How To Order A Drink…

Now this is going to sound as though it’s bordering on the patronising; and in fairness maybe it is, but over the last few years we’ve noticed a sharp decline in people’s ability to self-determine what they’d like to drink. It sounds odd I’m sure, but one of the biggest problems we face each shift is trying to extract exactly what the customer wants. More often than not you can end up feeling like a blood-obsessed geologist, with a strange penchant for drilling.

‘Surely it’s not that hard?’ I imagine you’re thinking, purely because it neatly sits within the narrative of this piece. But no, it’s a beyond difficult process that requires the finesse of a surgeon and the coaxing skills of a particularly wily hostage negotiator. It’s true that this is indeed part of the job but by the Beard of Zeus can it be a struggle at times.

It’s not that we’re inept at the art of deciphering what someone wants when they ask for a ‘dry, long gin drink’ or the ever present ‘something fruity’, it’s that, when push comes to enthusiastic shove, people don’t seem to have a damned clue as to what they want. We’re more than happy to guide people to something amazing, but when confronted with the idea that they literally have no idea what they want in the first place it becomes just a tad more difficult.

To not know what type of vermouth you want in your bespoke Martini is not a problem many of us have – and that’s more than fair enough. We’re the experts, not you guys, and that’s literally a definition of our job when it comes down to it. Helping people make the correct decision using our (hopefully) greater knowledge of what we serve is one of the most rewarding and necessary parts of our job. But we’re not talking about this right now, we’re talking about the ever more present apathy that seems to signal that not only do people not know what they want, they barely care…

The situation could be described thusly;

Bartender – Hi there folks, what would you like to drink?

Customer – I don’t know

Bartender – that’s cool, we’ve got the cocktail menu here, the wines are at the back, the beer menu is on the board and the spirits are behind me. What kind of thing are you after?

Customer – I don’t know

Bartender – Cool. Cool cool cool. Well, would you like a cocktail maybe?

Customer – I don’t know

Bartender – Well maybe a beer, do you like lagers? Maybe a stout? Or we have a particularly delightful (insert Hipster Brewing Company™) Chocolate Dolphin, Gobi-Essenced Salted Porter?

Customer – I don’t know

Bartender – Coooooool. Um… Maybe a Whisky? Tom Collins? Raspberry Daiquiri? Pint of Pale Ale? Large glass of Wairu Valley 2012 Sauvignon Blanc? Baron de Sigognac 10 year old Armagnac?

Customer – I don…

Bartender – WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT TO DRINK!!?

 

And breathe…

 

This brings us neatly to the nature of choice. We have it. Lot’s of it. We have so much of it in fact that people regularly complain they have an overabundance of it.

What a notion; to have too MUCH choice…

And so, as my colleague rather frustratingly put it the other day, ‘you only have one job, tell us what you’d like to drink’.

We’ll do the rest, but for the love of all things alcoholic give us a hint.