Saw an article in the New York Post this week that scared your friendly bartender near half to death, and he doesn’t scare easily. So what was this piece that took him aback and made him get right with God, to atone for his sins against family, friends and acquaintances? Was it astrological proof, dear reader, that the long awaited planet, Nibiru (discovered by the ancient Mesopotamians), was fast approaching our solar system, ending its thirty six hundred year orbit with the promise of ending life as we know it in 2012?
Was it once and for all the scientific proof that Global Warming is real, and that if I wanted to remain a New York resident I would have to unload my spiffy apartment and invest in a spiffy houseboat to continue said residency?
No, something far worse…
The article was titled “Cocktail’s Bitter End” and the reason for that end was the end of Angostura Bitters. Can you imagine my shock? For the end of this remarkable Bar-land ingredient would not only mark the end of my cure for the hic-cups, but the end of the sacred cocktail known as the Old Fashioned. And that’s Armageddon!
Now it should be stated for clarity sake that like all rags dealing in “lurid” (they once ran the infamously classic headline, “Headless Body in Topless Bar”), the Post also majors in fear as its stock and trade… everything with them is “Code Red, run for the hills”. So, fearful though I was and sated with hope I tip-toed into this journey nonetheless wary.
Is this just a goddam come-on, I thought, to get me to read the article, or is life as we know it in Bar-land truly at an end? For a bar without Angostura Bitters, I say, is a hot dog stand without ketchup, mustard or onions!
So here are the facts as laid out by the New York Post columnists. Apparently a dispute had broken out between the parent company, C.L. Financial Group, and the company that supplies the bottles which hold this elixir, so they had to switch to a distributor coming out of China. (No MSG, please!) This in turn led to backlogged orders as distribution fell behind, and many of our bars over Christmas went without Bitters. (I know, there’s a play on words to be used with “bitter” but I used up my daily quota for puns in the blog title.) Then the article went on to sell even more fear by stating that during this dearth other brands were sampled.
Well, first of all, there aren’t other brands to be sampled, dear reader, which to my mind could even come close… it’s like using Red Devil instead of Tabasco to punch up a bland Bloody Mary… low grade gas going into a high end Rolls. And second, who in the world are these people doing the sampling? Do they have the power to end this long held tradition? What’s going on here?
Yes, if they’re sampling alternative brands, I pondered, is extinction indeed now imminent? Quit frigging yanking my apron string, Post, and get to the goddam point!
And after even more of their writerly subterfuge… more fucking dragging things out like I’m doing with you here… they finally got to their point and expert prediction. “While production is back up,” they concluded, “it isn’t expected to hit full stride til next month.”
Excuse me? Full stride next month? That’s it? That’s your whole fucking point in writing this article? You titled this expose’ “Cocktail’s Bitter End” and talked about how some bars were hoarding their stash (which made yours truly want to break into one after closing time), and how several cocktails would never, ever be the same… when all this was was a labor dispute and ultimately just a two month distribution hold-up? Have you no shame, Sir? Talk about saying, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling!” Nothing fell!
So now that I know that I’ve just been had.. lured by a lurid headline… let me address that aforementioned quick-fire atonement. Dear God, I take all that back about daily mass but I will try to pay a few visits when I get the chance. And to family and friends let me say from the heart that I half meant all those apologies, everyone knows it always takes two to tango. And to the customer this week… that mere acquaintance… I told to straighten up or his ass would be barred? I meant it! Grow up, Dude, and learn to hold your liquor.
And finally to you, Mr. New York Post, here are some words to round out my un-mea-culpa… and I quote the greatest of orators, George W. Bush. “Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me… you can’t get fooled again!”
Good heavens! I sure don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m gonna mix me a cool Manhattan with an extra dash of Bitters, and try and figure out what the hell I just said there! It’s been a very tough week.
Over and out from a well-stocked Bar-land, hope to see ya’ next week-end.