Friday, April 29, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Drinking at an Early Age

I was 16. My parents did not drink. We never had any alcohol in the house unless it was required for cooking. All of my parent's friends knew that they didn't drink and quite comfortably brought wine over to drink for themselves at dinner parties.

One evening a couple of guys came over and brought a 12-pack of beer. They consumed 5, decided not to take the other seven home, leaving the rest for my mom and dad to store under the kitchen sink. I think my parents forgot it was even there, because it was there for like, forever. I however, did not forget.

A few months later my friend came over to spend the night. After the nail polish had dried, the boy stories ran out and the idea of driving my parent's car down to Tijuana wouldn't come until the following year, I decided it was time to crack open the beer.

We tiptoed back into my room with seven beers hidden in our pajamas and found a spot in the corner to begin our rite of passage. We cracked the cans open under my stuffed animals to prevent any excess noise, then lifted the beers to our lips.

Gross. Disgusting. Nasty.

Those were the words we used to describe what we were tasting. Yet we were determined to get drunk. Plugging our noses to avoid the taste, we split the seven warm beers, one right after the other. In 5 minutes we were done.

There are two things I remember about that night. Trying to tape record ourselves (but it was never plugged in) and passing out on the bathroom after praying to the porcelain goddess for longer than I care to remember.

Because I was a good girl, I confessed it all to my mom and dad in the morning after my friend went home. My mom just looked at me, not interested in give me one ounce of sympathy. "That's what you get," she said.

It took me 8 years to ever touch alcohol again, and 13 years to taste another beer. The moral of the story? Don't drink when you're a teenager. Don't drink three and half warm beers back to back. And for goodness sake, try not to ever drink so much that you go 8 years without it. Life's too short.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Watermelon Margarita

I wish I could say that I make Watermelon Margaritas only when I'm desperately craving one. But the truth is, the melons I bring home are so dang big that 1/4 of the way through the fruit I'm over it. Enter Watermelon Margarita. The great thing about watermelon is that when frozen, it doubles as the ice cubes, preventing your blended drink from getting watered down.

2-3 cups cubed watermelon (make sure you remove all the seeds!)
2 ounces silver tequila
1 ounces triple sec
2 ounces sweet & sour (look for something natural and NOT bright yellow)

Step 1: Slice some cubes of watermelon and freeze until solid

Step 2: Put the frozen cubes into a blender along with the tequila, triple sec, sweet and sour, and blend until smooth

Step 3: Salt the rim, pour in the blended mixture, and garnish with a lime or watermelon balls

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wine Wednesday: Seven Daughters |

I cannot deny that I'm a huge fan of Twitter. As a daily blogger who uses the social networking service to connect with fellow wine and spirit aficionados, and readers of This Girl Walks Into a Bar, I see the many benefits Twitter provides. But when I recently won a bottle of wine from via @WineTrouble, I knew I was onto something good with this Twitter thing.

A few weeks ago I was the lucky winner of a bottle of Seven Daughters wine when I became the 200th follower of @WineTrouble. On Monday, to my delight, this blend of seven varietals arrived at my home. Giddy as a child on Christmas morning, I swooped up the box and ripped it open. 

My husband and I nursed our full glasses of red wine in front of our games...he, Lakers and me, Padres. The wine was mild and fruity, and perfectly (and coincidentally) paired with my seven spice lasagna. I sat curled up on the couch, basking in the glory of Twitter, and grateful for my new wine friends.  Social networking at its best.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tell It Tuesdays: Tavern | Brentwood

Tavern: 11648 West San Vicente Blvd.
                Los Angeles, CA 90049

Dined with my husband on a Monday evening at 7:30. Seated easily though the place was far from empty. Since the entrance is between their main restaurant and what they call the 'larder," an upscale café/deli, I was instantly impressed. The décor, the presentation of gorgeous cheeses, the packaging of their gift boxes and baskets made me instantly like the place. But the experience was a strange one. I can't say I didn't like Tavern but I'm not sure that we will return.

When we seated we were presented with a bread basket and a little plate with butter and salt. Delicious. My husband had a martini with olives and I had a Margarita made with repesado tequila, ginger and cointreau, served in a sugar rimmed glass. My drink was really, really good. There were two bartenders racing around behind that handsome dark wood bar and whoever made my drink is a pro. My husband's martini was good but the olives were not traditional cocktail olives and had pits in them. Um, no.

The menu offers a side of fries, onion rings, or a "half and half" for a dollar more. So when I ordered a $17 turkey burger with a choice of fries or onion rings and asked for the "half and half," and was told by the waiter that "they can't do that," I was annoyed. They don't offer the half and half with food, only as a side. What the hell?! That is taking yourself waaaaaaay too seriously. I like good food, but the second a restaurant gets pretentious about it, I become hyper-critical.

The main course arrived, hot and pleasantly presented, but 23 minutes after the salad app we shared. That's too long.  My husband's steak was amazing for the first few bites, but after that was mostly fat and sadly inedible.

I requested my turkey burger cooked to medium, but it showed up medium rare minus. Thank God the French fries were out-of-this-world good. I needed to fill up on something! Unfortunately I can only dream about the taste of those onion rings.

Dessert was a disappointing $10 plate of milk and cookies. Of the five cookies the chocolate chip stood out, but the chocolate cookie was still too petrified to thoroughly enjoy. Warming them would have been nice but after the French fry/onion ring request, I was not about to ask for any favors.

Excellent margarita, good service, food with an off-night equals 2 Stars. Hopefully Obama had a better meal.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Monday Manners: Rule #88 | Bar Stool Etiquette

Rule #88: Bar Stool Etiquette

Bar stools are valuable real estate. You have a right to protect them. If a customer sits down and wants to save a seat for a friend let him, as long as the friend is expected soon and the bar isn't three deep. However, if the customer tries to save stools for more than one friend, and it's busy, tell him that your restaurant has a first come, first serve policy. If the customer looks desperate or irritated, tell him that you'll keep his friends in mind and will help them get a spot once they arrive.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Non-Traditional Easter Lunch

I love traditions. I really do. St. Patrick's Day, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve are some of the holidays where I always follow the same schedule and eat the same foods.

On Easter I usually have intense cravings for giant chocolate bunnies, peeps, and black jelly beans. I also like to call and torment my sister by bringing back the childhood memory of the melted bunny. One Sunday as kids we each scored the largest Sees Candy bunny you've ever seen. But when we got back from church, her bunny, which had been left on her window sill, had been reduced to a puddle of milk chocolate in the bottom of a box. I didn't call her today about that or eat any of my favorite Easter foods. Maybe I'm finally growing up.

Or maybe not. Towards the end of today's Easter church service all I could think about was a dark beer and a hot dog. I felt a little guilty about that, since I'm fairly sure my thoughts were supposed to be focused on the Resurrection and not on the state of my BBQ. But there I was, craving potato salad, chips, watermelon, a dog and a beer on a day when deviled eggs and honey roasted hams are on tables across America. But something tells me that Jesus wouldn't really care. If he saw my plate he probably would have pulled up a chair.

Saturday Night Dinner: Lasagna and Red Wine

As of April 23, 2011, I am still in search of the perfect lasagna recipe. This is the sixth new recipe I've made this year and I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

The cooking part went well and the directions were easy to follow, but the spice made my eyes water and the dryness left me overly thirsty. I liked the idea of making a spice to mix in with the turkey meat, and may try tweaking it if I use this recipe as a base.

This is what it took:
Meat Mixture
Saute an onion and three cloves of garlic
Mix in 1 pound of turkey meat and homemade spice mix (1 tablespoon each of paprika, salt, garlic powder, cayenne, pepper, thyme, and oregano)
Pour in a jar of your favorite tomato sauce
Bring to a boil then remove from heat and set aside

Cheese Mixture
8 ounces of ricotta cheese
1 cup of Romano cheese
2 cups of mozzarella cheese
2 egg whites
2 cups of spinach
1/4 cup of basil

Boil 12 noodles and set aside

Layer the ingredients: meat, noodles, meat, cheese, noodles, meat, cheese, noodles. Cover the top layer with mozzarella cheese.

Cook covered at 350 for 45 minutes, then remove cover and cook for 20 minutes more. Broil for 3 minutes to brown the cheese, then let the lasagna sit to cool and settle for 15.

Next time? Less spicy spice, more sauce and fresh basil.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Bellini with Strawberry

If you are hosting an Easter Brunch this Sunday, surprise your guests with this pleasing twist on the traditional Bellini. Although usually made with a fresh peach, we are currently in strawberry season. Every berry I've tasted is so sweet that I just had to find another excuse to use them.

Bottle of Champagne
Peach schnapps

Step 1: Clean your strawberries and cut the tops off.

Step 2: Place the strawberries in a small dish and pour in peach schnapps until strawberries are submerged. Soak overnight, rotating once or twice.

Step 3: Drop strawberry into a champagne flute with a little of the peach schnapps liqueur

Step 4: Pour in chilled champagne and serve

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tell It Tuesdays: Fairmont | Santa Monica

Restaurant: Fairmont Hotel | Santa Monica
                   Address: 101 Wilshire Blvd
                   Santa Monica, CA 90401

Drink Damage: Blueberry Thyme Cocktail | $14
                       Cucumber Lemonade | $14

Exterior Swag: The black bottom pool is surrounded by palm trees and large enough to find a corner for some private conversation. Lots of lounge chairs and an attentive housekeeping department and wait staff to keep you happy. But dress for the water, even if you don't plan to swim. The lounge chairs hug the pool so that even a toddler's kicks will soak you.

Food & Drinks: The drinks were delicious, though I'm really not sure if there was more than 1/2 an ounce of alcohol in each. Our party favored the Blueberry Thyme cocktail, as the cucumber really overpowered the ingredients in the other drink. Our food order was completely wrong and also inedible due to a hair in one item, but the friendly staff made up for the mishap with their politeness and apologies. Hard to get too upset on a beautiful day outside with friends. We do recommend the mushroom and spinach quesadilla (and suggest asking for extra salsa and guacamole), but the menu choices are extremely limited.

Service: Although our order was wrong the first time, I was impressed with how quickly our waiter (his first day) was able to get our replacement food. Hotel poolside service is typically really slow, and I'm sure our server had something to do with getting it expedited quickly.

Go-Back-Again-Ness: For families staying at this hotel, the pool side service will be perfect for a soda or a lemonade. People looking for strong drinks and a lively setting should probably choose another spot.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Manners: Rule #17 | Foreign Objects (or Creatures)

Rule #17: How to Handle Foreign Objects in Bar Food

It's going to happen at some point in your career. You will serve a hot, fresh plate of chicken wings or potato skins or escargot and somewhere on the food will be something gross. In my years I've seen hair, flies, bone... even a finger from a latex glove. Here's how to handle it:

1. Remove the plate IMMEDIATELY
2. Apologize right away, and let the customer know you will RUSH a new order
3. If the meal took a long time to prepare, and the customer wants to wait for a new one, comp something. If you can, comp the meal. Otherwise a dessert or their drink. The dining experience shouldn't be ruined because of something that wasn't their fault
4. If the meal is quick or inexpensive bar food, you may not need to comp anything as long as you can replace their meal within minutes
5. If the customer has already finished most of their meal, and bringing a new meal isn't an option, you will have no choice but to take the order off the bill

FInd out what your bar's policy is and do what you can to keep your customers returning.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Cornered

Tom (as I shall call him) was adored by our waitress staff. When I say adored, I mean hugs and kisses every time he walked through the door, and he walked through our door every single night. He tipped 30% - 40% every time and often invited the waitresses to sit down with him after their shift so he could buy them a drink. He always sat at the same table, ordered the same cocktail, and was never alone. Half the time his company was a friend his age (early 60's), and the rest of the time it was two or three young women.

To this day I cannot put my finger on what it was about Tom that made me uneasy from the moment I shook his hand. I did not trust him. He'd been dining at this restaurant and bar since I was in elementary school and knew more of the regulars than I did. Well respected and extremely successful in his field, he was liked by everyone. No wife, no kids, but lots and lots of friends.

I had been on the job for one week and had short conversations with him each evening. This particular Saturday night he stayed later than usual. All the customers had left, the music was turned off, and the busboys and I were patiently waiting for Tom's conversation with his buddy to end. I decided to make a quick restroom stop before heading home.

The door that led to the restrooms was narrow, and the waiting area in front of the single stall bathrooms was the size of a closet. When I came out of the lady's room, Tom was there waiting for me. I remember taking a step backwards and feeling even more uncomfortable to be halfway in the bathroom.

"Hey, would you mind giving me a ride home?" he asked.

I learned in the previous days that he lived a few blocks away and that the girls often gave him a lift home. Never in a million years would I ever EVER give some customer a ride home, I said to myself. EVER. I was floored that he was even asking me.

"Oh, I'm so sorry but I really gotta run." I tried to inch myself towards the door to the restaurant but Tom wasn't budging out of the way.

He persisted. "I'm just a few blocks up the street and my friend just took off. It would really help me out."

I don't know what I was thinking or why I said yes, but next thing I knew I was driving Tom up the block in my little two-door sports car. He hadn't stopped talking since the second we left the bathroom and I couldn't stop screaming "you stupid idiot" to myself in my head. To this day I'm still ashamed of not having the courage to say he could find his way home on his own two feet just fine.

When we pulled up in front of his condo and he was still talking away about God knows what. It was midnight. I had tuned out everything he was saying, only able to focus on getting home in one piece. Literally.

Then the car was silent.

"It's been really nice talking with you, Jordan."

"Yeah, sure. See you at the bar." I was short, and serious, and borderline rude. But it didn't not get him any closer to opening his door.

"Actually, there is a coffee shop just up the street that's open until 2:30. Want to go get a cup and talk some more?"

I looked at him like he was out of his mind. "My husband is waiting for me and I need to get home, Tom."

He immediately looked down at my hand, as if to confirm wether I was telling the truth. The expression on his face when he saw my wedding band? Shock. Embarrassment. Exposure. And unforgettable.

"Oh...oh...of course. Thanks for the ride."

He jumped out, waved goodbye, and never asked for a ride from me again.

From then on, anyone who told me he was just a sweet, generous older man who wanted nothing more than a friendship from all the gorgeous single waitresses who drank with him and drove him home, I knew differently.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Hot Toddy

The Hot Toddy is the perfect, almost medicinal solution to a long day at work. People often drink it when slightly under the weather, because it will clear the sinuses after only a few sips.

2 ounces whiskey
3 ounces hot water
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Garnish with a cinnamon stick

Step 1: Pour whiskey into the glass
Step 2: Mix in the honey until dissolved
Step 3: Add the lemon juice
Step 4: Pour in hot water a stir until ingredients are well mixed

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trinket Tuesday: Wine Tags

As you know, I'm a huge fan of Fred, a company that creates all kinds of trinkets for the wine and spirits consumer. I picked this one up after washing my metal glass charms in the dishwasher too many times. Yes, those fancy charms are easy to take off but once in a while laziness gets the better of me and I just stick them in the machine. Sadly, rusty miniature corkscrews aren't as cute as one may think.

Fred's rubber "charms" are good in that they won't rust, bend out of shape, or be confused for earrings as the night wears on. However, I'd rate the assembly as moderate to expert if you've had a few. The opening to slide the tag through is narrow and sticky, requiring steady hands so as not to shatter your wine glass while trying to protect it from those who try to claim the glass as theirs. So do yourself and your guests a favor and attach the bands before you open any wine.

And of course, lines like, "quietly dignified," "mild yet not bland," and "fruity, firm & well-packed" are great ice breakers, or conversation openers for the aspiring oenologist.

Visit their website at

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Manners: Rule #34 | Glassware

Rule #34: Check Glassware Before Serving

Receiving a cocktail in a chipped, cracked, spotty, lipstick smudged or food clumped glass immediately gives the impression that:

a) the bartender has no pride in her craft
b) the entire restaurant and bar is filthy
c) the kitchen is operating on subpar machinery
d) the bartender is too distracted to pay attention when making drinks
e) all of the above

I would choose "e." To avoid any of these impressions, take the time to clean and/or polish your glassware before opening for business. Or, at the very least, inspect the glass on a made-to-order basis. Your efforts, as small as they seem, will be appreciated.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Weekend Night Dinner: Margaritas & Chicken Enchiladas

Sometimes planning our dinners at home on Saturday nights are built around a cocktail. After a week of some amazing wines, we had a taste for a Margarita (for our regular blog readers, this is no surprise). My San Diego roots require a fix of Mexican food at least once a week, and since I hadn't made chicken enchiladas in a long time, I decided upon that meal. The prep work does take some time, but overall this meal is easy and extremely satisfying.

Chicken Enchiladas (makes 8)
4 chicken breasts
8 ounces sour cream
1 brown onion
1 package of 8 tortillas
2 cans of red enchilada sauce
1 package of cheddar cheese
Black olives
Salt & pepper to taste
Vegetable oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Boil chicken breasts for 20 minutes, then lower heat to medium and cook ten minutes more. Let chicken breasts stand on a plate for a few minutes, then shred them with a fork. Saute onions until soft and golden brown. Mix chicken with the sour cream, onions, salt, and pepper.

In a large pan, pour in enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom. Over medium heat, fry each tortilla one at a time for just a few minutes. Take the tortilla out of the pan and place it on a paper towel or cloth for a few seconds to soak up the excess oil, then scoop the chicken mixture into the center. Don't wait too long to fold them up and place seam down into a baking dish, or the tortilla will become too hard to bend.

Place each enchilada into a baking dish and coat the tortillas with the 2 cans of red enchilada sauce. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the 8 enchiladas. Bake for 25 minutes. While cooling, top with black olives and jalapenos as desired.

Guacamole (serves 4)
4 avocados
1 onion, grated
1/4 cup jalapeno juice
2 lemon wedges
Salt & Pepper to taste

Halve and scoop out each avocado. Finely grate the onion (I don't usually use the entire onion) and add to the avocados. Add jalapeno juice, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mash to desired consistency and serve. And most importantly, don't forget our perfect Margarita recipe!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Balance as a Bartender

Written by Guest Writer, Ashley Sawyer

Look, being a cute girl and getting good tips is par for the course when working in a bar. I had the fortune, or rather misfortune, of working a morning shift in a small, rundown bar in an older area of Culver City. On the upside, even during the 7:00 am - 12:00 pm shift, I still had a great group of regulars who stopped in to see me and catch the occasional early football game. Most of these regulars were retired gentleman who used the bar as a place to catch up with former co-workers and enjoy a little of my youthful company. One of these gentlemen in particular, Bill, always flirted with me and left me a generous tip. 

I never took his advances seriously. I just thought he enjoyed riffing with a young twenty something to spice up his seventy something lifestyle. His wife had passed away a few years earlier and his kids where busy with their own lives. Bill used me as a touchstone to check-in with someone and as an activity to look forward to. Thankfully he never drank too much and enjoyed the socializing aspect of the bar scene more so than the drinking itself. Since he was rather tame, I too, genuinely liked chatting with him. 

One day, however, Bill seemed struck with a bit more courage than usual. He pressed me for my number and I did my best to strike the perfect balance of kind, but stern when I told him no, "we're just friends, here at the bar." This is a hard and disappointing balance to strike with many regulars who see you, the bartender, as a good friend. Because they are paying you tips, many regulars desire and even expect more intimacy. As a female, it's essential to strike that intimacy balance for safety's sake. 

When Bill left that morning he slipped me my tip. Normally it was always super generous, like $20.00 for a $4 beer. But that day it was even more special... he left me his card with his personal info and on the back, he scribbled "private number."  To my shock, the card accompanied a $100 bill.

My position never changed with Bill. As long as I was behind the bar, he could chat with me and I would serve him well. But despite his efforts, he finally understood that as soon as my shift was over, I was out the door without him or any other regulars from the bar. As tempting as it might be to let your guard down with friendly, generous regulars, we as female bartenders must never forget that this is a business and you can never really assume to know the patron's intentions. Always set your boundaries, even to the charming customers!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Non-Alcoholic Lemon Mimosa

Throwing a baby shower? Having a party and want to offer something non-alcoholic that still has the bubbles and sweetness of a Mimosa? Try this excellent concoction.

3/4 cup of lemonade powder mix
8-10 cups ginger ale
4 cups frozen raspberries (or however many you'd like)
4 cups ice
garnish with lemon slices
serve in champagne flutes
makes 12 cups

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tell It Tuesdays: Taste | Los Angeles

Restaurant: Taste
8454 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Drink Damage: Flora Springs 2006 Cab | $58 a bottle

Interior Swag: The restaurant is comfortable and unpretentious. Low lighting allows for intimacy but it's not so dark that you can't see the food on your plates.

Service: Our waitress was wonderful (and very sweet to insist on offering the specials even after we ordered). When we were trying to decide on which bottle of wine to get, the waitress offered to bring us a sample of the Flora Springs. She poured a tasting into miniature wine glasses despite having several tables during a busy Tuesday night. I was also pleased with the fact that she let us stay a while past closing while the staff cleaned up.

Food & Drinks: The brown rice cecca was a bit of a disappointment. The noodles were overcooked and the dish lacked flavor, despite a generous amount of chopped tomatoes and basil. Luckily the wine was a meal in itself and so balanced that my taste buds were completely content.

Go-Back-Again-Ness: I've had other dishes at this restaurant that I enjoyed, so when I dine there again I know what to stay clear of.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Manners: Rule #146

Rule #146: Open the Guest's Bottle of Wine

When you invite people into your own home for a meal, and your guests bring wine as the hostess gift, open it. Do not put it in your wine cellar or save it for the second or third bottle of the evening. Uncork the wine right away, open it up with a decanter while you all take pleasure in a cocktail, and then enjoy the wine with the people who brought it. Wine should be shared, not squandered.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Bad, Bad Bartender

Written by Guest Blogger, Emily Vollmer

I was a terrible bar tender.  I was planning a move to California, and wanted to learn a skill that would be useful in any locale, and I theorized that wherever you go there are bars.  A friend’s sister owned a small neighborhood bar and restaurant, and she agreed to let me learn the trade on Sunday nights from five to closing—Sundays being slow, it would be hard for me to screw things up.

The patrons were NASCAR enthusiasts and the bar offered an 85 cent draft special during the race.   I thought I’d be learning to mix drinks with exotic names, and garnish them with slices of colorful fruit.  Oh, and the little swords.  I was disappointed to find bartending was primarily made up of twisting off bottle caps, and pouring draft beer into glasses.  It was sort of like realizing that you don’t get the toe shoes and tulle skirt at the first ballet lesson—most things aren’t as glamorous as they appear to be from the outside looking in.

The patrons would sit and give advice over glasses of MGD and bottles of Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Marty could tell you the best Hooters restaurants to visit up and down the I-75 corridor.  He had a t-shirt from each one.  Once, walking across the street to go home he was run over by a Jeep.  He was so drunk that he just stood right up, brushed himself off, and walked on home.  We theorized that his body was so loose from the drinking that it saved his life. 

Ann was another regular.  She was on disability, although I’m fairly sure her primary disability was her alcoholism.  She once gave me the sound advice to never buy glass topped furniture.  If you come home drunk, and pass out on your coffee table you can be cut to smithereens by the broken glass shards.  I’m fairly sure she was speaking from experience. 

Big Mike whistled through his teeth when said words with s’s.  He’d sit and order one Miller Lite after another, then mid-way through his drinking he’d order “a plate of cheese, just cheese.”  He was a horrible tipper.  During the week, I was studying to become an English teacher.  He said that he’d heard that all English teachers were lesbians.  Looking back maybe that was a ploy to get me to prove that I wasn’t, but I think I said something along the lines of, “No, that’s just what they tell you, Mike.”  One night, he called his son to come get him, but his designated driver was coked up and ran his pick-up truck into the corner of the Laundromat next door.  I think embarrassment, and fear of arrest kept him away after that.

I did learn to make a martini, a Manhattan, and any number of suggestively named shots.  I learned to drink from a shot glass without touching it.  I learned that not all bars are exciting places where young people dance, meet members of the opposite sex, and barf in the alleys.  I learned that some bars serve as a place for the lonely and disenfranchised to congregate.   I learned that I pity people who live on barstools.  I think a good bartender is able to do his or her job without being judgmental.  I was a terrible bartender.

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who ordered beer from me