DC Drinks

Reviews, rantlets and ribald on all things alcoholic.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Join DC Drinks in Celebration of Repeal Day, December 5th

As a drinker, the date December 5th should ring a warm tone in your soul. For teetotalers and prudes who don't know, December 5th, 1933 was when the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was repealed by the lovely 21st Amendment---ushering in freedom and stamping out gangsterism for a generation. It's a juicy example of democracy in action and worth a proper celebration.

Thanks in part to the efforts of Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler, DC Drinks is hosting an ad hoc Repeal Day celebration at Washington DC's oldest bar, Billy Martin's Tavern on Tuesday, December 5th starting after work and we're not going to stop celebrating until at least December 6th.

We welcome all DC Drinkers to join us.

We urge you to put aside your dainty hang-ups about drinking on a worknight to show your patriotism and loyalty to that great document, the US Constitution. I'm saying that if you live in DC, and you don't come to our Repeal Day celebration, you're simply a Pinko PC Left Fascist Bastard.

Here's a classic Repeal Day video to get you primed and ready:

Billy Martin's Tavern: 1264 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Georgetown.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

No Class Turkey: How to Handle Your Drunken Relatives

As a bartender, I've become accustomed to avoiding talking to drunken idiots. While relatives stewed in egg nog and Miller Lite pose an entirely different challenge, there is something to learn from those of us who do it for a living.

First thing is to look for pressure points where drinking can get out of hand. For example, my wonderful grandmother has a hand of steel when it comes to punches and nogs. Everyone knows this and scoops from the bottom, where enough alcohol to poison a baby elephant awaits the first, lucky customer.

Be first in line and dump that batch. It may be alcohol abuse, but you'll thank me when you're free from your drunk uncle's free flowing tirade on how fat such-and-such's kids are, the natural outcome of the first sip.

Next, avoid the "lounge." So named because it's where the smokers/heavy drinkers congregate aside from the older folks and more religiously inclined. At my family get-togethers, it is damn near a tailgate party. There in the driveway one of my uncles would pull up his car with a cooler of cold beer. Walking through this cluster of krunk is where the worst family gossip and fond memories of glory days past exist. If you smoke, make this the occasion to quit.

If prevention and total evasion haven't thus far worked, try spot maneuvers. My grandfather--God bless his heart--will pull me aside for a lecture on the castlization of Europe after pounding a couple non-alcoholic brews. I truly enjoyed this lecture the first time. After that, it became an hour of my life that I wanted back.

What I do is take the new guy, AKA my cousin's new boyfriend or husband, and signal him to come over. I act as though I want to involve him. That gives the dupe a sense of comfort and then--powwwiiiee--I say I'm going to get a glass of water. Sticking the newbie to hear grandpop's lecture.

If it's a drunken aunt, then you have to be a little more careful not to offend (lest you get a call from your mom the next day). My tactic here is pick up whatever snotty-nosed youngster is nearby. The child will give you some reasonable excuse to exit within five minutes or less, then hand him off when you turn the corner.

Lastly, going to the buffet always affords a reasonable excuse to escape. If you're peacefully watching the game and you're assaulted by your cousin's discourse on just how bad the Skins are this year and why Brunell is not to blame (right), just excuse yourself to get a plate of bird. Done.

Hopefully, you can spend the extra time I've saved you creating cherished memories. How come I think I've just earned you more drinking time for yourself?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The crappier the liquor, the more awesomer the promo party.

Apparently that's a known truism among the restaurant-working set, but I saw it for myself tonight at Smirnoff's hot sneak preview of the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale.

See, vodka is the most boring choice among the pantheon of alcohols, but through slick marketing and the public's lazy tastebuds it's become the liquor du jour.

Strangely, at the bottom of the vodka slag heap (at least in consumers' minds) lies Smirnoff---technically the first vodka exported to the West (France) after WWII.

So since all the vodka makers can't compete on the taste of their product (it has none), and there's a new brand of the shit hitting the shelf weekly, vodka producers throw all sorts of razz-matazz, pomp and circumstance at potential consumers. Hence, the promo party I attended tonight.

Smirnoff gave 100 people free liquor at an expensive DC restaurant, hor douvres were offered like it was a wedding reception, and they gave out free cocktail shakers and box sets of the entire Bond collection. Then they loaded our drunk asses into two massive tour buses to escort us four (4) blocks to the movie theater.

One word about the new Bond flick: it contains the most homoerotic S & M scene that rivals even Top Gun and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. No kidding.

Go see it. Smirnoff wants you to!

Friday, November 10, 2006

How To Avoid Looking Like A Prick While Ordering Wine

Don't know exactly what to order when you're ordering wine? Here's a tip from a professional: you look like a prick when you improvise. Cut it out.

I learned this lesson best through karaoke. The performances that the crowd clamors for are the ones that are rehearsed. Every time I get a wild hair and stray from my standards, I watch the crowd thin, gleeful expressions dwindle and the host cringe. Time to take a hint.

So here are a few tips to avoid improvisation and pricktitude at the table or bar.

1.) Never, ever listen to servers. Servers know wine like health food store clerks know how to cure cancer. I wish it wasn't so, and sometimes a rare example proves an exception, but servers are generally studying political science, in a band or finishing up their novel. They only care about wine as much as they are told to by their employers. Generally, simple and idiotic phrases like "I like it," "it's dry" and "one of my favorites" are as detailed an explanation as you'll get from the server-kind.

2.) Order by style and price. Don't bitch after you ask for a certain style of wine and then you get hit for the $300 bottle. You weren't specific. It's your fault. Of course the server or sommelier wants to get the big sale--that's how they make money, numbnuts. As long as they don't lie to you, they're well within their right.

3.) Don't stand there stammering about how you once had a wine but you can't remember the name of it. Nobody has a ready catalogue of what you drank and ate except the good Lord himself, and he'll reckon with the f-cking Pinot Grigio you had with a steak when judgement day comes. We don't know what it is; you don't know what is. Guess what, it wasn't that good. Move on.

4.) If you've had French before, but you really don't know anything about the region, you can visit this brand new, radical website called "Google." I realize French wines are tough, but visit Terroir-france.com and within 30 minutes you'll have a working knowledge of some important regions.

5.) Call ahead and ask to speak with the wine buyer or sommelier. Especially if it's an important occasion. Tell them you are a novice, some general characteristics and what you want to spend. In fact, you should at least have a few general descriptors: fruit-forward, spicy, red, etc. While some people will be annoyed, others will appreciate your sincerity.

Glad I can help.