I've already explained to you in gory detail what my least favorite things about bartending were. Like I said, it was an amazing job... with some pretty big down sides (like vomit, for instance).
I don't even have words to tell you how much I loved my co-workers and customers. They were fun, entertaining and loving (most of them, anyway). Honestly, some of my strongest and longest-lasting friendships started behind the bar at Red Lobster. My best friend and I have been friends since the very first day I started mixing drinks for a living.
Over the years, I made friends with bouncers, teachers, off-duty cops, businesspeople, performers, college students and singers. I've served drinks to quasi-famous people - everyone from local news anchors to a famous R&B singer has sipped one of my concoctions. You never know who is going to walk into your bar, but you can be sure it'll be someone interesting.
I won't lie to you: you will have bad days, get stuck with bad shifts and walk out of the bar with only $20 to get you through the week. However, when it rains, it pours. A good Friday or Saturday night shift can send you home with enough money to make you consider dropping out of school to tend bar full time. There are few things as sweet as closing out the bar, counting your tips and realizing you just made enough to cover your car payment and a new pair of shoes. It isn't always easy work, but it certainly can pay well.
I still remember the night I made a dirty martini for a well-dressed businesswoman at my bar. She sipped it, set it down and solemnly pronounced it the best dirty martini she had ever had. I am, to this day, still pleased by this.
When you love what you do, you want to do it all of the time. I would spend hours (and lots of money at the liquor store) perfecting my signature drinks and shooters to make for people. When someone loved a drink I made for them it validated my skill as a bartender, increased my tips and gave me a sense of accomplishment. You might just see an amaretto sour, but I see a perfectly balanced work of drinkable art.
I still love mixing up crazy cocktails at home. Here's my favorite summer sipping drink (for those of you who are of age) that's both tasty and looks good. You can also make it without the vodka for a refreshing, nonalcoholic treat.
- 1 highball glass
- Handful of frozen blueberries
- 1 1/2 oz vodka
- 4 oz limeade
- Splash of club soda
Put the frozen blueberries in the bottom of the glass, add the vodka, limeade and ice and give a stir. Top with a splash of club soda and before too long, the blueberries will begin to melt, giving your drink a lovely purple color. Sugar the rim and add a lime if you're feeling crazy - otherwise, add a straw and sip away.