Friday, May 27, 2011

The Zen Art of One Armed Bartending

Radial head fracture - ouch!
Last Friday I broke my arm. To make matters worse I was stone cold sober at the time. Whilst the fracture is minor it has been a severe hindrance to say the least. I’ve had to learn, over the past week, to do everything one handed. 

I’ve had to learn how to shower and groom (according to one colleague something I struggle with already), how to dress, prepare meals, keep writing using voice recognition and, yes, how to whip up a cocktail with only one limb. To be fair, I’ve had a couple weeks off from my bar job, but it has only made it all the more necessary to get up to speed with the Zen art of one armed bartending to keep myself well watered. 

I compiled a quick list of bartending techniques/ activities that are perhaps best avoided when ‘tending with a singular appendage:

  1. An obvious one to begin with – avoid carrying heavy items like boxes and kegs etc. In fact, I find this sound practice even with two working arms.
  2. Fine straining – a technique deplored by some as like having a baby and then killing it – is definitely out the window, though still possible, when bartending with one hand.
  3. Being in charge of cutting the bar’s garnishes before a Friday shift
  4. Blazing drinks a la Jerry Thomas or throwing cocktails like Boadas in Barcelona.  Spirit soaked bandaged limbs burn like flares.
  5. Carrying a tray laden with cocktails – how will you put them down?
  6. Flamed orange zest Dale DeGroff style
  7. Using a jigger – well you could, but you’re slow enough already pal!
Anyone has worked bar with me before might wonder why I’m making such a fuss as they have only ever seen me use one arm behind the bar anyway. Well I guess that is why I’ve been able to adapt so quickly to my current situation- smartarse.

At any rate, I’m not going to natter on for too long, but rather leave you with a one-handed beverage the concocted the other night in honour of having the night off.  

The One Armed Sour

45ml Appleton Estate Extra rum
20ml Pedro Ximenez Sherry
20ml Fresh lemon juice (this was the tricky part with one arm)
One dash of icy cold Fernet Branca straight from the freezer (where else would you keep yours?)
2 dashes of The Bitter Truth Xocolatl Mole bitters (good stuff if you have never tried it – now available in Oz through Suntory)
The white of one egg

Add all ingredients into a Parisian, cobbler, or two part tin shaker – perfect for one armed shaking. Crack your egg on the side of your shaker – easy now – and slowly split in one hand to allow egg white but no yolk into the mix. Ice and give the mix the Kiwi Hard Shake™. Strain into a frosty glass and serve with a side of pork scratchings or biltong (I just love that stuff).

1 comment:

  1. The now trademarked McGoram hard shake. Love your work