The Drink Stand Facing West

Working in the hot summer sun has its advantages despite how the heat blisters directly in front of you when you’re working a milk crate and folding table wedding reception bar. Advantage being you’re working around cold beverages instead of say, laying fresh tar.

Armed with ice and spirits, beers and champagne, you had a steady line of 10 in a thirsty single file, it was like staring down the barrel of  a gun.

Even when you’re stocked with all the booze and cups in the world, even with a beautiful cloaked bar with flowers and linens, without soda water, coca-cola, tonic or 7-Up, very few cocktails will be made for a wedding party. Except whiskey rocks. On a rooftop in the beating sun where men in ties were dying in the wrinkling air, drinking water wasn’t even available at the bar where you were stationed. Every time the next person in line approached to order you had to say no. Because you don’t have gin & tonics. Or even a whiskey and coke. You look down and see a bottle of bitters, an ingredient so integral in many cocktails and too often forgotten. You have bitters while a glass of ice water was nowhere to be found. “In fact, it’s pushing past 90 farenheit and I’m facing west for the next 5 hours straight without the mercy of shade and there’s a bunch of frustrated party-goers in line behind you as well, sir. I know you wanted a vodka soda with lime, but try a vodka cran. They’re on special right now since it’s all we have.”

Thank god for the vodka cran. Those who wanted simple drinks all got the non-cocktail cocktail, the drink whose entry level is around high school. Vodka and cranberry juice saved the bar today. That, and Budweiser.

It’s like catering on a plane exploding before getting off the ground. Then after it sits there burning for a few hours in the sun, it blows up again. Just to remind you.

It was a beautiful evening when dusk finally came and you almost forgot that many times in life you’re put in situations that demand you take control and be damned with those who stand in your way. This may have been your first time working a bar like this but you should have had the smarts to listen more to your instincts and less to those who are paid to have the answers.

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