When a Guy Walks Into a Bar

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Photo by Emery Co. Photo/FlickrCC


Now that New York's Department of Health is investigating raw egg whites in cocktails, do you look like a career criminal if you follow your drink with steak tartare and a Caesar Salad? Is it weird to order a Fairy from Hell cocktail when you're in a gay bar? You're visiting the Bay area and want a Dirty Martini. Would it be just a little more pc to order a Mai Tai instead, since the Mai Tai is now the official drink of Oakland? (Don't ask.)

Will your vegan drinking buddies believe you when you tell them that Bakon Vodka isn't made with real bacon? And speaking of "carnivorous cocktails," do you want the ham and cheese sandwich or the Ham & Cheese cocktail, "an Iberico Pata Negra Ham-infused Hennessy-based cocktail augmented with lime, honey, and cinnamon, and a Manchego cheese tuile?"

Has drinking turned into an ACLU cause, a trend, a food substitute, a statement, an in-joke, a way to divert a drinker's attention away from the skyrocketing local crime rate?

And you think your Mojito is muddled ...

SITUATION: You open a very pricey bottle of vintage Calvados as an after-dinner treat for you and your guests. One of your guests sniffs what you've just poured into her glass. "What do you think?" you ask. She swirls it around and says, "It smells like a dead animal."

"As someone who teaches tasting of wines and beverages (and just received the Luca Maroni Sense of Wine Journalist of the Year 2010), I am very open to people's olfactory responses. We know that some Sauvignon Blanc reminds people of cat pee, and other wines and liqueurs have been described as foxy, skunky, musky, and more. So I would ask my guest 'Which dead animal does it remind you of?' If she gets huffy, I would suggest a series of dead animals (cats, geese, rhinoceri) to help her focus her thoughts and sharpen her perceptions. I would never criticize her sensory abilities, but encourage her to take her observations to their fullest realization. And then taste the damn Calvados already, because it is exquisite and you will have a great experience!"
-Fred Plotkin, the author of nine books. The updated 5th edition of his definitive Italy for the Gourmet Traveler will be published in May.

"'Wow...That's very interesting. You know, that stuff has fatty acids in it. Most people can't smell them. You must be very sensitive. Here, just pour it into my glass, and let me get you a Tía María...'"
-Colman Andrews, a founding editor of Saveur and Gourmet's last restaurant columnist.

SITUATION: Four of you are dining in a lovely restaurant in Savannah. You order a bottle of Sancerre for the table. To your amazement, your waitress pours the entire bottle into four wine glasses—right to the brim, then takes away the empty bottle. You can't even lift your glass it's so full. What to do?

"Filling wine to the top of a glass is unacceptable, and I've seen it done many times to sell an additional bottle of wine. I should be able to stick my nose into the glass to enjoy the aromatics without my nostrils swimming in wine. I would ask the waitress to pour wine from the glasses back into the bottle or bring me another bottle and four clean glasses. If she disagrees, then it is time to talk with a manager."
-Scott Pactor, owner of Appellation Wine & Spirits

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