“Day One”

I only really saw him in passing. As I am on the breakfast and lunch shifts while he was on the dinner shift, the most I’d see of him was at the opening of the elevator as we literally went our separate ways. He was a very tall and lanky ginger, 19 years old. He left a note on his manager’s desk, and never came back.

A few days later I’m working a wedding on Saturday night, and my manager comes up to me. “Ready to bartend?”

Abso-fucking-lutely.

“As you know, we lost [the ginger]. [The bar manager] will talk to you tomorrow at lunch.”

The next morning I’m working breakfast with the same manager. It came up in conversation, and one of my coworkers was happy to hear he wouldn’t have to fill in for bar duties anymore. Wait, what? Why is that? Is there something big and devilish I am not seeing in the world of bartending, or here in particular? Am I doing something wrong? What do people wanna do here? Just serve food like they are? I’d rather make shit. Do a bit more with my time and brain, ya know? Not food, though – not that much time. Because bartending is kind of like baking or cooking (which I do enjoy at home or with friends in less of a bulk setting), but with more instant results, and you don’t have to sit around for hours in the heat of the kitchen while that fucker sits in a 400 degree oven. But maybe that’s just me.

Before the bar manager gets there that afternoon, I take a few tables that come in. He then limps over with a crate of alcohol – a temporary limp, mind you – and asks if my tables wanted any drinks while he was away.

“Nope! Nothing for you.”

“Oh no” he says. “You would have made them. I figured the best way would be to just throw you to the wolves.” He hands me a (poorly written) packet of his drink recipes, and talks to me about setting up bar.

The thing is, most bars wouldn’t make me nervous to “Just Do It” (cred Nike). But at a lodge/resort for rich white people, where the bartender is known for a craft and not just a guy who free-pours well whiskey and Coke all night, I’ve gotta know my shit. Not to mention, he has none of the common stock liquors, so when someone asks for a Jack and Coke or even an Espolon margarita, I’m going to have to get familiar with their ever-changing craft counterparts.

I expect my first co-shift on Saturday. Excuse me while I go study some cocktails and familiarize myself with the craft alcohol scene of the Northeast.

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