And you call yourself a bartender?

Mama said there’d be days like this (and so did I on my bio page) so here I am “crawling in Sunday morning”. And why am I late? Simple and perhaps most obvious. I went out Friday night for a dose of inspiration, came home with inebriation, and yesterday left me with nothing but nasty hangover. But I did manage to glom this anecdote from the experience…

I stopped in to see my friend Alex who handles the action at Elaine’s, a place in my neighborhood that’s long been a New York institution. This is my usual end-of-the-week stop and clearly one of my favorites (you never know who will walk into the place, more important who will crawl out) and Elaine herself is a legend for over forty years. But what really makes it for me is the fact it’s a warm and friendly bar, and Alex who tends that bar is one of the reasons.

So somewhere into this late night foray (four or five drinks in?) I decided to order a round for the people standing near me. And in a weak attempt at humor I said, after referring to the people involved, “And get Duffy a Pink Squirrel while you’re at it.” Duffy was busy counting at the time, he’s their checker when he’s not tending bar, and probably didn’t even hear my silly little crack. But that’s when the fun began because someone else did.

“So what the hell goes into a Pink Squirrel anyway?”

“Ahh, it’s ahhhh…,” was the best yours truly could come up with, “Hey Alex, what’s in a Pink Squirrel, I forget.” And I had forgotten, embarrassingly so (And you call yourself a bartender?) but so had Alex which his face quite readily revealed.  But not totally. “White Creme de Cocoa, right?” he then said.

“Yeah,” I added, “white Creme de Cocoa, all those goddam cream drinks have White Creme de Cocoa. I remember that now, that’s the constant!” (You’d have thought, dear reader, that I’d just gone and cracked the Da Vinci Code.) “But what’s that shit that makes it turn pink?” I went on.

So there we were again, alastwo longtime professionals… staring at each other like someone had handed us a trig problem. Alex then turned his back and moved down the bar.

“Creme de Noyaux,” then rang through the room, via a smiling Alex,  “It’s heavy cream, White Creme de Cocoa, Creme de Noyaux! ”

“Whoa, good call, man,” I responded, clearly impressed. “I never would’ve gotten Creme de fucking Noyaux. Well done, Al!”

Alex then flashed me an all knowing grin and held up what I guess was his cell phone (I never know what those damn things are… phones? computers? or what?) and proudly said, “I got the answer right here, baby.”

Man, I pondered (in my Neanderthal grasp of technology), years ago you’d have to drag out the Bartender’s Guide for this. That’s right, Grok… you’d have to drag out the goddam Bartender’s Guide, thumb to the section called “Cream Drinks”, or it might be under something else, and five or six minutes later you might have the answer. Now… bingo… “Creme de Noyaux, next question!”

And I did have another question which now I regret.  “Hey, Alex, and what’s that other drink none of us make anymore? You know, that green bastard.” Now  we really were at a loss because Alex couldn’t punch that in, he couldn’t punch in “What’s That Green Bastard”, so there we were again exchanging that stare.  Ahh, but since Alex was pouring and I was drinking it was he who would solve the enigma, “The Grasshopper!” he said, moments later with aplomb.

“And what goes into that?” I heard, again from that nosy customer.

“Check your goddam cell phone,” I answered with conviction.

So here’s the deal, dear reader, this little encounter  really did teach me something and not just what goes into a Pink Squirrel. .. it taught me it’s time to join the twenty first century. Yeah, why not get myself one of those toys which I swore I never would need, for out of the blue I just might be asked, “What’s in a Deep Blue Sea, and right in the palm of my hand would be the answer.

Over and out from Bar-land… see ya’ next week-end!

21 Responses to “And you call yourself a bartender?”

  1. 1 Anonymoustache January 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Those handheld devices are soooo 2009! Give it a couple of years and you’ll be able to get eyeglasses that are wireless enabled, voice activated and can act like teleprompters—so you just verbalize the question and the answer scrolls in front of your eyes and no one is the wiser! A spectacular computer, if you will.
    Actually if this has not been designed yet by someone, I want a piece of the patent.

  2. 2 Toaster January 10, 2010 at 6:16 pm


    It’s in the works. Multi-color transparent displays with high resolution have been a rather limiting factor, but a Korean company just unveiled one that works well at CES2010 (Samsung, I think) so the technology is progressing. The second problem is lightweight, long-lasting electric power to the headset. However, researchers at MIT have just developed some very impressive batteries that hold charge for hours and re-charge in seconds by laying down a nanometallic emulsion on top of regular old paper. I’d love to get my hands on some of these prototyped materials to hack.


    Be careful what kind of a contract you get yourself roped into and be certain to get a carrier plan with unlimited data transfer. Some of the carriers try to charge $1/MB of data transferred, which is a complete and total rip-off. I’m favoring an Android OS mobile whenever I manage to wear my current one out.

  3. 3 scribbler50 January 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Anonymoustache: Put me down for three, vanity prevents me from settling on just one set of frames. I’ll need a black, perhaps a tortoise and maybe azure blue. Great idea, Bro!

  4. 4 scribbler50 January 10, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Toaster: You’re amazing, man, thanks for bringing us up to date with all that. (I guess Anonymoustache loses out on the patent, eh?) And thanks for the what to look out for when I eventually sign up. You’re the man with the info!

  5. 5 d-a-p January 10, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    my wife,daughter,son-in-law,and sister know all about the “smart phones” and the “apps”…
    i’m lucky to still type…
    so how cool is the bartender’s guide on the phone…
    good stuff..

  6. 6 Donna B. January 11, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I think I’d gag if I ever saw a pink squirrel, a grasshopper, a deep blue sea next to each other. It would probably set off some perverse reaction, like ordering a Miller Lite. In a can, no glass.

    About the visual displays… my son-in-law is an Apache pilot and they have an eyepiece of sorts with an information display. He had to learn to focus one eye on it and the other on the rest of the world. Sort of. I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand it thoroughly, but the idea gave me a headache.

  7. 7 Irishirritant January 11, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Brings to mind the discussion among the 7 brothers about classic drinks…that phone would have given me the components to an “Infuriator”…how does one of those make you feel?
    Keep it up Scrib, thanks

  8. 8 Your Friend Ken January 11, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Hey Scrib, sorry I didn’t see you on Friday. I hit Elaine’s on Saturday. Add the hours of football before that stop and hitting Brandy’s after, I had the same result on Sunday morning. One heck of a hangover. I knew with enough time, you too would catch the smartphone wave.

    All the best.

  9. 9 scribbler50 January 11, 2010 at 7:28 pm

    d-a-p: It was real cool, it’s also great in a bar for settling sports arguments and trivia questions about who was in what movie, etc. And anything that settles bar arguments is a good thing!

    Donna B: Nah, you’re definitely not the Pink Squirrel type. Scotch on the rocks, right?

    Irishirritant: Is The Infuriator a drink? I couldn’t find it. And were you one of the 7 brothers?
    Hey, thanks for the encouragement.

    Ken: Yeah, I guess I’ll be catchin’ that wave!

  10. 10 Jennifer January 12, 2010 at 8:25 am

    You’d have thought, dear reader, that I’d just gone and cracked the Da Vinci Code

    I think you broke the De Noyaux code.

  11. 11 mvpalex January 12, 2010 at 8:48 am

    What’s in this,what’s in that?. For that matter lets thank Willie S for, “What’s in a name”. How many people I serve whoose names I forget, but thier libations, hardly ever! Keep up the good work Pal….

  12. 12 scribbler50 January 12, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Jennifer: You’re comment, as always, is right on “De Money” … you’re “De Best”!

    Alex: I not only agree with you and (of course) Mr. Shakespeare, but I wrote about that very thing in a blog. Go to my Archives, bring up July 18, 2009, and read “By any other name…”.
    (I noticed this morning that I actually mentioned the Pink Squirrel in it.)

  13. 13 M.A.Peel January 12, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Hath, “glom” is one of my favorite words. And a Ward 8 one of my favorite classic cocktails, and I’m not even from Boston.

  14. 14 scribbler50 January 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

    M.A. Peel: Thank God for Google (once again) else I never would’ve “glommed” what a Ward 8 is. I’d never heard of that drink and it sounds like quite a cocktail.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  15. 15 Irishirritant January 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Yes the Infuriator is drink…once found it in the UK bartenders guild guide. Which I once had access to, but have not found it lately.
    Yes, lucky enough to be one of 7, and lucky enough we are all still above room temperature.
    someday in bar land i’ll tell you about the wake where I brought up the Side Car.

  16. 16 JSaw January 15, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Ah Scribbler… great post as always.

    Have been trying to think of something witty to say about creme de noyau and arsenic poisoning (apricot pits=arsenic=main ingredient in creme de noyau), alas to no avail.

    Can’t wait for your next post buddy.

  17. 17 Anonymoustache January 15, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Maybe I can ruin it thisaways JSaw:
    If creme de noyaux has arsenic maybe it should be called creme de no you.

    Also, Toaster, thanks for the great update, man.

  18. 18 scribbler50 January 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    JSaw: You’ve just run into Bar-land’s Punster Laureate… Lord Anonymoustache. Thank you both for your wit and wisdom.

  19. 19 Katherine January 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Man when they make those fancy glasses, I better be able to get them in my prescription too, or I’ll be pissed.

  20. 20 eric January 20, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    The iPod Touch has a BUNCH of bartending apps and doesn’t need any long-term contract.

  21. 21 Issac Maez February 19, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    I like your articles on your site, but it looks as though your RSS feed is getting a 404 error? Maybe it has something to do with your host. I just thought from site owner to site owner I would warn you of this problem so you don’t miss out on potential subscribers! If it still works for you have a friend try it, could be blocking external connections.

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