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The Bar: it’s logical!

A great bar calls for logic!

For every move on the bar – from the way the glasses and bottles are arranged to how a drink is made – there is a strong logical reason. I pick a glass first because I want to make sure that it’s there when I finish making my cocktail, ready and waiting.

Instead of looking for the glass after I’m done and finding it’s not there; or setting aside a group of glasses to remind me of the various orders I have on my slip.

I fill a martini glass with ice before making it so that it is nice and cold, allowing the drink to stay icy longer while being imbibed. It’s a stemmed glass for the exact same reason: so that the palm doesn’t start warming up the drink faster than I can finish it!

I shake a drink as I want all the ingredients I’ve used to come together into a nice, smooth blend. Not because someone said so. I arrange my bar in a way that aligns with the way I work.

Everything I need to work effectively and efficiently is within an arm’s reach. It makes sense to do that. It’s logical.

See the relevance

Every so often while teaching a class I stare back at the kids in wonder. I’m in awe that they take every word that comes out of my mouth as gospel truth; that the internet is all-knowing and always right.

They look at me all surprised when I tell them that it’s ok to question what I say or the internet. That unless they understand why they are doing something and how that affects the outcome, they will never be able to correct the wrong!

The principle works reasonably well outside of the bar too; in the work place or in life. Question everything; see the relevance. Make changes if they feel right. Irrespective of how long someone’s being doing it.

Logic is a powerful tool. It always works. Think about this strange breed called vastu experts, numerologists and astrologists. They promise you the sun, the moon, the stars and more if you change your doors, windows.

Or turn yourself into Shobhaaa, or Rahuule, or worse. They feed on your insecurity to assure you of stuff that’s almost never happening. If it does, it’s always because you worked your butt off to make it happen. Pure logic.

Some years ago I had a small bar project where the vastu chap made us the relocate the bar from a nice long open space to a tiny, cramped location under a mezzanine. This was so that the bar and the cashier could be together in the perfectly aligned position. That’s how all the money would come tumbling into the cash registers and that cup would overflow.

I tried every reasonable explanation on how that would not work. That finding bartenders that were all 5’2” (so they’d actually be able to stand and work) was a nightmare. I even asked the client if his pandit had a money-back policy in case it didn’t work out!

It bombed in less than 6 months. The gods couldn’t have been pleased!

‘Bloody John’?

Mine was the Bloody Mary. Tradition insisted on a RolyPoly glass, a stubby, cup-like receptacle. There was reason. It was created at a Paris bar by bartender Fernand Petiot, meant to reflect the “cup” of blood (“Bloody” Mary?!).

It was named after Queen Marie Antoinette, who was put to the guillotine when she asked why her starving subjects wouldn’t eat cake if there was no bread! Or Mary Queen of Scots, who was called Bloody Mary as she caused the massacre of so many Protestants in her quest to re-establish the Catholic Church.

There are still more stories where these come from. After the demise of the RolyPoly, it progressed to being served in the old fashioned whisky tumbler or rocks glass. I mulled it over in my mind and decided that it just had to be a really elegant glass with a bit of a waist.

Either queen, French or English, deserved it. I mean, it was a Bloody Mary dammit, not a Bloody John! My peers in the industry were horrified and decided that I gone mad.

But it worked. The customers loved the new avatar and our technique. They didn’t care that we were using long green chilies, carrot and radish sticks in place of the staid celery. On occasion we use barbecued shrimp, crisp bacon or even parmesan.

An end result that its audience appreciates is what finally matters. Guess who complained? A bar manager wrote, “Great drink, wrong garnish and glass.” Loved that even more!