What should I drink? (The most oft-asked question from guest to barkeep)
How was your day? (The most oft-asked question from barkeep to guest)
The answers to the first question are myriad, and the answers to the second…well admittedly, I used to never spend much time listening to them.
In search of a better way to address the first one, I’ve developed a fun (and slightly goofy) way to come up with a drink that soaks up the personality of its drinker, resulting in a more personal interaction between slinger and sipper.
This three-question system has yet to fail me:
How was your day? Someone comes in who has been crushing it all day? Light drink they can have a few of without calling their ex crying. If someone’s day is rough, it’s something boozy and rich that will get him or her where they are going in a hurry.
What is the greatest place you have ever traveled? This gives you key insight into some of their favorite memories. It also allows you to tap into what they might have been drinking during the best time of their life. If they traveled to a world capital like Paris, something refined and distinguished like a Sidecar. If it’s a beach in Mexico, think citrus and tequila, like a Paloma. (If their favorite memory is a beach in Ohio…just pour bourbon neat).
What cartoon would you never miss as a kid? Out of left field, yes, but effective and fun. Play off the characters in this cartoon to name the drink. It also provides some insight into their taste. Rainbow Bright leads to fruitier fare like a Berry Collins. If they respond with Thundercats (they should and will yell Hoooo!) then think of something a little more masculine like a Sazarac.
Friend and former coworker Lindsay Mahilo took the challenge, and I prescribed her a drink that was perfect for her day:
Cartoon Darkwing Duck
Drink Darkwing N’ Stormy
2 oz. Jamaican rum such as Smith & Cross
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. ginger syrup (juice fresh ginger root then add equal parts white sugar)
1/2 oz. black strap rum such as Cruzan
1/2 oz. club soda
Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail shaker and a large scoop of ice. Meanwhile, fill a Collins glass with ice and add club soda. Shake the cocktail tin hard enough to scare off Bushroot, then strain into Collins glass with ice and club soda. Finally, float the half-ounce of black strap rum on top of the cocktail.