My go to drink of choice is a Bloody Mary. Aside from just liking the taste, I think something about it fits my personality – a little spicy, pretty healthy, enough kick to keep things interesting and probably an acquired taste.
That being said, it’s easy to screw up a Bloody Mary. If you make a good Bloody Mary, you make a great Bloody Mary, but if you can’t – well, you’re better off drinking something else.
So rather than risk a series of disappointing drinks at various bars, I’ve just started asking the bartender, “What’s your specialty? What do you do better than anyone else?”
I’ve never gotten a bad drink using this phrase. I am still waiting for the smartass who just pours me a shot of whiskey, though. That person is going to get a good tip, because I like people in the service industry who still have some sass in them.
The best response I’ve gotten so far has been a bartender in a little bar in Dayton, who leaned one arm on the counter and said, “Well, I make this drink called a Bad Habit.”
It proved to be orange juice, Midori, peach schnapps and a few other things I don’t recall. It’s the color of a sunset and tasted like Sunny Delight tastes when you’re a kid – fruity and sweet, without that chemical aftertaste you notice as an adult.
I had two. The rest of the night is a bit fuzzy.
But sometimes accessing the bartender’s mad skillz isn’t always an option. It might be hard to get their attention on an insanely busy night or their Policies and Procedures might have them strapped tightly into set menus or they might not have been at it long enough to develop that special drink. Such was the case this past weekend, while I was at the Origins Game Fair in the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Their in-house bar, the Big Bar on 2, spends the weekend running like mad, as there are few people who need a drink more than you’re average introverted geek after a day of dealing with people.
Unfortunately, this is not a place which makes a good Bloody Mary. They don’t even make an average Bloody Mary.
They did, however, come up with a special drink for Origins called a Dragonslayer. It was clementine vodka, orange juice, passionfruit juice, and a couple of other mixers that my sleep deprived brain didn’t absorb. It was purple. And I do mean shamelessly purple – there was no way it could have passed as violet-blue or amethyst-red. It tasted like High-C and vodka, but in a good way.
It was also the cheapest thing on the menu. I roped as many people into trying one as I could. After all, it pays to cultivate a creativity behind the bar.
Special thanks to Pink on the Cheek blog, which came to my rescue with inspiration after trying, and failing, to write on 5 different topics.