomenon or natural disaster. No, I do not want a Cabo San Tsunami, Amsterdammit! What’s next? Vodka made from Brussels sprouts?

Mixologists are easy to spot. Their plumage comes in the form of a natty vest and they all vaguely resemble Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They have an extensive knowledge of Absinthe and the ruined men who loved her, are judgmental of anyone else’s cocktail-crafting abilities, and rejoice in taking half an hour to make a Ramos gin fizz (which, admittedly, is delicious).

While they follow spirits trends, they pride themselves on being an exhaustive repository on all things boozy. If you want the backstory on that 15-year-old Calvados, the mixologist is your man. But if you want a drink without a side of “I know better; let me make you a new and improved cocktail,” head to your closest dive bar. You can get pissed drunk instead of pissed off.



Anonymous said...

Agreed! Brings to mind trying to grab a drink before a show last winter; specifically a hot toddy. the gyrations our mixologist went through to make this was ridiculous! We were the only ones there and we watched him spend the better part of 10 minutes transferring liquids between different vessels. After all that, it really wasn't very hot, or good.

Unknown said...

"as flat as Keira Knightley's chest". Just throw a man-bun and the word "bespoke" in here and you've covered everything that makes my cranky.

Unknown said...
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