On My Bookshelf

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"Let me point out right now that fancy twirling of spoons, flipping of glasses, and tossing bottles into the air are not the earmarks of a good bartender. Such antics not only do not produce good drinks, they slow any bartender down to a walk. Any guy who goes through a lot of gymnastics behind a bar is just putting on the flash. I've never seen one yet that made good drinks or made them fast.

"I remember a little fellow who once worked for me. His name was Joe and he was one of the best. No matter how crowded the bar was or how many orders he had, he never got nervous. He'd fill his glass with ice from a scoop, measure every drink, pick up his spoon carefully, and just work along easily with no lost motion. He made twice as many, and better, drinks as the flash-in-the-pan working in the next position, trying to put on a show.

"My advice is to make every drink as though it were to be the best you've ever made, and you can't do this if you don't measure." ~ from Bartenders Guide by Trader Vic (reprint of original edition)  


Image via Flickr user Quinn.Anya
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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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