The life of a weekend bartender . . .

—Damn Dirty RINO

. . . isn’t exactly glamorous. The money can be decent at times, but it barely makes up for the slow stretches that typically last from the end of the Christmas season through early March, and then again through the hottest part of the summer until fall’s arrival. And even when business is good, it carries with it the increased likelihood of encountering belligerent, loudmouthed drunks.

Fortunately, the place where I work is more of a roadhouse; a working class watering hole that doesn’t attract too many preening peacocks with popped collars and gelled hair. The beer is served in the can, though a polite request will get you a frosty mug to pour it in. The two most popular whiskies are Early Times and Seagram’s 7, and the closest we get to top-shelf booze is Crown Royal –which runs a distant third in popularity. Bud Lite, Bud, Busch and Miller Lite cover 90% of the beer crowd. (We have no imports.)

For the most part, I enjoy working where I do. There are times, of course, when the crowd is a little rough around the edges and one or two people need to be called down and gently coaxed from the premises. But, all in all, the crowd is civil if not exactly genteel. It’s just not the kind of place you want to start any trouble, as there’s generally someone there who will happily finish it for you.

But over the past couple of years, the unfathomably idiotic guido culture has crept its way into my weekends, threatening to destroy what pleasures I take in my work by way of the execrable concoction known as the Jägerbomb (content warning: rough language). Somehow, the epicurean sensibilities of the menagerie of dullards who populate the cast of Jersey Shore have taken hold and popularized what can only be described as douchebag nectar, among people who by all rights ought to know better.

I’m not even talking about people who have only recently reached the age of majority, but grown men with more than thirty years on the planet. What the hell has happened to the cultural underpinnings of this country when an otherwise fully-formed adult with a job can walk up to a bar and look another full-grown human being in the eye and, in all seriousness, ask for a shot of Jägermeister doused in Red Bull?

I refuse to believe I’m alone among my fellow bartenders of the world when a little piece of my soul shrivels and dies every time the word “Jäger” is uttered in my presence. We can’t have sunk to such depths as a people that it’s considered a perfectly normal, acceptable thing to actually consume a “cocktail” devised by a high school junior whose parents left them to watch the house for the weekend. And, even if you genuinely enjoy drinking that kind of bilge, the notion that you would ask another human being to prepare it for you is an insult too grievous to bear.

Look. If you want to drink and maintain some semblance of human dignity, it’s pretty easy to do. The rules are pretty simple. For women, there are very few restrictions beyond remaining ambulatory throughout the night. Experimentation is encouraged within reason, though it’s probably not a good idea to order a Mojito at peak business hours. It will take you a while to get it, and it probably won’t be very good. It’s a time-consuming drink meant to be mixed and consumed at a leisurely pace. That goes for most other time and labor intensive drinks, too.

As for men, it’s pretty cut and dried: You drink whiskey neat, on the rocks, or with a common mixer like soda (Coke, 7-Up, etc.). Or, you can drink a classic cocktail like a gin and tonic, an Old Fashioned (off-peak hours only, please), or a whiskey sour. Or, you can just drink beer; imports and micro-brews are fine if they’re available. But, if they’re not, don’t whine about it. Just shut up and drink the domestic. No one is impressed by your sophisticated beer palate anyway, and you’ll recover from the indignity soon enough.

But, whatever you do, don’t ask another adult human being to prepare something for you as ridiculous as a Jägerbomb, or the even slightly more ludicrous Vegas Bomb. You’re a grown-ass man; drink like one.


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