A girl walks into a bar (don’t ask me why it’s a girl, it’s always a girl).
Me: Hey, what can I get you?
Her: Vodka and cranberry.
Me: Sure thing.
<goes to make drink, is delayed by Her reaching out to stop Me>
Her: Oh, and…make it strong.
Guh. Really? Do you honestly think that a vodka and cranberry (or Cape Codder for all you hipster fuckers out there who can’t get over the notion of ordering a “classic” cocktail) is so complicated of a drink that me, a bartender, meaning someone who mixes drinks for a living, doesn’t know how to make it properly?
Surely you jest. Or maybe you don’t jest, maybe you’re just of the ghetto mentality that bars are really scam operations and bartenders are scam artists, and we’re trying to extract all the money we can while serving you a minimum of that oh-so-precious-and-costly rail liquor.
Well, get over yourself. Look around. This is a dive, lady, not a nightclub. Nightclubs are designed to separate you from as much money as possible, and if you’re paying to get into those plus paying for drinks plus paying for a restroom attendant’s salary plus paying for valet? Well, you kind of deserve to get robbed. It’s called the stupid penalty.
When someone asks me to make it strong, I respond with “Would you like me to charge you for a double?”
The answer is always no. Nobody wants to pay for more alcohol, which confuses me because I was always under the impression that money could be exchanged for goods and services. (I’m not very bright, but I have learned a lot from the Simpsons.)
Then I tell the person, “I want you to have a good time here, and I know how to make a drink. Relax.”
So I make the drink. If I’m making a tall, that means a heavy-handed 6-count pour. Depending on how slow I count (and I use the method by which I count down the last minute at work, meaning the seconds go by a lot more slowly than usual), and how generous I feel (usually very, I respect alcohol and your desire to drink it), you’re getting about a shot and a half of liquor in your drink. Sometimes more. Your drink is half liquor. Half! So why, then, do you take a drink and say, “All I taste is juice.”
No shit. You ordered a vodka and cranberry. It’s designed to taste like juice. It’s sole existence is predicated upon people who don’t want to taste alcohol. Vodka is mild, cranberry is tart and sweet. Add a slice of lime and you’re practically eating fruit for breakfast (you can tell I know a lot about nutrition).
Last night, a woman ordered a Red Headed Slut as a drink. I mean, yuck. It hurt my teeth just thinking about it, but I’m not here to second-guess your order. After the preliminary “make it strong-you want a double” exchange, she said, “All I taste is juice.”
“Yes,” I told her, “You taste juice. You also taste peach schnapps, which tastes like juice and sugar syrup, and you taste Jagermeister, which, although nasty, has a high sugar content. You’re tasting sugar, which negates the flavor of alcohol. Speaking of alcohol, you’re holding a 2-to-1 ratio of alcohol to mixer in your hand, so if all you taste is juice, I think I made it rather well.”
“If you want to taste alcohol, learn to drink Scotch.”