Sensible drinkers give the barkeep their recipe


I love an alcoholic drink as much as the next person but only if they’re served properly and some thought and effort has been put in to making them. Necking volume is pointless just like eating vast quantities of an “eat as much as you can” buffet which normally ignores quality and taste. This premiss doesn’t mean drinks have to be fancy or expensive. If it’s beer it should be well kept and poured properly. If it’s wine it should be in the correct glass, stored appropriately and obviously drinkable. Actually if it’s a soft drink then the same applies.

So this principle needs to be extended to the cocktail of your choice. First, know what you like. Many bars promote deals that are based on profit or supplier deals so don’t get distracted. Secondly check out the Barkeep. Only buy from people who can actually perform. Would you have surgery from a novice with a shaky hand? Thirdly, don’t be afraid to give him your recipe or choice of liquor brand.

A perfect example of this is my cocktail of choice: a Vodka Martini. In my Disney drinks world this is what happens as I approach the bar:

  • They say: “Hello, what can I get you?”
  • I say: ” A Vodka Martini please. What vodkas do you have?”
  • They say: “Absolut, Belvedere, Ciro,  Ketel One or Skyy”
  • I say: “Lovely, I’ll have Ketel One, stirred, dry with a twist please.”
  • They say: “Coming right up!”

So I get my vodka of choice (they do taste different), stirred so not over watered down which shaking would do, a very small flavour of vermouth (dry) and served with a twisted peel of lemon rind dropped in to the glass so the lemon oils float on top of the drink.

There are lots of versions but the point is you should say what you prefer. Options to start you off include:

  • Dirty – a drop of olive juice is put in the mix slightly clouding the final drink.
  • Dry or wet – more or less vermouth.
  • With olives – olives as a garnish (on a cocktail stick) should be specified as one, two or three.
  • Vermouth option – real good quality bars should ask you which vermouth you prefer: french (like Dolin or Noilly Prat) or Italian (like Martini or Stock).
  • Pink – add a splash of Angostura Bitter.
  • Gin – replace vodka with gin of your choice.

If they can do it stay for another. If they can’t do it move on!


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