His summary of the theme:
Hello everyone, and welcome to A Mixed Dram. I’m hosting this month, and I think you will enjoy our topic this month. I know that we tend to do what is familiar to us, and I am no less a victim of this than anyone else, often even more. My first several cocktails were basically sours, and then my next several were little more than old fashioneds. Well, today I issue you a challenge: Try something new!
Yeah, I think I’ve got something happening that fits that bill…
Believe it or not, I will soon be drawing a paycheck, for the first time since 1995, from a restaurant.
I’m still a bit in shock about this, maybe even denial.
You may recall that Erik Adkins had mentioned the possibility of “staging” a shift or two at Slanted Door.
Turned out, because of the wonders of modern HR, that that would be more challenging than he initially thought. He would basically have had to put me on the payroll for the couple nights I worked, filling out all the fun paperwork required for any real employee.
But while he was mentioning that, he said something like, “Too bad the timing isn’t right for the new space in the SOMA Grand. That would probably work better for you than either Flora or Slanted Door.”
I may sometimes seem a bit scattered and forgetful. The Absent Minded Professor of modern American cocktails. But when I am interested and care about something, I don’t forget. Nor do I give up.
So whenever Erik mentioned the new restaurant, I would get in a little dig about finding a space for enthusiastic and hard working ex-line cooks. Especially those with nearly encyclopedic knowledge of spirits and early Twentieth Century cocktails. After a month or so, I wore him down to a tentative, “Well, we’ve got all the bar shifts covered at open, but maybe after a month or two. We’ll see.” I thought that was pretty good!
Mrs. Flannestad and I headed to Arizona for the Christmas holiday. Family stuff. Oddly Phoenix was rainy and a bit cold. I love my family, but I have to say, after 5 days of non-stop closeness and honesty, I start to remember why I moved out in the first place.
December 27th, we’re sitting in the bedroom, napping after an exhausting day of eating and sleeping, when my cell phone rings. “Erik Adkins” is calling? I am so flabbergasted and nervous that I accidentally hang up on the call trying to answer.
Call him back and he tells me that, if I want, he’s got a shift a week at Heaven’s Dog.
I tell him I’m definitely interested, but need to talk it over with Mrs. Flannestad. I will call him back the next day.
Mrs. Flannestad is unhappy that she will lose quality time, but also encouraging. Telling me that if I want to do this, I should. I may never get another opportunity quite like this.
Sunday morning, waiting for our plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I call Erik to tell him, if he wants a middle aged bartender, he’s got one.
His response, “Middle aged bartenders are totally in style these days.”
But it’s funny, so much of all of this goes back to a single afternoon in the early fall of 2007. I was sitting at Alembic Bar chatting with David Wondrich who had agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to meet for a drink. First David was incredibly encouraging of the “Savoy Stomp”, telling me, “The Stomp must go on!” Well, if David Wondrich tells you something you’re doing is worthwhile, I’ll warn you, you’ve got your work cut out for you for the next few years. Second, David encouraged me to introduce myself to then Alembic bartender Josey Packard. Josey would agree to participate in a Savoy bartender feature, cementing the continuation of my favorite part of the Stomp, not to mention being an encouraging friend and like-minded spirit. Third, after a gentleman down the bar introduced himself to David, I also met Erik Adkins for the first time.
So instead of my usual scapegoat for drink related mishaps, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, perhaps I should be blaming David Wondrich for all this wonderful mess!
Or maybe I should just get over blaming others and start taking responsibility for the consequences of my actions. Just seems so “adult”…