Bargirl: Hi. What can I get ya?
Anna: Can I get a vodka coke, a G’n’T, and a double whisky on the rocks? And what time does the pub quiz start?
Bargirl: The quiz starts at half eight, or whatever time the quizmaster eventually drifts in. Ice in the vodka and the gin and tonic?
Anna: No thanks. What are the prizes, can I ask?
Bargirl: First place gets a case of wine. Second gets a mini keg. Third gets a round of drinks. Right, here you go: one vodka coke, one G & T, and a double whisky on the rocks.
Anna: Thanks. Can we start a tab?
Bargirl: Sure, although tabs have to be settled on the night.
Anna: No problem. By the way, what time is last orders?
Bargirl: Quarter to one.
Anna: Cool. Oh, one last thing: do you sell smokes here?
Bargirl: I’m afraid not, but there’s a 24-hour garage 5 minutes down the road.
Anna: Ta very much. Thanks.
Bartender: Hi there. What can I do you for?
Dave: I’m not sure. I usually get beer, but it always leaves me a bit bloated. What spirits would you recommend?
Bartender: The Long Island Ice Tea here is good. And the Irish Car Bomb will put you on your ass. If you want something with less of a kick, you could try the Blue Hawaii. It’s actually happy hour at the moment, so cocktails are two for one. And I know you said you weren’t after beer, but pitchers are half price, and it’s buy 2 pints of draft, get 1 free.
Dave: Tell you what, I’ll try one of the cocktails. What goes into a Churchill?
Bartender: That’s 3 parts whisky, 1 part Vermouth, 1 part Cointreau, and a splash of lime juice.
Dave: Sounds like a hangover in a glass. On second thoughts, I’ll stick to beer. Do you have anything that isn’t lager?
Bartender: Sure, we’ve got stout and IPA. The IPA is pretty good: it’s a microbrew.
Dave: Give me a pint of that.
Bartender: Alright, one pint of IPA coming up.
Dave: Can I buy a couple and get the free one, but keep them on tap?
Bartender: Sure. No problem.
Dave: And what do you have in the way of snacks? I’m famished.
Bartender: For bar snacks, we’ve got popcorn, peanuts, crisps, and pork scratchings. The food menu is at the end of the bar if you want something a bit more substantial.
Dave: Got ya. I’ll take a bag of the scratchings.
My local pub usually has a good crowd, with a decent mixture of regulars and first-timers, locals and out-of-towners. Indeed, it can be quite busy – standing room only – on Friday and Saturday nights when the weekenders come into town and the suits let their hair down. Those nights are pretty fun, although I prefer the quieter evenings when it feels more like a local, the sort of place – to quote ‘Cheers’ – ‘where everybody knows your name’.
I usually head down there around a quarter to eight so I can catch the end of happy hour, then stick around for a couple of hours. Some people say that this is a country of social alcoholics, but I do try to keep things in check, especially if it is a school night and I have work in the morning; that said, I have been pretty wasted in there in the past, particularly if I’ve been on the tequila (tequila is my Achilles’ Heel; I can’t hold that drink at all). For all my sins, however, I’ve never been as sozzled as the students who occasionally come in at the weekend for an afternoon session, playing drinking games in the beer garden and messing around with cards, dice, or jenga. Some of those guys can get pretty paralytic.
The majority of people who stop by spend their time chewing the fat with their friends, but there are a few loners who come in and prop-up the bar, chatting to the bargirls or bartenders and ordering ‘the usual’. A lot of people think barflies are sort of pathetic, sitting around chatting to some woman young enough to be their daughter, but it is probably better than sitting at home by one’s self. And I shouldn’t knock them: perhaps they are a glimpse at my future.
The ingredients of some popular cocktails and shooters:
Screwdriver: 1 part vodka; 2 parts orange juice
Bloody Mary: 3 parts vodka; 6 parts tomato juice; 1 part lemon juice
Pina Colada: 1 part white rum; 1 part cream of coconut; 3 parts pineapple juice
Margarita: 7 parts tequila; 4 parts Cointreau; 3 parts lime juice
Mai Tai: 8 parts white rum; 4 parts dark rum; 3 parts orange curacao; 2 parts orgeat syrup; lime juice
Manhattan: 2 shots whisky; 1 shot red vermouth; shot of Angostura bitter;
Mojito: 2 parts white rum; 1 part lime juice; mint leaves; sugar; soda water
Daiquiri: 9 parts white rum; 4 parts lime juice; syrup
Long Island Iced Tea: vodka; tequila; triple sec; white rum; gin; lemon juice; gomme syrup; splash of cola
Singapore Sling: 2 measures gin; 1 measure cherry brandy; 1 measure of orange, pineapple and lime juice
Gin Fizz: 3 parts gin; 1 part lemon juice; 5 parts soda water
Pink Lady: Gin; splash of grenadine; 1 egg white
Black Russian: 5 parts vodka; 2 parts coffee liqueur
Boilermaker: 1 pint of beer; 1 shot whisky
Irish Car Bomb: 1 shot Irish whisky; 1 pint of Irish stout; 1 shot of Irish cream (cream liquor)
Sex on the Beach: 2 parts vodka; 1 part peach schnapps; 2 parts orange juice; 2 parts cranberry juice
Screaming Orgasm: Vodka; Amaretto; Triple Sec; White Crème de Cacao; Cream
Blue Lagoon: 1 part vodka; 1 part blue curacao; 4 parts of lemonade
Wine cooler: wine; fruit juice; carbonated drink; sugar
Vesper: 3 measures gin; 1 measure vodka; ½ kina lillet (85% Bordeaux wine; 15% citrus spirits)
(created by James Bond, and named after Vesper Lynd, the girl Bond loves)