This morning, while still in my sweaty pilates gear, I discovered a video that made me fall down laughing. My abs got a second workout from watching this.
It’s called Mixologist by Fog and Smog, the same talent behind the viral Wholefoods Parking Lot music video.
The hook goes, “Hey Mr. Mixologist, did you have to go to college for this? It seems like you got some knowledge it’s just, a cocktail for 20 dollars and tips?” and so on. Watch it first before you read on.
These guys nailed the stereotypical, holier than thou mixologists that refuse to be called mixologists right on the head.
It’s no secret that I adore cocktails. I love to shoot them (they’re gorgeous subjects), write about them, learn about them, and make them. Needless to say, drinking them is the best part.
The part I don’t like is when I unfortunately cross paths with one of these bartenders, whose passive aggressive attitudes surpass the d-baggery of club bartenders. At least at a club, they just pour me a drink, smile for my tips, and want me to have a good time. These mixologists, as depicted in faintly exaggerated the video, never seem to have a good time. That is, until they stump me on vermouth trivia or show me a housemade ingredient that minds have never fathomed.
Generally speaking, I love bartenders. I enjoy chit chatting and nerding out with them. I appreciate it when they teach me new techniques or suggest recipes that I can try at home. I especially love it when they listen to what my mood calls for and stirs something up that hits the spot.
A good bartender understands that guests are paying money to enjoy themselves and want to feel that their money is well spent. It doesn’t mean that bartenders should bend over backwards to serve something that doesn’t represent the establishment. However they should never, no matter how ridiculous the request, make a guest feel like they’re lesser than. Save those “guess what she ordered” stories for after hours.
This video accurately captures that arrogant air that many bartenders have make makes the rest of the world feel excluded. It’s utterly annoying when a bartender belittles a guest because the guest knows less about this one particular topic. (I mean, have you ever been belittled by a dentist? They’ll only tell you to floss more, but not make you feel like a moron for it).
When a bartender says things like:
- I’ll never make that drink. It’s [insert insult]
- You should never drink that because [insert insult]
- You have to drink this instead because [insert insult]
and upsells the guest on a drink, the guest naturally feels disgruntled. Drinks served in this manner never taste good. I’d equate it to sleazy mechanic that makes you feel stupid, then charges you an arm and a leg for something you never wanted. (Oh, you don’t like it? There’s something wrong with you then.)
Or if a bartender entirely dismisses a guest’s request in effort to “educate”, it’s similar to that teacher you hated for shaming you in front of your friends for your own good. There’s no honour in that.
There are, of course, professional ways of going about it. When a guest is confused by the menu or orders their less-than-respected ol’ faithful, that’s the opportunity for a bartender to shine. They have the chance to introduce the guest to new flavours and ingredients.
That’s also the propitious time to:
- suggest a quality alternative
- explain the grade of ingredients that the bar carries
- describe drinks that they’ve created and why
- push the guest’s envelope a bit
I’ve met plenty of amazing bartenders that have inspired and enlightened my perspective of mixing drinks this way and I thank them for it.
From what I’ve observed from the barstool or while interviewing bartenders for my writing, a lot has pent up. So what began as 1 paragraph on this video has evolved into a full blow post.
In conclusion, you, Mr. Mixologist’s job, is to make me a drink and not to:
- make me feel inferior
- test my liquor or cocktail knowledge
- interrupt my conversation to expound uninvited information
- convince me I don’t really want what I’ve ordered without providing alternatives
- eavesdrop when I’m describing my drink to see if I really know what I’m talking about
Whether or not you wax your mustache is up to you. Just don’t do it in front of me while I’m drinking – that’s unhygienic.