Putting the Cock Back in Cocktail: Sazeracs & Manhattans

A reader writes:

In your last video (which I enjoyed somewhat) you said the Old-Fashioned isn’t the oldest cocktail on written record, and you are correct. The Sazerac is. When will you do a vid featuring that one, bud?

Here you go, bud — though, for the record, it’s not actually known if the Sazerac is the “oldest cocktail” on written record. Everyone says it is, but history is mute on the matter.





Thanks for watching.



10 Comments

  • Dave Zoby

    October 5, 2014

    Okay Ray,
    Sazeracs. Here are my notes. Do what you will with them.
    It’s another good effort, but not quite achieving the level of art as, say, “Getting Numb with Rum” or “Sugar My Rim.” I love the prose here, but there’s not enough of it. Unlike your earlier work, I cannot take what I see here and actually make the drinks. I’ve learned close to nothing about making the drinks myself, and that is disappointing.
    At .34 I think I saw some spillage. Your other readers–none of whom tended bar as I have–probably missed it. But it’s there. You need to be careful. At .48 we see the bitters again. Big fucking deal.
    Between .54 and 1:00, I see some very nice moves, deadly moves even. You’re getting better. But I have to ask: could you pull off that same shit if the bar was busy? Could you? And also serve pork belly and ahi tuna and lobster mac? Between 1:00 and 1:30, you muddle, you twirl, you cut a decent twist, shake the crap out of a drink. These are heavy pours, stiffies, we used to call them. I appreciated all of this. At 1:43, there’s a nice shot of your veins. You’re fit, you’re beating Father Time. Way to go. The rest of us are dying, and you still look 24.
    That splash effect at 2:00 does absolutely nothing for me. I’m tired of it. It looks as if someone in Ace’s has hooked an enormous king salmon. It confuses me to no end. Get rid of the splash effect. Did I tell you I loved the music? Well, I do. But it comes at the EXPENSE of getting no voice over whatsoever. Your voice over WAS what put you on the map. We loved hearing the deftly written prose, the crass one-liners. They’re gone now, it seems, because you’ve discovered Disco. It’s a shame.
    At 2:19 you pour expensive (this is Fort Collins, right?) liquor into both glasses only to pour it out at 2:23. Why? I don’t get it. Why do you waste it? If you are seasoning the glassware, that’s fine. But god dammit pour the extra booze into a glass and send it back to the dishboy; that’s what I used to do. My dishwashers considered me a God for gestures such as this. I sent them half flank steaks, shots of Jim Beam, coronas of shrimp which I liberated from the kitchen. That’s how we did it back them, gratis and more gratis, gratis as far as you can see, baby.
    At the end, do you take a shot? I couldn’t believe my eyes.For one, you hardly drink, unless we count those little nips you take from your long, twisted stirring spoon before you serve a drink. Has something changed? The video ends in slow-mo. Yawn. It looks like you’re about to crack up laughing.
    But overall, I enjoyed it. I’m glad you trashed that stupid arm pose seen in the “New Old Fashions” clip. Seriously, are you considering tropical drinks? Would you do something with pineapple?

  • Ray

    October 6, 2014

    My voiceover — or, as you would say, “voice over” — put me on the map? My dear fellow, I didn’t know you felt that way about me. Thank you! It makes all those chickenshit things you’ve said a little more endurable.

    What happened to those deftly written poems, the crass one-liners? Maybe I’ll write them, maybe I won’t. No matter. All that matters now is when I look up and see the verdict in her eyes.

    Thank you for watching, and thank you for dropping by.

    P.S. I am about to crack up laughing there at the end. I was thinking about your fucking mother.

  • Micky

    October 14, 2014

    You two made me feel like I was 25 again sitting at the bar in my tux at 1:30 am getting my free after work drink. The only requirement was that you actually worked that night and put your bow tie in your pocket, or trash. As long as you weren’t wearing it no one could remember or figure out you were one of the waiters.
    I’m sitting there one night and the sommelier is going off at the bartender about his over-pours and making too much noise icing the glasses. Bartender looked at him like he was a fly on the wall and shot him in the crotch with the soda gun and went back to his order as if he’d just squeezed a lime. Totally nonchalant, didn’t give a shit or want to be nagged by this fudge-packer while all the last calls were coming in. Clearly the barkeep was sedated, the sommelier was stimulated, fucking electric..
    Just then Carl, the owner, came up to the three of us with a gripe. Seeing as how I was head waiter the gripe was rightfully presented to the proper three individuals.
    Carl goes on to say “Recently we’ve had a problem with recreational drugs in my establishment.
    One of them makes you look like a drunken mongoloid. You forget things, you move like fucking snails, and you’re always eating on the job, you sound like Beavis or Butthead …and I wont have it.
    The other drug of choice around here eats up all your tips in one night, thats fine, its your money and I love it. You’re on top of things, you’re alive, shit gets done.
    But please gentlemen… you’re costing me a fucking fortune in cocktail straws.

  • Dave Zoby

    October 15, 2014

    Thanks for backing me up Micky. It was very sweet of you.

    Your descriptions of the bar you worked at in 1973 reminded me of a bar I worked at back in Richmond. I used to make Planters Punch in the mid afternoons, the city workers coming in to drink off the 100 degree days. My unique recipe consisted of fresh passion fruit, lime juice, a heap of ice and a heavy, heavy pour of dark rum. (I didn’t use that fucking grenadine because it’s bush league and, probably, poisonous.) I could cool off a long row of pissed off city workers by serving these drinks half off at happy hour. You don’t see happy hours like that anymore, not in Fort Collins. There was usually a fist fight. People took turns buying each other drinks. It was very social, so very unlike these Fort Collins bars where I get the feeling I’m not really wanted. Back in Richmond I used to float a jigger of 151 on the surface of the Planters Punch if I wanted to get the guy wasted, arrested, or in trouble with his wife. Those were the days, man. Yeah, those kinds of drinks, you don’t see anymore.

  • chicken little

    October 17, 2014

    Ray,
    We watched you pour with a full bar and everyone loved it………….
    Micky and Dave whatever!!!
    you serve a good libation and each to his own.
    Love ya P.

  • Ray

    October 18, 2014

    Yeah, Dave, those were the days. Except the way you originally told me the story: you could cool off a row of pissed off city workers by sucking their dicks, is how you originally put it.

    Your unique drink recipe? It sound something that would make a dog vomit.

    But I liked your comment.

    Micky, sitting at the bar at 1:30 am, in your tux – I like that image a lot. Let’s get it done one of these days. Thanks so much for dropping by.

  • Ray

    October 18, 2014

    Thank you, P. I love you too.

  • Micky

    November 11, 2014

    Those were the days.
    The age was 18, there was no AIDS yet, and the bars all closed at 4:00 am.
    Nothing better than the summers in Waikiki where all the dumbshit 18 year old tourist girls would get wasted.
    The Bistro was Hawaiis finest French rest catering to all who could afford it.
    My regulars were Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson (always together) Jim Neighbors, (always brought with him a 16-17 year old boy toy)Tom Selleck, Richard Dawson and few Saudi Prince’s
    The driveway loop was actually a huge tile mosaic of and Escargot.
    The waiters and captains at The Bistro were quite an elite bunch who had carte blanche at any decent rest in town.
    Waikiki in those says was like a village among those in the rest. biz.
    We all knew each other…it was the perfect environment for any gut who wanted to impress the ladys, get a different piece every night , hang at the beach during the days. Go home round 3 and get ready for work.
    Those were the fucking days my friends.
    Good times, good food, good drink and great ladys from all over the world.
    I couldn’t of asked for more.

  • Mary Lee

    November 21, 2014

    Ray!
    My amazing grandfather loved a well-made Manhattan – I think he would have been a HUGE fan of yours! I missed visiting you and AGs in September, but just booked a trip for April 2015 – no business, just pleasure!! Looking forward to seeing you in action behind the bar and chatting with you – it’s always a sincere joy! ~Mary Lee

  • Ray

    November 22, 2014

    Thank you, Mary! It’s a sincere joy for me to talk with you — and for me to see you here.

    Thank you for dropping by.

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