Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bartending 101: Exam Results!

So did I pass the test?  I needed to get a 90% or more.  I know you've all been waiting with anticipation, so here's the conclusion...

Well, I finish taking the Bartending written exam and take the papers to Betty, who seems pretty proud of herself.  I mean, here I have taken Graduate-level courses in college and was never this stressed.  But I must look pretty nervous because she says, "So how'd you do?" with a big smug grin on her face.

"You tell me," I say, and I hear the woo-ee-oo tones from the movie "High Noon" ringing in my head.

She gets out her red pen, and I sit and watch her correct my test.  Check, check, check... Hey look at that, I got one right... check, check, check...

She takes a half point off for the Manhattan recipe because I got the garnish wrong.  I also misidentified American whiskey with Kentucky whiskey.  Got all the glassware right, and two were for extra credit (woo-hoo!) but got confused between a Zombie and a Scorpion.  I also didn't have a good answer for the question "What are the two ways to make champagne?"

She's totaling up the score.  I can't really tell because her writing is so crazy.  "Ready for the results?" she asks, smiling.  She looks a bit too happy.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Every Vanity Set Needs a Knife

Yes, the noise had finally subsided.  All she had now was the satisfaction of Silence.  And herself.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Julie!

Happy birthday today to our favorite sultry songstress Julie London!
For our previous Julie London posts, click here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bartending 101: Know Your Glassware

If you're going to be a bartender -- or at least look like one -- you need to know your glassware. There are a variety of glasses, and each drink has a specific glass that you should pour it in.  Here's a general list to get you started on knowing which glass goes in which cocktail.  Today we'll just talk about the classic glassware, and thankfully most of them are named for the drinks that go in them:
Photo courtesy of Cocktail Hunter

Rocks or Old Fashioned glass  - this glass is usually used for whiskeys and gin, but I've gotten this glass when I order my vodka/soda cocktail.  A perfect rocks glass has a round bottom, and when the ice is dropped from the correct height a "ting" can be heard. Rocks glasses got their name as most of these drinks are served over ice (on the rocks).

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

BBQ and Fritos

The very next thing I think of when I think "Barbecue" is....Fritos?  Apparently in 1957, the Frito-Lay company wanted our thoughts going in that direction.  This mini-cookbook brochure with Outdoor Cooking tips and other ways to make your backyard barbecue successful was attached to Fritos.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bartending 101: Taking the Exam!

I decided a while ago that I was going to take the written exam.  Well, I did as much "research" as I could (step 1 of The Plan) and also procrastinated as long as I could (step 2 of The Plan).  So now it was time to face the inevitable proverbial tunes.

I don't want to fail in front of a bunch of people, so I leave work early and drive to the school.  Against my plan, four other people are already there, including a guy from my class (a huge basketball player-slash-college student).  

"Hey," I say.  "You testing today too?"
"At this very moment," he says.
"How's it going?" I ask, seeing that he's still working on the first page.
He groans and shakes his head as an answer.  I'm feeling even less confident now.

Betty emerges from the back and sees me.  "Hey, you ready?" she asks.
"Ready as I'm gonna be," I tell her, hoping she'll give me some words of encouragement.
No such luck.  "Three people have failed today already," she declares.
"Huh," I respond, wondering what the hell she was trying to do to me.
"Okay, here's your test," she says.  "You have an hour."

Monday, September 22, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Friday Photo Album: Working Girls

Here is the last in the series of my photo albums!  During the war, when I wasn't performing at the USO, I was a factory worker.  Here are some photos of the girls an' me at the factory!
It's tiring working at the plant, but I keep a smile on my face:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day

Mabel Normand
Known as the "Queen of Comedy," Mabel is also noteworthy as one of the most powerful women of the silent movie era.  She was a revolutionary comedienne and actress of silent film, the "It Girl" of the early 20th century, and one of the industry's first female screenwriters, producers and directors.

Onscreen she appeared in a dozen commercially successful films, occasionally writing and directing movies as well as sometimes co-writing and co-directing with Charlie Chaplin in films in which they played the lead roles. At the height of her career in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Normand had her own movie studio and production company.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bartending 101: Mid-Term Exam Prep

I finally decide that it's time for me to take the written exam.  Yeah, before that whole "12 drinks in seven minutes" practical exam, you have to pass the written exam -- which I am told usually takes around 2 hours to complete and is a complete bitch.

I interrogate Betty all week about what the test is like.  She says you have to get a 90% to pass the test, and that she has seven different versions of it.  More importantly, no one is allowed to take the test home, whether they pass or fail it.  Damn, no chance of getting an underground photocopy.  There goes Plan A.  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Photo Album: World Travels

This week's photo album is from my travels around the world!  This was my lovely travel agent Rita.  Her services weren't the highest of caliber, but, hey - it was cheap:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Mee-Yow Thursday

Did you miss your favorite cat fights?  We just wanted to revisit the greatest of them all...that is, the Bette Davis vs. Joan Crawford feud that has spanned generations.
The Queens of Vintage website reviews the feud, finally digging to the bottom of the fight and discovering that it all started with a man.  Of course -- it all makes sense that two successful, beautiful women would fight over a man.  Sound familiar, anyone?

As the website states: "It was the most notorious cat fight in Hollywood history...A little investigation shows that these two cinematic giants were reduced to duking it out over, what else, a man. Namely, the slightly less legendary, Franchot Tone...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day

Click to enlarge
Jean Harlow
The phrases “platinum blonde” and "blonde bombshell" did not even exist before Jean Harlow.  Harlean Carpentier, who later became the illustrious Jean Harlow, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, on March 3, 1911. She was considered a major sexpot back in the day. In her own words, she bluntly explains her success: "Men like me because I don't wear a brassiere. Women like me because I don't look like a girl who would steal their husband. At least not for long."

In the beginning she was having trouble finding roles in feature movies, but eventually she landed her first big role in Howard Hughes' World War I epic “Hell's Angels” in 1930, which turned out to be a smash hit. Not long after the film's debut, Hughes sold her contract to MGM, where her career shot to extraordinary heights. Her appearance in “Platinum Blonde” (1931) cemented her role as America's new sex symbol.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Bartending 101: Pass the Poseur

It's another week at Bartending School, and this week Betty lets us know that the latest trends can change the popularity of drinks ordered.  Apparently whenever a new song, movie, or TV show highlights a particular drink or alcohol, people flock to it, most of the time not even knowing what the heck they're ordering. 

For example, before you go all Snoop Dogg at the bar and order a gin and juice, you might want to decide what juice you'll be wanting with your gin.  Apparently when posed this question many wanna-bes acquire a vacant expression on their face.  Snoop Dogg was not specific, but you need to be.  Suggested juices that go well with gin are cranberry or grapefruit juice.  

Monday, September 08, 2014

Cocktail Du Jour: More Than Just a Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea is one of my favorite cocktails, just because you get the most alcohol for your money -- basically 5 shots of alcohol in one glass, and it really does just taste like an iced tea.  So if you're on a mission to just get drunk one night, this is definitely the way to go. (A future post will show you just how drunk you can get on these.)

But if you think you only have one way to order this delicious drink, you're missing out on 4 other versions out there.  I'm sure bartenders are out there who are making even more unique versions of this cocktail than these, but these are 4 basic ones that you should be able to order anywhere, even if you're not in Long Island.
So first let's start with the classic:

Long Island Iced Tea
In a collins glass, pour:
1/2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. Rum
1/2 oz. Triple Sec
1 1/2 oz. Sweet & Sour mix
Splash of Coke (this is what mostly changes in the other drinks)
Garnish with a lemon.

Then there's the varieties...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Friday Photo Album: At the Pool

Summer is gone, so I thought for this week's photo album I'd share my time at the pool with my friends! 
Here I am with Trish and Lyn.  My ass looks bangin' in this suit.  Too bad the other girls are so flat chested.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

"Va Va Voom" Star of the Day

Diana Barrymore
Her autobiography was titled Too Much, Too Soon, which was completely apropos for the life of Diana Barrymore. Part of the talented yet tortured Barrymore family tree, she was the aunt of Drew Barrymore, and a pretty talented actress in her own right.  However, her tumultuous personal problems prevented her from being truly successful.

Her life even began dramatically, as her parents' rocky marriage lasted only a few years after her birth and they divorced when she was only four.  From then on she had little contact with her estranged father, as she traveled around the world to study, and her mother's bitterness towards her former husband didn't help foster a healthy relationship. Diana was raised by school matrons and nannies, as she went from boarding school to boarding school, but once she reached her teens she found her focus in acting.

Shatner Approved!

I'm going to go ahead and date myself by admitting that my family had one of the first of these when I was growing up.  
At the time, I thought that owning a "home computer" was such a futuristic marvel -- but this one was a precious gem, at $300!  Had I known that William Shatner (apparently the authority on "wonder computers") had endorsed it, I think I may have fainted at the sound of it turning on.

So they say it's "the only computer you'll need for years to come," the reality was it was pretty much extinct in less than 6 months.  But if you have a rainbow as part of your logo, you are seriously ahead of your time, right?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Happy Birthday, Alan Ladd!

We're crushing on birthday boy Alan Ladd today, who would be 101 years old!
Click to enlarge

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Bartending 101: Don't F%$& With the Bartender

Today in class we learn about basic customer service.  What I really learn is...

Don't F%$& with the Bartender

There are a lot of ways to make a bartender do "tricks" when you order.  But beware: bartenders are taught to get even.  If you ask for a Cuba Libre NFL-style*, expect a watered-down drink and a lot less attention.

After Betty talks to us about how the customer is always right and good service means good tips blah blah blah, she talks about ways bartenders can mess with the customers when they're pissing you off.