Monday, May 16, 2011

The Cocktail of the Apocalypse.


A very pleasant weekend, for the most part.  Parties at Gregory Frost's house and at Jason Van Hollander's.  And I got to see Elizabeth Hand again, so I was happy.

On the negative side, I dropped by the Borders store on Broad Street for the last day of its going-out-of-business sale, and it was a depressing event even before I lost my (cheap) camera.  When I first came to Philadelphia in -- my God! -- 1973, the first event I went to was a going-out-of-business giveaway at one of the city's great bookstores.  Sometimes it seems like I've spent my entire adult life watching bookstores go out of business.

But that's not what I want to talk about . . .

Last week, I was in western Pennsylvania and I dropped into a TGIFriday's for a drink.  When the barrista asked what I'd have, I said, "A gin martini, very dry, straight up, with a twist."  At which point (and this was a bad sign) she went to consult with the other woman behind the bar.  A very long conversation Finally, she returned with the above martini.  Which, you'll notice, does indeed have a twist -- or, rather, a slice of lemon.  In addition to three olives impaled on a plastic sword.

The End Times are upon us.

Above:  The horror!  The horror!  Exterminate the brutes!



Alison said...

On a recent trip to Italy, we came across several bars where a martini served with an olive and a twist seemed to be the norm. We also came across several bars where ordering a martini caused vast confusion, and resulted in being served a lukewarm glass of Martini & Rossi Bianco, straight up.

HANNAH'S DAD said...

When I was a fresh and untrained barman I comitted a similar atrocity when asked for a martini - I'd been taught to pour beer and not much more.

On the bright side, the customer didn't complain, so I can only assume it killed them.

Theophylact said...

Oh, Western Pennsylvania. Well, sure.

Generally, the problem is getting a gin martini at all.

Chad Hull said...

I had a similar experience once where I asked a waitress for a Manhattan and she replied, "And what kind of vodka did you want in that?"

Michael Swanwick said...

Oh, yuck. I believe that, technically, a gin Manhattan would be a Perth Amboy. Or maybe a Bayonne.

In Finland, I once received an aperitif glass of Martini and Rossi, but I figured that was my own fault for ordering a drink that nobody in the country drank.

Anonymous said...

I'm Canadian and in Minneapolis a few years ago, I orderred in succession, to an increasingly baffled server, a Bloody Caesar (vodka and Clamato juice), a dirty mother (tequila, Kahlua and milk) and then a tequila paralyzer (a dirty mother with a few ounces of Coke thrown in). The bartender came over and had me write out the recipes...was it my imagination or were the bouncers circling menacingly? Good thing I idn't ask for a rye and ginger.

Next time, I just ordered a Sam Adams.

Michael Swanwick said...

Next time I'm in Canada, I'll order a rye and ginger.

None of the others, though. Those are drinks only a Canadian is tough enough to drink with pleasure.

Keith Ferrell said...

I recently, and (relatively) patiently explained to a bartender how to make a martini, and a bit of the drink's gin-soaked history.

Her response: "Ewwwwwwwwwww."

Got my drink, though and sorrowfully toasted the shade of Cheever with it.

Michael Swanwick said...

God bless John Cheever. That fucked up and he still managed to add to our literary heritage.

Where were you, Keith, that the bartender hadn't heard about martinis?