There are a few things I'd like to bring in when I bartend but I haven't gotten around to buying them yet and I know I won't be reimbursed if I do. But I think I could kick the drinks up a notch if I brought in the following things:
1) Olive Brine:The popularity of the dirty martini has opened up the market for brine being sold separate from the olive. (My cousin Kevin calls the dirty martini a "starter kit." He might be right. I moved from dirties to straight up Citroen.) At Vito we have this gallon jug of sad, dry little olives because we've used up all the juice. Olive brine sold be itself completely solves this problem. But I'll have to take the $9.00 hit (which is about my current hourly pay rate - tips not included) as I know they won't reimburse me.
2) Simple Syrup :For a long time when drinks called for simple syrup with lemon or lime juice, bartenders would reach for the ubiquitous "sweet & sour" mixer. (In fact, Mr. Boston's just went back to the original simple syrup/lemon/lime recipes. Apparently in it's earlier editions it too found a short cut by using sweet and sour mix. (FYI: Sweet and sour mix should only be used for Collins drinks or "sours" such as Amaretto Sour or Midori Sour which I drank when I was a fag-hag back in the late 80's.) But now as drinks (or is it the drinkers?) get a little more sophisticated, sweet and sour mix just doesn't seem to cut it. (It gives me wicked heartburn.) Although the mixers that we use at Vito are good, nothing is really a good substitute for real lemon or lime juice combined with simple syrup. There's no high fructose corn syrup messing up your liquors. You can make your own simple syrup at home, it's equal parts sugar and water heated until and stirred until the sugar dissolves. Put it in a jar and get ready to rock your guest's box's off.
3) Real Lemon and Lime Juice:If I get simple syrup I'm led to my next problem: fresh lemon and lime juice. I hate Rose's Lime Juice. (It also gives me wicked heartburn. So do bananas, water while I work out, and peanut butter. But I digress.) Fresh lemons are abundant here in SoCal but squeezing all those f*ckers before my shift would be pretty labor intensive. Also, I'd run through all the lemons off my tree (pictured above with Nate) in about half a night. This means that I'd have to buy and squeeze a bunch more lemons adding to my un-reimbursement total. However, I'm torn because I think fresh lemon juice combined with simple syrup would take my Lemon Solstice and the Lemon Drop to a new level.
I'll talk to Hank about the olive brine to start. Baby Steps.