A Bartender's Guide to Measuring Up in your Relationships

Archive for the ‘Drinking’ Category

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I Have Mixed Drinks About Feelings

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It seems perplexing that people all over the world continue to drink even when they don’t like what they’re drinking, or alcohol in general. Really it’s not that much of a mystery. Most people drink, not for love of a particular alcohol itself, but for how alcohol makes them feel. Their “preferences” for brand or type are also still all about the feeling– “cheap liquor gives me a bad hangover.”
“Gin makes me violent.”
“Hennessey makes me feel sexy.”
“I feel more in control with wine than liquor. “
Even though millions are spent on creating–and subsequently selling–numerous varieties of flavored liquor to make alcohol more paletable, you still wouldn’t drink that apple-flavored whatever if you didn’t enjoy how it made you feel afterwards.

Those who settle for cheap liquor when they can’t afford what they really want–whether for taste or quality–have resolved that the feelings they’ll get–or get to escape–are worth the negative side affects of the choice they make. Many people will continue to drink, even when they’re not supposed to, (for health reasons, legal troubles, or otherwise,) simply because of how it makes them feel.

Let’s face it, drinking is all about the feels.

Often we fall for people, not for who they are, but rather for how they make us feel. That’s the euphoria we get at the beginning of a relationship. It’s the thing that makes us want to keep being around that person. The problem is when red flags are present and we ignore them to have those feelings. The more time spent though, the more we get to see our lovers for who they really are and not just who they are to us. A disconnect happens when we dislike who they are more than we like how they make/made us feel.

We often stay too long in relationships that should end because we’re petrified we’ll never get those types of feelings from anyone else. And we date the people we think we deserve; meaning, if you don’t think very highly of yourself, you’ll find someone who agrees, and treats you accordingly. But that something is seen as better than nothing at all.
This is also why we take it so badly when someone rejects us, breaks up with us, or doesn’t like us. In our minds, we feel like they’re saying there’s something “wrong” with us.
Don’t take it personally. Them not liking you says more about what they need at the time then who you are. It doesn’t mean you’re wrong, nor that they’re right. When feelings are involved, it’s not personal. Nothing ever really is.

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One Shot At A Time

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A liver can only filter one alcoholic drink per hour at a time. And it takes 45 minutes after the last drink is consumed to feel the full affects of all of the alcohol. That means, if you consume, say, 4 drinks in 50 minutes, your liver is only working on one of them, while the rest lie in wait til their turn to be processed. This is how a person can go from completely ok to shit-faced, unexpectedly. They’re not giving their body enough time to adapt and adjust to what’s happening.
The more you drink, the harder the liver has to work. Now the liver feels stressed and overwhelmed, discombobulated, trying to undo what’s been done to it. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald described it best, saying, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
Have a drink with bubbles,–such as a Rum & Coke or champagne,–and the intoxication factor is increased. Even more so still if the soda is diet. The best idea to avoid becoming a casualty of this scenario is to alternate alcoholic beverages with one without liquor, like water, either drinking them at the same time, or one after the other. This helps to cleanse the palette, and gives the body time to absorb what’s happening to it.
The same can be said for a breakup. There are some people that believe to get over heart break, they have to distract themselves with other people, so they date to dilute their true feelings. However, multiple people at one time doesn’t give your heart a chance to focus on healing with its full attention, nor is it able to give completely to anyone else.
Dating to distract may seem like all fun and games at first, but it quickly escalates to you feeling too drunk with emotions and confusion, and trying to sober up and shake off an overwhelming situation. Mistakes are made as you try to regain your composure. And more hearts get broken. Nobody’s winning.
Instead, it’s best to take time to iron out your feelings one at a time. Because trying to move on to another before letting go of the past means the feelings for someone new will be sitting on top of those hurt feelings. You might feel ok for a minute but after some time, you’ll start feeling the full effects of trying to move on when your heart wasn’t ready to.
So what’s your barometer; how do you know when you’re over one relationship and ready for the next round?

National Margarita Day

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So in honor of National Margarita Day, I’ll tell you guys about the one time I bartended a conference and made only margaritas:

I make really good margaritas. Like, really good. So when a lady came to the bar asking for a drink–but undecided about whether to get a cocktail or glass of wine–I suggested a margarita.
It was a beautiful spring day, one of the first warm days of the season for Michigan, and Friday afternoon, so that seemed perfect. I convinced her to let her hair down and have a refreshing cocktail. She agreed and the rest was history.
She raved about how good her drink was, which made the other ladies want to try one. They ordered several rounds. And, because they had made up their minds,–after ordering one from the other bartender–that mine were better, they refused to let the other bartender make any. She became in charge of grabbing more limes and restocking glasses. I got a hand cramp from all the limes I squeezed–(fresh lime juice is key).
I made 36 margaritas that day. Only one person ordered something different, a glass of white wine, but for her second drink she gave in and got a margarita, then cursed the fact that she didn’t have that to begin with. The power of persuasion is a real thing.

As a bartender, it’s imperative to encourage customers to buy certain things; to upsell, be able to charge more, and earn a bigger profit. That’s how liquor promos work too: they place a bunch of advertisements all over a bar and wait for the magic to happen. You may think you choose that Heineken or Cirôc, but likely your subconscious did from seeing an ad.

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The same thing happened when, looking for some excitement one night at work, I decided to make my bar customer’s otherwise ordinary margarita, blue. (*Secret bartender stuff: triple sec, the orange liqueur used in many drinks, is the same thing as blue Curacao, used in most blue drinks. I simply swapped one for the other.*) The customer was put off at first, but after some convincing, she tried it, and love it. It was an ordinary drink made more extraordinary with one small change.
And others noticed it as well. For the rest of the night, even if they came to the bar for something else, once they got there and saw the blue drink, people asked for it simply because it “looked pretty.” Those same people would probably never have asked for a margarita. I increased my sales, and my demand, and ultimately my client base who came only to me after that, (cuz, like I said, I make really good margaritas.;))

*People want what they think they want based on what others have.*

Keep this in mind when thinking about relationships. How your significant other seems to become more significant to others once they become yours. Those wanting a relationship like yours can easily confuse their desire to have what you have with your boo, to wanting your boo to be theres. Or the way an ex becomes more appealing after you’ve seen them with their new boo.
Hearing someone sing praises about something raises our antennas and makes us want to see what all the fuss is about. Now, luckily for me, my margaritas lived up to the hype, but that isn’t always the case, and you have to be mindful of what you’re sacrificing for this curious choice. Trying a new, pretty drink is nothing as far as risk is concerned compared to experimenting with your relationship,–or someone else’s,–because that over there looks nice. You have to make sure it’s worth the chance. But, it can be rewarding to step out of your comfort zone to try something refreshing and new.

Titles Are Important

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     A few years back when Cirôc came on the scene, customers were ordering it most out of all the other vodkas. Ordinary vodka/crans or vodka and lemonade became Cirôc specific. My first inclination as the bartender was to grab the original Cirôc. However Cirôc has six flavors, and customers often wanted one of the others, yell out me, “Redberry” or “I meant Peach,” sometimes after I’ve poured the liquor. The lack of clarity messed both of us up. It got to the point where every time someone ordered Cirôc I had to asked, “What kind?” It shouldn’t surprise me that people rarely ever order the original, yet I was surprised how often they didn’t say specifically what they wanted, leaving it up to me to assume.

Titles are important. A title gives others an idea of what’s to be expected and draws a clear boundary for both you and the person(s) you’re involved with. That’s why we have labels.

      Much the way a Cosmo ceases to be so if it’s made with tequila instead of vodka,–(it becomes a cranberry margaritas, and even that’s a stretch)–when you change the basic formula of a thing, a main ingredient, it takes a new form. Calling it a Cosmo won’t make that anymore true than if you go on two dates with a guy then start calling him your husband. Because there are steps that have to take place, decisions to be made; and those decisions have to be expressed out loud by calling it but a proper name.
     Having a title implies that there’s a recipe to be followed. A recipe gives us structure, organization, an order with which to abide. Even when there are several ways to make the same drink, the basics remain the same–a Manhattan is still a Manhattan if u add bitters or not, forget the cherry, or put it in a rocks glass. However, a Manhattan becomes another drink entirely if made with cognac instead of bourbon.
     Relationships are structured that way as well. Like those party shooters at a nightclub, relationships have layers, that often overlap, but the entire structure is altered if one or more of the elements are missing or changed. A title defines what’s happening, for those involved and outsiders, and clarifies what can take place within those boundaries, and what cannot. Without a title,–knowing what to call what you have,– you or your significant other are left to interpret what you will and create your own boundaries, or lack thereof.
     I’ve heard many people describe their relationships by saying, “He/She knows what it is.” I usually follow that up by asking, “So you’ve talked about what you are?” I’m left dumbfounded when I hear in reply, “No, but they know.”
      It’s never a good idea to assume the person you’re seeing is on the same page that you are. Everyone comes to relationships with an agenda, but often our agendas are not the same as others. It’s not safe to think your significant other just knows if no conversation has been had.
     And then there are those times when I hear people say, “What we have doesn’t need a title; it can’t be defined.” I cringe a little inside. I’ll admit I’ve been a victim of what at first seems like a romantic statement. But honestly, that’s horseshit wrapped in a Tiffany bow. That’s that person’s way of saying, either, that they’re confused, or he/she is trying not to hurt your feelings; neither of which is a good thing. Because, as the saying goes, saying nothing speaks volumes. If someone can’t –or won’t–define what you have, it’s likely it’s nothing serious.

     Just think of it like being hired for a new job. There’s no way in the world you’d do it without knowing what your title is, what’s expected of you. You’d want to know if the title you’re getting is beneath you, or important, if there’s room for advancement or if it’s temporary at best. Remember this the next time you or someone else says titles aren’t important.

     What’s your barometer? What parameters do you use to define your relationships and are you discussing them with others?

“Never Have I Ever” …Been In Love

   

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     “Drinking games are stupid; at least the competitive ones are. The ones where the purpose is to take shots or chug beer to see who can handle the most liquor the best. The one who drinks the most wins. The reward is usually puking, a hangover, or worse, alcohol poisoning. What a prize.
     Most often, the purpose of the game is to get completely wasted and see who can hold their liquor the best. Pride keeps participants from saying ‘when‘ long after they’re past drunk.
     Drinking games are kind of like the childhood game ‘Say Uncle:‘ where one kid twists another one’s arm with increasing intensity until the one being pinned can’t take anymore and screams ‘Uncle!’
     The people that were the best at it were the ones who held out the longest or never gave in. However, while they appear to be the winners, really they were the ones in the most pain–and the pain lasted longer than that of their peers–because they wouldn’t just surrender to the feeling when it was safe to do so. Some people are so proud that they would rather risk guaranteed pain to avoid appearing weak to–and possibly being hurt by–someone else.
     When you love someone, there is no room for pride. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing out on love. You have to decide which is more important to you, a relationship or your pride, but you can’t have both. And, contrary to what some may believe, love is stronger than pride, because even if you let pride win, the love doesn’t just go away. Only now, instead of a chance at happiness, you’re left with that unsettling feeling that asks, ‘What if I’m really missing out on something?’
     When you’re afraid to let down your guard it’s because you are afraid of looking weak. But you have to be a little vulnerable for love to work. You don’t decide to fall in love with someone, it just happens; so you can’t decide to only if they love you back. When you love someone, it’s not supposed to be because you’re trying to get something back. It’s about what you can give. And though you may want to win their heart, it’s not a competition.” So what’s your barometer? At what point will you decide it’s safe to let down your guard?

Except from The Barometer: A Bartender’s Guide To Measuring Up In Your Relationships