...busting up my brains for the words

Friday, May 20, 2005


Yesterday evening I was invited by my clients to join them at a Minneapolis warehouse district bar called Drink. The occasion was to toast one of my client's last week with the firm, as he has been hired elsewhere. One of the reasons the guest of honor chose Drink is because he has a taste for fine bourbon and he'd noticed they have Makers Mark on the shelf. When I arrived and joined the table it took the waitress about 5 minutes to notice I was there, greet me and take my order. I didn't think 5 minutes was such a long time to wait, but she apologized just the same. I ordered 2 Makers Marks. One on the rocks for me (yes, I know I'm spoiling fine bourbon with ice, but I prefer a little chill to my bourbon) and one up for the guest of honor. I asked her if they serve their whiskeys with a beer or a water back. She didn't know what a "back" is. When I explained that a back is a short glass of beer or ice water she informed me that they do not have tap beer, so I ordered 2 water backs.
In fairly short order the drinks were served. Mine was appropriately served. But a quick glance down the table evidenced a martini glass with a dark amber fluid waiting for the guest as he was away to the restroom!

"Excuse me, but is that martini glass my Makers Mark for my friend?"

"Yes. You ordered it up, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did."

"Okay. So the bartender shook it with ice and served it in the up glass. Should I change the glass."

At this point some of my neighbors were interested in what was happening. One of them opined, "That glass makes it look like a hoity toity drink. I don't think he'd like to drink out of that."

I explained to the waitress, "An "up" bourbon should be served in a low ball glass. 'Up' is without ice. It's not shaken in ice at all. It's just poured."

To her credit, my waitress cheerfully and quickly asked the bar staff to remedy the situation. The guest of honor's Makers Mark was properly presented in time just before he returned from the mens room. I tipped the waitress a dollar for each drink; an appropriate tip for good service, in my opinion, just the same.

As we enjoyed our drinks and our time together, I noticed that the bar staff had seen the movie, Cocktail, juggling bottles behind the bar with the occasional sound of smashing glass. The waitstaff were exclusively 20-something women who are very attractive, wearing tight-fitting and revealing blouses and short skirts. As I mentioned, the bar staff were Tom Cruise wannabes. It seems to me that the management of a bar business called Drink should train their employees to know some basic things about alcoholic beverages. They should know what a water or beer back is. They should know that a bourbon is served in a low ball glass and a martini is served in a martini glass.

But in a word to the management's defense, the service was entirely friendly and helpful. It's not my kind of place, but then I'm quite a bit older than the clientele Drink is striving to attract. Most of those young people who would choose Drink as their gathering place are there to meet other young singles and order a Mich Lite.

I was there to drink my bourbon, celebrate with my clients, and take notes so I could blog about it next morning.


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