Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bottoms Up!

It never ceases to amaze me. Every single time I am with friends & family trying new drinks, everyone wants to take a sip out of my cup to see what I’m drinking. Why? Can’t you pour your own and just leave my cup alone? Especially in the midst of the flu season---lay the hell off my cup! It actually reminds me of that Bugs Bunny episode where he keeps telling the gorilla, “Stop breathing in my cup!”

Oh great, different wines from all over the world. Everyone gathers around the bar at my house to try these fantastic wines out. I pour a small dab of Chianti in my glass, I swirl it, and then take a sip. Hmm. It had a bite to it—probably needs to breathe a little longer.

“Oh! You got the Chianti, can I try it?” Sis asks.
“Oh that’s the Chianti? Let me try?”
Mom asks.

I sat there staring at everyone who was taking a sip of a small puddle in the bottom of my wine glass. Madelene knows my dilemma. She sees it in my eyes. I nod—indicating, ‘it’s okay to get me another glass—but do it discreetly.’

Not for nothing, but I’m not fond of lipstick marks left on the rim of my glass and having to catch someone else’s cold. It’s just not for me. This is one of the major reasons I stick to beer. What are the chances someone’s going to walk up to you and say, “Hey, can I try that?” And believe me, it’s not that I’m repulsed by the people who ask me, it’s just my ‘OCD’. I promise you that.

Occasionally---oh hell---every week, Madelene and I will stop by our favorite bar and restaurant to have a drink and a bite to eat. Sometimes in the middle of the week, we’ll sit at the bar, and drink a few beers, and a few shots. Our favorite shot is Belvedere vodka. I order one from Paulie—the owner and bartender.

“Sure, you want that chilled?”
I said, knowing (as a bartender myself) it gets chilled with other things that have been mixed prior. You end up having this fruity taste to your shot. Either they don’t wash it out good enough, or you end up drinking the last bit of someone else’s apple martini.

“There ya go!” Paulie says, as he slides the two enormous shots to us. These shots were more like four in one.
“Be careful.” I said to Madelene, knowing that she is now drinking a very strong beer—no light stuff tonight, and on top of that---shots.
“I’m okay.”

We both said cheers and down went the Belvedere. Or did it? Wait. No. What’s this? This is not-----this is Smirnoff! I started to fume. I don’t want to sound like a snob, but I’m a connoisseur of good vodka. You cannot take a rail drink and pass it off as top shelf to me. I’ll know instantly. Os will even vouch for me here. I know that a lot of bars water down their vodkas. That is illegal to do. The one thing I feared the most, was Madelene getting sick on this stuff. Madelene is very weak when it comes to cheap vodka. She can handle the Belvedere, Ketel One or Grey Goose—but give her Smirnoff, and she is off to see the porcelain God.

“You know what Paulie? I’m gonna go with the Ketel One.”
“Sure, anything wrong with this vodka?”
“Yes, it’s Smirnoff. You might want to check who’s replacing it with the cheap stuff.”
“Smirnoff? Impossible.”
“Possible. Believe me.”

Paulie comes back over, and pours us two shots of Ketel One. We both down it.
“Hmm. Fruity, almost peach-like.”
“What is this?”
Madelene asked. Now, if Madelene has to ask, you know that there’s a problem. She’s good with her vodkas as well, but her taste buds are a bit off due to her sinus problems.

“Paulie, listen, I’m a bartender too, but whoever is working when you’re not, is replacing this stuff with the cheap stuff. I would look into it if I were you—or you’re looking at someone ‘bigger’ than myself who will recognize the same problem. Believe me--it happened to a bar I used to work at. My boss would fill the bottles with half water and half vodka.”
“Uhh, okay…I’m sorry about this.”
He said, as he put back the bottles full of cheap vodka back on the top shelf. It was evident someone made a huge mistake and put peach Stoli into the Ketel One.

Remember, if you order a martini—especially a dry martini straight up, and you think it tastes ‘off’—tell them. If you don’t, you might as well just brown bag some cheap vodka and sit on a park bench somewhere. That stuff will kill ya!

Bars market their liquor up to 300%. You pay $5 bucks for a good shot of the top shelf. Make a fuss if you don’t get what you want. It’s you who’s paying for it. I wonder how many times I was too drunk to even notice it.

Bottoms up!


Mike said...

lol....Now I know why I stick with pepsi and an occasional beer.

~Deb said...

They can't tamper with beer...but fountain drinks are watered down sometimes as well. ;)

Casually Me said...

If you are a draft person, they always hook up the cheap beer and pass it off as something a little more expensive. Who can tell with draft beer? Here in Michigan the smokers can buy smokes for 6 or 7 bucks a pack, over the counter. Craziness...if you ask me.

~Deb said...

I can totally tell if it's not my Sam Adams. Believe me. But, if you're drinking Bud Light from tap or other wishy-washy drinks, no you really can't tell. Stick with the dark beer on tap. Plus, some people don't clean out their taps and it makes it taste like crap. Go with the beer that 'flows' the most. You're safer that way.

Mike L. said...

And what, pray tell, is wrong with the brown bag and park bench scenario?

Fred said...

I remember having beer while living in the U.K. and they still use the taps they have to pump. Heaven knows when those pipes were cleaned last. But, when you're drinking warm beer, who can tell?

Bert Ford said...

I don't believe in Vodka Martinis.
It's a religious thing.
But, I have a drink named after me in my favorite local bar.
It's a Boodles Gin Martini with a Jalepeno instead of an olive.
You might try it sometime.

I'm lucky enough to be served by an excellent bartender. Never waters the liquor, He's Johnny on the spot when your glass is low, and when you have had enough he cuts you off without shame or enbarassment. (Though everyone dreads hearing "Here's your glass of iced tea.") Thanks Chris.

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Hmmm, I'm starting to pick up a theme as of late. :)

No one ever gets to drink after me, unless we are about to, or just had sex. No exceptions. Oh yeah, I hate it when my Chianti bites too.

~Deb said...

Mike: Absolutely nothing, as long as you’re bringing the caviar, we’re all set.

Fred: See? That’s exactly what scares me.

Bert: I can’t stand the taste of gin—plus it gives me a wicked hangover. The bar that I was helping out at----never, ever watered down their liquor. I opened them up fresh, and each glass poured had “pure” top shelf.

Sable: A theme? You mean my alcoholism? It’s starting to sink in like tequila creeping up on ya, huh? You need drinks in order to have sex? I think it may be the women you’re picking.

Bathroom Hippo said...

Did you get that thing I sent you?

Lisa said...

I'm hearing you loud and clear Deb. I've never been a bartender, but I spent many a year on the other side of the bar serving the drinks. I think if you've ever worked in a bar your taste buds just get a hard core case of snobbery. Not to mention the stomach that stages it's own personal revolt against the cheap stuff. I couldn't tell you the number of times that I've gotten crap at bars and everyone around me was more than happy with thiers 'cause they didn't know the difference. I'm usually too intimidated to raise a fuss though for exactly that reason. I just switch drinks. Yet another reason I need to come to the Big Apple and drink with you. *sigh*

~Deb said...

What thing did you send me? Do I know you???

Yes Lisa, you definitely need to come to NY and have a drink with me! I'll be waiting!


I can tell immediately when someone has played with the Grey Goose!! :)

~Deb said...

See? All vodkas are not the same. My mother claims that they all taste the same. Ugh....but that's coming from a Carlo Rossi and Smirnoff lover. Bleckkk.....

Shannon said...

LOL Wow we live the same life.. in different states of course =) I only drink the mixed fruity drinks when I go out... but as you know I did shots on Christmas Eve and paid for it.. over and over and over again! You have a great personality... thanks for stopping by my blog..

Have a great New year and watch those bartenders!! *giggle* Cheers!

Bhakti said...

Oh my gosh!--
“Oh! You got the Chianti, can I try it?” Sis asks.
“Oh that’s the Chianti? Let me try?” Mom asks.

I used to play the electric guitar at the Saint Mark's Church in the East Village. Of course, since it was in the middle of the East Village, and was a rather 'artsy' church in general, it attracted lots of different strains of people. Some homeless. I always cringed when the 'Blood of Christ' chalice was sent around. Before I'd take a sip I'd look up at the ceiling and say, "Jesus, I need your protection NOW more than ever!!" LOL!

Wenchy said...

Gotta love a bit of vodka!

Jill said...

Cheap people suck. And I hate having people drink out of my glass, too. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Bill Jones, Jr said...

Deb, I don't need to drink to have sex. I need the drink to forget the women I have sex with. And, I really need more drinks.

SignGurl said...

Thanks for the tip on the top shelf stuff. I usually drink Absolut because Smirrnof makes me ill.

I love the previous post's song by Deb! You are so clever.

Lindsey said...

People do that with my food all of the time. Really pisses me off. Next time I'm stabbing them w/ my fork.

yrautca said...

Hey Deb,
You seem to know so much about vodka. I couldnt tell the difference between vodka and rum even if I tried (no kidding). I just stick to beer and wine. Dont have the stomach to drink anything stronger.

But knowing so much about it must make you tons of friends, no? I'd be totally impressed if one of my drinking buddies knew so much.

Also, dont you think that this guy Paulie is somehow involved in replacing/diluting the vodka? I mean he is the owner after all.

Anyway, cool blog!

Genna said...

Hey girl... How's the diet?

barman said...

I was fortunate. When I was doing most of the drinking I did I knew a fantastic bartender. He knew what everyone wanted and had it ready by the time you before you sat down. I would never go dry. I was blessed until he moved away.

Now I can tell the really cheap vodka but I guess that is where it ends. I don't think I have had the true top shelf stuff.

The glass thing, I saw the same thing happen on Monday. Fortunetly it was not my glass. No one seem interested in my black and blue.

DZER said...

you are my booze goddess from here on out ... if I need help with alcohol and liquor and wine and beer and whatnot ... you're my gal!

Danielle said...

IF I dont hear from yah, have a HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!


Deadly Female said...

I wish my palette were so refined. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I rarely get to go out for a drink outside of the house so I can vouch for the strength of my Southern Comfort.

Happy New Year, Deb xx

Jillian said...

Your right on the mark with that one. I own a bar in California and it is illegal for us to water down or pour cheap liqour into topshelf bottles. Its a major NO NO!

kathi said...

I'm just all 'ewwwwwwyy over here thinking about those people drinking outta my glass. YUCK. My husband and maybe my kids (don't know cause it's never came up), but that would be it! Anytime someone has said 'can I taste that' and do so before I get a chance to say 'NO', I tell them to keep it.

I'm the same way with tequila, I can tell the difference and it really ticks me off when they pass off cheap or watered down tequila. And, I'm like you. I'll send it back everytime.

Hugs baby doll.

TheSugarV said...

Deb you have a very nice blog. I totally agree with you in regards to cheap vs top shelf liquor. I am also very particular with my drinks especially scotch. You can’t give me Dewars and expect me to believe it is Glenfiddich.

KyuBall said...

My wife used to do the glass thing to me all the time no matter what I was drinking. Bugged me to no end, then I told her to stop...and she a certain extent.

Something I've noticed, especially among my "drinking" friends: they usually think nothing of sharing alcoholic drinks. I think there's probably some latent intimacy issue behind the "taste test", more so than the actual curiosity on what you're drinking. I'm not talking about sexual intimacy, but just on a human to human relationship basis...breaking through a small barrier to let one person feel somewhat closer to another. In some ways, it's kind of like a version of Communion, symbolically sharing part of yourself with others.

Wow...that was deep. I need to check to see if someone has been spiking my brownies.

~Deb said...

Well I think bartenders think that people –or the average Joe doesn’t know his alcohol. There are people like myself who are experts with wine, scotch and vodka, that will point that out. It amazes me that a bar and restaurant like the one we went to—would even consider doing such a thing. Oh, and I am sure that Paulie knew. His face turned pure white when I figured him out- and figured ‘which’ vodka he replaced it with.

Genna--- The diet? Very bad. Very bad. I lost 10 lbs, and gained 8….figure that one out. *sigh* Madelene is still the same, so we are at square one! I wish I could just poke you for even asking!!! (hehe) Needless to say, the before and after pictures would have been hilarious---you wouldn't know which is which! Ah, time to get on the treadmill... Wish me luck!

LisaBinDaCity said...

EEK, they replace the good stuff with the crappy, cheap stuff? Wow, I had NO idea.

Happy New Year Deb and Madelene!

Saur♥Kraut said...

Interesting post! The Other Half drinks only Gin and Tonic, and it's gotta be Tanqueray. I try a little of everything; life is too short to commit. ;o) But I know one thing: I like the best of everything!

barman said...

Once the holidays are over maybe you can do better on the 4 letter word you mentioned. If you have the will power you can make it through the holidays OK but it is not easy. Maybe you should rig up some sort of drink holder for martini's that you can dangle just in front of the tread mill a little out of reach.

I am gearing up for a diet and exercise program myself but I am adding in things I can do around the house, not just the gym, and fun things so I have no excuse to skip a work out.

Best wishes on your roller coaster ride you are on.

The Stevo in H-Town said...

NOBODY gits a sip of our wine..

Da Boyz atda "Jammy"..connesseiurs of MD 20-20 and Thunderbird..


~Deb said...

Never was a big fan of gin...the headaches...ooooweeeee.....

Hmmm....just put a keg of beer in front of my treadmill---or a tap that feeds it to me while I run. That'll be ideal. Thanks.

Stevo----put down the moonshine now!

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