Peter, one of the owners of Painter’s, the inn at which the Cocktails in the Country bartender training course is held, is very proud of his liquor list, and when he and his wife, Mary Beth, join the students and me for the cocktail dinners served on the Saturday night, he sometimes has a mission. If, for instance, someone seems to have an interest in a specific liquor, he’ll often show them the list of myriad bottlings he has to offer, and convince them to sample a couple after dinner. This can sometimes lead to disaster.
Such was the case on one fateful Saturday night last year, and on the Sunday morning, when the entire class was slurping back copious quantities of coffee over breakfast, I could tell that some heads were hurting. I was very sadistic when I played my signature tune, “Have a Drink on Me,” as the students filed into the Gallery bar our weekend classroom. The song, if you’ve never heard it, was recorded by a British artist called Lonnie Donegan, around 40 years ago it’s a sort of country/rock number that he plays with great gusto. I turned the volume up to number 11 on this particular morning, grinning as the group settled down on their bar stools.
Regina Rose, my flirty assistant, and I, served fresh grapefruit juice, spiked with a little Peychaud’s bitters, to each member of the class, and one cheeky young guy asked for a small shot of vodka to be added to his glass. It was time for a hair of the dog, I guess. Most of the rest of the class followed suit.
It didn’t take too long, though, for everyone to start paying attention, and their ears really pricked up when I put one of them behind the bar and told them what ingredients they had to use to create their first drink of the day: T