You saw me standing alone
Well, 2009 closes out tonight with some panache– a blue moon. It’s not really seen as the color blue though (but it could actually appear somewhat yellow in the right conditions to half the people; ask my girl Suzanne). And despite the implied long-wait rarity of the idiomatic, “once in a blue moon” , this situation occurs about every two and a half to three years, when it’s defined as the second full moon in a Roman calendar month. But if you’re planting things for a living, The Farmer’s Almanac avers the blue moon is the third full moon in a four full moon growing cycle, also about a once in a three year occurence. So using both definitions, there will be a seasonal blue moon in November 2010, a calendar blue moon in August 2012, a seasonal blue in August 2013 and a calendar blue in July 2015. That’s five of these “rare” events in less than six years. Not to incur the wrath of the goddess Luna, but that just does not qualify for me as an uncommon event. I’m a little more discriminating in my use of the word “rare”; you should be too.
Good readers, let us resolve this new year to refrain from using this trite un-truism from now on. Simple resolutions are the most achieveable folks and therefore the most psychologically rewarding. We can do this. It will feel good. It will certainly feel better to accomplish this simple task than it will if we break those resolutions to drop fifteeen pounds or to be nicer to pregnant women. Seriously, how often do you keep those meaningful self-improvement resolutions? Personally, I achieve one of those major promises like what? Maybe once in a blue moon.
Here’s some classic music to accompany the rare event, play it often.
I have the voice for the “bom bom ba-bom” part in there, believe it or not.
New Year’s Eve. It is the night to truly test a bartender’s skillz. Actually it tests a certain particular set of skillz, and the art of detachment.
I don’t mean to sound condescending but New Year’s Eve is Amateur Night. Everyone is out drinking regardless of their abilities to do such a thing. Alcohol is a potent drug, and should not necessarily be prescribed to everyone equally. But it’s the beginning of a new calendar page; celebration is demanded and drunken revelry is recommended and condoned, so a huge part of the herd thunders down to the watering holes, wearing many silly hats, and lustily imbibes. Their sheer numbers and the push by them to get hammered by midnight requires the bartender to keep his more nuanced talents and attention to detail and craftsman’s pride locked up in the toolbox and necessitates he wield the blunt instruments and take the sloppy short-cuts to sling as many drinks as possible in that tight time frame. Hawkeye and Trapper would recognize this as meatball bartending, definite M*A*S*H unit mixology. Take their order, give ’em somethin’ wet, and throw their money in the till. Wham, bam, thank y — who’s next??
Theoretically, customer expectation is generally low in this type of atmosphere. The amateurs are mostly just happy to get waited on and the practiced partyers understand how uniquely irregular and difficult the night is for the bartender, and these seasoned barflies are usually good for some sympathy and a laugh when the ice starts to fly. But it’s surprising how many capable barkeeps can’t switch gears to deal with higher volume, lower professionalism. I personally was in over my head the first New Year’s Eve I worked; almost walked out in the middle of the second because we were short staffed and management did nothing to help us grunts in the trenches. But by the third one I had learned to adapt with the help of a Zen sense of detachment from the self and I was for that night the BarTRON 2000, a drink slingin’ machine. My role model Sam Malone had nothing on me then, but maybe better hair.
If you’re going out into the madness tonight, good luck, and have your cash on display and ready for better service. Good bartenders have noses for cash like pigs do for truffles. It will help.
If you’re staying home with the family and friends, you’re very wise. And if you are home, you probably wouldn’t be interested in making Flaming Moe’s but maybe you’d want to try a non-alcoholic punch recipe. This one is simple to build, especially if you’ve never mixed anything tougher than say, a Cosmopolitan. Same flavors; no druggy after effects.
two bottles of Knudsen’s Sparkling Cranberry Juice (chilled)
one and half cups of orange juice
club soda (to splash on top)
Directions: Duh! way too easy. Throw the juices together in a punch bowl to mix, ladle out to glassware, splash each with club soda and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. May I have some of your tasty beverage? Happy New Year!!