23 August 2006

No, I Don't Want a Mojito

The New York Post, in an Aug. 23 article, claims bartenders at many of Manhattan's high end bars don't know their cocktail ABCs. True enough! In the city which has a drink named for every borough except Staten Island, every other barkeep is as dumb as a post, unable to properly mix such basic staples as the Manhattan, Magarita, Martini and Gibson.

Still fired up by my recent visit to New Orleans, where they know how to make a proper drink, I recently bellied up to a well known bar in Midtown and asked for a Sazerac. I knew this would be a tall order, but I didn't expect the ditz behind the bar to say "What?" exactly. I explained it involves Rye, Herbsaint and Peychaud's Bitters. Again, she said "What?" OK, now I know that your average stiff isn't familiar with Herbsaint and Peychaud's Bitters, both New Orleans products not always seen behind New York bars. But Rye? How could you not know about Rye?

Reminds me of the story my friend Bill, a Broadway bartender, told of watching a young pup next to him at the bar take an order for Rye and start pouring a Bourbon. "What're you doing?" he asked. "It's the same thing," argued the pup. Said Bill: "Not to the Rye drinkers!"

Are chefs hired if they don't know how to cook? Then who's hiring these would-be actors who only know how to make screwdrivers, Cape Cods and Cosmos and other drinks they've seen on TV? No wonder every Sidecar I order tastes like processed lemon juice.

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