“If when you say whiskey you mean the devil’s brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster, that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean the evil drink that topples the Christian man and woman from the pinnacle of righteous, gracious living into the bottomless pit of degradation, and despair, and shame and helplessness, and hopelessness, then certainly I am against it.
But, if when you say whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and laughter on their lips, and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer; if you mean the stimulating drink that puts the spring in the old gentleman’s step on a frosty, crispy morning; if you mean the drink which enables a man to magnify his joy, and his happiness, and to forget, if only for a little while, life’s great tragedies, and heartaches, and sorrows; if you mean that drink, the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars, which are used to provide tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitiful aged and infirm; to build highways and hospitals and schools, then certainly I am for it.
This is my stand. I will not retreat from it. I will not compromise.”
I entirely believe that it is possible to care and be careful with spirits and cocktails as it is to enjoy food. The same nuances can be savoured from hand selected producers, provenance and authenticity that chefs and restaurants enjoy. You can be a gourmet when it comes to drinking.
Alcohol is intoxicating so of course moderation is key but it still possible and enjoyable in my opinion to paraphrase Churchill “ take more out of it than it takes from you”.
Preaching this message is my crusade and like any crusade it will be unpopular with many people as it involves an approach that requires more money and less drinks yet also will come thrown in with fabulous tastes, great nights and hangover free mornings. Or as we Bartenders like to call it, excessive product loyalty.
I don’t expect this to convert the world but it may resonate among people that they are pouring more and more liquor of increasingly dubious virtue without really having any idea of what it is? They are drinking what clever marketing people and deep budgeted corporations want you to drink.
And bartenders who really care about hosting their guests rather than just processing you like a vending machine will I hope appreciate this …manual on how to be good at drinking. They can read it and learn from it and also bask in the glow that there are some connoisseurs of the bartender and the distillers art out there (and they tip well).
Those That Serve Them
It was once said that the Modern Professional Bartender is the “Aristocrat of the Working Class”. This can be taken many ways. You get to drink fine Champagnes, rare Cognacs, Vintage Wines and the best cocktails in town. You also get to mix with the traditional upper levels of society – bankers, lawyers, doctors, etc. – and gain their respect through giving them unrivalled service. However, the title also implies the highest level of professional behaviour and personal conduct. The bartender is someone who gains satisfaction from hosting to their fullest capacity; working quickly and efficiently to maintain the liquid refreshment and general enjoyment of their guests.