There is a thing about guilty pleasures -- other than the fact that we all have one -- and that is we usually prefer to keep them out of sight of other humans.
Sure, we might like to drink straight out of the milk carton or have a heart-felt air guitar solo to Warrant in the comfort of our own dimly lit home, but ordering the guilty pleasure cocktail in public is a whole other scenario.
The reality is we live in a world where we'll be judged not only on the car we roll up in or the jeans we picked out that day but on our cocktail of choice as well.
Some people even think (wrongly) they've got a handle on the drink + stereotype = hidden personality trait equation: If a man asks for a sparkly pink cocktail it says something about his masculinity. Or, if woman orders a double Jim Beam straight up with a Coke back and proceeds to slam that combo all evening, that says something about how clearly unladylike she is. Anyone who orders a local micro brew is a snobby douche. The girl walking around with a PBR is obviously a low-maintenance catch, though. Sound familiar?
But what about bartenders? Are the gatekeepers of the late-night buzz immune to the assumptions of us lay people? Are they secretly judging us?
Trevor, a 30-year service industry veteran who currently works at Norma's Cafe in Oak Cliff, says ensuring guests get what they want is what matters, not passing judgment. Still, it's a good idea, he says, to double check with a patron if he seems unsure of what he's ordering.
"I once had a middle-age gentleman walk up to the bar and order a shot of grenadine," he says.
Grenadine is the magical cherry flavored syrup used to transform Sprite into a Shirley Temple or a whiskey sour into a cherry whiskey Sour. It's not alcoholic and certainly not meant to be shot.
After clarifying that he had heard the order correctly, a dumbfounded Trevor didn't argue as he poured this unusual request into a shot glass and then watched as the gentleman shot the 1.5 ounces of sugary syrup like a champ.
He didn't order another, and he didn't tip Trevor.
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"After that incident I always take a minute to ask, 'Are you sure that's what you'd like?'"
He admits that every once in a while he'll get an order that raises an eyebrow. His personal guilty pleasure drink is one of them: a shot of peach schnapps with a cranberry juice on the side -- both to sip on.
"Even in the gay community that's just a ridiculous drink," he says with a chuckle. "Every time I order that I get asked, 'Are you serious?!' Regardless of what neighborhood I'm in. But that's cool because I ask the same question all the time," he says.
So, the next time you watch a James Bond movie and think it would be pretty badass to drink a martini like 007, don't take offense when your bartender asks a series of questions about how you'd like the drink prepared (dry, dirty or perfect; vodka or gin; shaken or stirred?). It's not a dick move to intimidate you. It's an effort to ensure you're getting what appeals to your palate.