The grandiloquent era of mixology that takes itself too seriously may be on the decline, if today’s rant-centric Post article on fascist bartenders is any indication. Consider the guy at Prime Meats who refused to pour a nice vodka martini for a paying customer by insisting that the restaurant had only “low-grade” stuff. Or the brisk Tanqueray-and-soda shutdown one guy got at Apothéke. There’s the Coca-Cola- and vodka-free zone that is Death & Co. (Coke wrecks the palete, says Phil Ward), and the lack of mojitos and amaretto sours at Smith & Mills, where one customer’s late father was turned down because the “mixologist didn’t deign to work with the almond liqueur.” Are we headed for a future where bartenders are more annoying than chefs, and, more important, what does a girl need to do to get a drink around here? Here are some ways around “snotty” bartenders.
• It’s well-established at this point that no bartender on earth likes making mojitos. If he or she tells you they have no mint, give thanks you are in New York — so go get some at any of the 4,500 places that sell the green stuff, and bring it back.
• If you order a martini made with “a nice vodka” and are told that no such thing is in stock, well, welcome to 2007: Vodka’s been the most maligned member of the speed rack for some time now. The good news is that it essentially has no flavor, so just ask for the most neutral spirit behind the bar. Every fancy bar that eschews vodka will carry moonshine or, better yet, so-called “white” whiskey, which is essentially an unaged neutral spirit. You probably won’t taste the difference, maybe because you’ll be drunk.
• Know your bartender. It can go two ways: Show the bartender some respect, and ask questions. Having a real conversation with someone about drinks shouldn’t be that hard to do with anyone who takes their job seriously. Alternatively, you can use some variation on these Jedi mind tricks to get that guava cosmo you really wanted.
• Goes with the above: Tip early and often over repeat visits — it doesn’t have to be a preposterous amount. Just let the bartender know you’re committed.
• If denied your beloved razz-tini, why not give yourself a shot of figurative penicillin with a penicillin cocktail? You can get a decent drink pretty much anywhere in the city at this point, so when all else fails, try something new. That’s the whole point of living, anyhow. Consider the words of Kevin Kelly, channeling the immortal words of Timothy Leary:
You are only as young as the last time you changed your mind, and the easiest way to change your mind is to eat a food you’ve never eaten before. the more improbable the food, the wider your horizon will be stretched.
Thankfully, this maxim applies all the more to cocktails, even if they do destroy brain cells.