Welcome to the return of Ask a Bartender, our weekly series answering your questions. Why ask us? Because between founder Mike Ginn and his staff we have worked over 20 years in the business and have the experience and knowledge to answer almost anything. So ask us your questions or tell us your stories and maybe we’ll share them here every Friday! Tweet us with the hashtag #AskMIX or @THEDCXIV and we will try and answer all your questions! Now on to this week’s question…
I’m kind of intimidated but I wish I could try everything. How do I find out what something tastes like? Are there any good online resources?
Tia L. from San Jose, CA
First, online? Yes, here. Haha. Ok ok… I’m teasing but still… As far as finding out what things taste like, from wine to beer to spirits, just ask. Many restaurants and bars will be more than happy to give you a small sample of something to see if it fits your taste’s. They would much rather give you a sample than to have send a drink back and lose that sale and product that goes into making the drink in the first place. Not to mention the time making and preparing. So it’s always safest and better for all involved if you just ask.
Wine and beer are much more obtainable in samples than liquor but it never hurts to ask. If you are still afraid to ask, then yes, there are many online resources for different types of alcohol. BeerAdvocate.com is one of my favorites for beer and locally, the Washington Post has a great wine section. So maybe checkout your local newspaper in San Jose. I hope this helps.
What is your favorite drink to drink, and what is your favorite to make?
John M. from Hilton Head, SC
Personally? I’m pretty simple. I love a nice rum, on the rocks or with a splash of Coke. El Dorado 15 year or a newer one I’ve been starting to drink, El Diplimatico that a friend turned me on to. As a cocktail, my go to is a Royal Flush (Crown Royal, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry) or I’ll be adventurous and usually order something I’ve never tried before, especially if I’m in a new place I’ve never tried. I love trying new things but that is just how I am.
To make? That depends on time. Many times behind a bar, time is of the essence. We would love to spend most of our time talking. Talking equals tips. So the more time we are making drinks, the less time we are talking. Especially if it is for the service window and table service. So timing makes a difference in this answer. Assuming I have time to talk and make the drink and have a good time with it, I’ll make an original of my own such as a variation of the Basil Hayden Sweet Meat, that I add some things to bring out the contrast or more commonly I’ll make a classic cocktail. The great thing about the classics is that the presentation can steal the show. It adds to our tip personally because of the show but it also wows the guest. Even a simple Old Fashion can take a few minutes if done correctly. So I would say to answer you, an Aviation. It finishes nicely with the Creme de Violet sinking in the middle, is easy to make and tastes awesome!
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