The best time to go to a bar if…
…you want to learn how to make a drink.
4PM on a Monday. Or whatever time the place opens.
Look at the menu and when the bartender comes over, let him know what you normally drink.
Tell him like this: “Well, I like rye and bourbon, so I’d normally order an old fashioned. But I’m really open to suggestions. What would you recommend?”
Take his recommendation.
Watch him make your drink. See what ingredients go into it. Look at the way he’s stirring it while barely moving his wrist.
Holy shit. You must have stirred that like 100 times. Should I stir my drink 100 times? 1
Or watch him shake it, if you ordered that type of drink. How much ice did he put in? How long did he shake it?
Point at it.
What kind of thingy is that? That thing, the thing you’re using to strain it with. What’s it called? Can I get them on Amazon? 2
Don’t say any of that yet, though. Just think it. Make a mental note to ask him later. You don’t want to be weird.
When he sets the drink down in front of you, say thanks. It looks great.
Pick it up and smell it. Put your nose in it.
Take a drink.
How is it? Is it good? 3
It’s not busy so he’s just standing there looking at you, waiting on you to have another drink.
Take another sip.
Now’s your chance.
Can I ask you a couple questions?
Then order another drink, his choice. Something he’s excited about or that he’s been working on.
Later, when you’ve got some new tricks to try, some bottles to buy, and a recipe in your pocket, ask for the check.
“There you go, man.”
The bar’s filling up now. He’s starting to get busy.
The bill is $22.00. Tip him $20 and leave.
After all, he was a nice guy.
And so are you.
What I’m currently enjoying: Reading this list of the best bars in America while having a rye old fashioned.