So this new trend of mixologist vs. bartender reared its ugly head last night . I do think there’s a difference between someone slinging drinks at a beer bar and someone perfecting a throwback cocktail and knowing its history, intricate recipe and basic liquor knowledge. However, I believe everyone should have basic bartending skills if they step behind a bar — and that includes someone who makes Jack & Cokes all night and someone making Manhattans and Old Fashioneds.
So last night I was at this trendy bar downtown. They were having a special on margaritas, which my friend and I ordered. We noticed the establishment already had a vat of margarita made up, so we saw him simply pour the already made mix over ice into our glass. This isn’t his fault — it was the bar’s decision to make up a vat — which lessens the quality of the drink and doesn’t make it as fresh. But the bartender could and should have shook it to mix the settling ingredients. He served us our drinks as is — no garnish of lime or anything else whatsoever. It’s common knowledge that all margaritas should be served with a lime … I think it’s in the Bible … the San Juan version or something.
It’s worth noting that the last time I had a marg at this same bar, it was loaded with lemons, limes and oranges — it was heaven, and it was made fresh. This drink tasted so bad and syrupy, we had to add an extra shot of tequila to make it worth drinking. After that, we switched to a Mexican beer — Dos Equis Amber. Again, it was served without a lime. So now I felt like the demanding, annoying customer who kept asking for the moon.
This bartender tried to dazzle us with his knowledge of bourbon and rye whiskey and tequila. He was hired in as a “senior” staff member since he was such a knowledgeable dude. However during his shift, we didn’t see him stock the bar once, he forgot our garnish on everything, and he screwed up an order of two tacos. Perhaps before spouting off facts about Irish whiskey, he should learn the basics of bartending 101.
The next bartender came in and seemed annoyed she had to completely stock the bar, when it was clearly his job to leave the bar stocked with inventory and garnishes before his shift was over. Perhaps he thought he was above that kind of work. Who knows. But it was annoying. Nobody is too good to cut limes or replenish the Tecate.