What’s your poison? (Please say beer. Please say beer.)

Toby thinks it’s entirely too funny that I have to tend bar tomorrow and I have no idea how to pour anything but a beer, a vodka orange, and a glass of wine.

My experience in bartending took place in sunny Manchester, England over 10 years ago. While I attended a class on how to hand-pull a pint of beer, I never made more than one mixed drink while I worked there. The drink I did mix was a simple vodka orange and I served it to none other than Richard Ashcroft of the Verve. (Who, at that point in time, I was obsessed with in that Nicole Kidman sort of way.)

Serving booze in Manchester was really simple. First of all, no one really ordered it. Manchunians liked their beer, snakebite, snakebite and black, and black and tan. If someone did order a shot of booze, the government made it impossible to screw up (at least where I worked). Every bottle was hung upside down behind the bar. There were plastic serving nozzles attached to each bottle neck. When someone ordered a shot, you took the glass, put it beneath the plastic server and then lightly pushed the glass upward. The regulated amount of booze dropped into the glass below. And it cost a bloody fortune, which is probably why no one really ordered it.

I think I served a few ignorant American tourists shots of Jagermeister and maybe one or two shots of vodka in all the time I worked there. It just didn’t happen very often.

Last night, while we were seeing Gerry into 34, Toby kept quizzing me on drinks.

Manhattan!

Ummmm, Makers and a cherry?

You’re so dead. Margarita? How about a Cosmo? You know how to make a Cosmo, right?

I don’t want to play this game any longer.

You’re dead.

I can hand pull a wicked pint of beer, but I haven’t the slightest idea what goes into a Fuzzy Navel.

What’s your poison?

25 Comments

  1. Ever the anal chef, I had mapped out my xmas morning in 15 minute intervals and written down a complete schedule for preparing the feast, beginning at 8:30 with “Dice mire poix, pour bloody mary.” I loves me a good bloody mary with absolute pepper vodka. yum. But only when I’m cooking. If I’m enjoying cocktails I like scotch or wine.

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  2. I’m easy like Sunday morning. Beer. Or Makers. Or wine.

    Also, happy birthday Gerry!

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  3. A very dirty vodka martini with extra olives, please. I also like Pineapple and malibu, which is a little easier, since the name is exactly what’s in it.

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  4. I’m a black velvet or guinness sort of girl. In a pinch, a snakebite, or, if the bartender looks like they couldn’t pull a pint with their eyes open, a tom collins, which my favourite bartender gets really excited about. He does the ‘this is a fun drink to make’ dance. Too cute.

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  5. You fine folks should define said drinks as well. I’ll use this as my cheat sheet. :]

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  6. Dirty Vodka martini
    2 oz vodka, 1/4 oz Vermouth (if I make my own I add more, but I think most people like their martinis with less vermouth), and 1/2 oz of olive juice.

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  7. I have two poisons:

    Growing up in the Dakotas, we drank our beer with tomato juice in it. I also add green olives and salt. This is SO SO SO good, and I crave it frequently.

    My liquor drink of choice is Lime Vodka mixed with Sour or Squirt. I can never taste the booze, which explains why I am always HAMMERED whenever I drink a few of these (a few being 6-7?) I’ve even puked from these bad boys, but I love them so much I’ve kept going back.

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  8. Tomato juice? You don’t say! What kind of beer? Dark beer? That’s so interesting and new to me.

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  9. i remember when my mom had her bar, and there was always this old guy who came in and put tomato juice in his beer. we’d all stare at him.

    i don’t drink enough anymore to have a drink.:/ probably guinness. i am a fan of fruity drinks. there is a bar here that serves purple hurricanes with lots of fruit in them, that i sometimes crave. i am so embaressed by this.

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  10. There isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. Unless, of course, you frequent the Jagermeister. Then, I might silently judge you, but in the kindest way possible.

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  11. but I haven’t the slightest idea what goes into a Fuzzy Navel.

    Um… lint?

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  12. Speaking of fuzzy navel’s. I am currently making a pillow with what I take from Toby’s every night. Remember this the next time you stay with us and you lay your head down when we finally settle it for the night.

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  13. black velvet: half-pint Guinness, half-pint strongbow.

    snakebite: half-pint lager (Bass, Harp), half-pint Guinness.

    Tom Collins: 1 shot gin, Sour mix + Ice, shake. Add splash of soda water, garnish with a cherry and orange slice.

    Enjoy!

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  14. now, I’m totally singing that song from the early 90s. Damn.

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  15. If anyone orders that while I’m working I expect to be sung to.
    “Black velvet and that little boy smile
    Black velvet with that slow southern style
    A new religion that’ll bring you to your knees
    Black velvet if you please.”
    Except, I think I can live without the little boy smile bit. That’s a little too Michael Jackson for me.

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  16. oh no. Now I’m going to be singing that in my head every time I order one!

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  17. I am such a goob. I’ve been looking at your site and seeing the self-portrait day post, not realizing that you were updating underneath. Blllaaaah….duuuur.

    I don’t drink anymore, but when I did- 8ball, baby- slightly warmed by the sun.

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  18. Hand pulling a pint of beer is an art. I like lemonade and raspberry flavored vodka. And maybe some ice cold pinot grigio.

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  19. Tomato juice mixed with Bud Light, preferably. I can’t find anyone in Minneapolis to mix it right – they bring me beer and a can of clamato on the side. Clamato is NOT tomato. People do look at me like I’m weird when I order it here, but back in the land of the Dakota’s, everybody knows what’s up with the Red Beer.

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  20. Someday, I’ll strap on my midwest and try this tomato juice/beer concoction.

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  21. Being a good little Canadian I have to say beer, eh. But if on the off chance there is no beer a Caesar—I know…boring. And, red wine.

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  22. Dur. I’ve been looking at your site all weekend and assuming you still hadn’t updated. I wasn’t going to admit it, but I see Amanda B. did… so I feel a little less Dorky.

    I don’t drink alcohol. No helpful hints there, but I remember when I was a kid my Mom used to drink Fuzzy Navels. The thing that always tempts me to drink though is a good sour margarita on the rocks…. mmmmmm… I can almost taste it.

    Lately, I’ve been checking at bars to see if they have hot spiced cider (thus far no one has had it, even though it is damn freakin cold here and a hot drink sounds sooooo much nicer than something iced). Thus I resort to hot tea, which for most places is pretty nasty cause the water is lukewarm and the tea is some cheapo little bag of lipton.

    eek. I’ll stop complaining now, I promise.

    Hot chocolate. Yeah, hot choooooooooocolate.

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  23. My poisons, as of late have been (in order of quantity, descending):

    1. Red wines. Malbecs, cabs, pinots.
    2. Hendrick’s gin martinis in a water glass (I’m trashy)
    3. Evan Williams 94 Single Barrel
    4. Hoegaarden with lemon
    5. Boddington’s Pub Ale

    Since the new booze ban, I’ve been keen on teas:
    PG Tips, SleepyTime, Korean Ginseng Tea, Morning Thunder

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