Mindful Bartending: Fulfilling Your Guests’ Desires
Fulfilling Your Guests’ Desires
“An efficient bartender’s first aim should be to please his customers, paying particular attention to meet the individual wishes of those whose tastes and desires he has already watched and ascertained; and, with those whose peculiarities he has had no opportunity of learning, he should politely inquire how they wish their beverages served, and use his best judgment in endeavoring to fulfill their desires to their entire satisfaction. In this way he will not fail to acquire popularity and success.” The Bar-Tender’s Guide or How to Mix all Kinds of Plain and Fancy Drinks by Jerry Thomas, 1887.
gaz sez A few years ago I went to a new-ish cocktail bar that sported a fabulous cocktail list, and I sat across from a very well-respected bartender who I’ve known for a few years (no, it wasn’t the wonderful Jenn Tosatto pictured on this page). I didn’t order my usual Negroni or a Manhattan with lotsa bitters, but instead I chose another strong whiskey-based drink from the menu. I’d never tried this cocktail, and as far as I was concerned it was fabulous.
The bartender then asked if he could make me a drink that he’d created that he thought I’d enjoy, and of course I said yes. That drink was fabulous, too, but it wasn’t the sort of thing I’d ever in my life order. Too much citrus for me, far too sweet for my tastes, and there wasn’t enough spirit in the drink to make its presence known. The bartender wasn’t being mindful of my tastes.
Conversely, I visited Nitecap, the new bar in Manhattan owned by Dave Kaplan and Alex Day, right after it opened in 2014, and Dominic Venegas (pictured at left) happened to be behind the stick that night. I told him that Manhattans and Negronis were my two favorite drinks, and asked him to make me something that might suit me taste. Blond Ambition was the resultant cocktail. The drink was created by Alex Day, and this mixture of chamomile-infused cognac. Bourbon, Yellow Chartreuse, and sweet vermouth pushed my buttons so very well. Congrats, then, go to Alex Day for creating this fabulous cocktail, and to Dominic Venegas for knowing how to fulfill his guests’ desires
Excerpted from The Cocktails in the Country Bartender Manual, 2015
by gaz regan
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