I sometimes like to brag about how terrible my job is. “Welp,” I said, “Today I’ve an assignment to make and photograph an alcoholic coffee drink. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.” Rotten tomatoes ensued, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
I do like working as a food blogger. It doesn’t pay nearly as well as my old job (at least not yet), but I hated my old job with a firey passion. I traded income for the right to be my own boss and the best hours anybody could ask for. Even if my hours are sometimes long and weird, I’m usually surrounded by people whose company I enjoy, and I’m not being forced into some mold of behaviour expectations where I have to stand around the water cooler and pretend I know what people are talking about when they’re discussing the latest episode of the Voice or whatever reality TV series is currently flavour of the month.
Back when the Brontosauruses roamed the Earth, I was part of a team that opened a TGI Fridays (and seriously, did you know that the Brontosaurus never existed as a species, and they knew this at least since 1970-something? My ENTIRE pre-secondary education was a lie of Brontosauruses and Pluto-is-a-planet). I learned many interesting things from TGI Fridays. Possibly ironically I will also automatically break into song when you ask me what’s in the TGI Fridays club sandwich like I’ve got some sort of food Tourettes tic going on.
I also dated a TGI Fridays bartender back in this ancient time.
My managers liked to brag about how they trained Tom Cruise for the 1988 film Cocktail. And it’s true… prior to Y2K, TGI Fridays bartenders were considered Badass Mofos in the drink-serving world. To be part of this elite group, not only did you have to know the TGI Fridays drink repertoire, which included many, many bastard variations of popular drinks like “Sex on the Beach,” but you had to know how to do at least six bartender tricks (and we called those flair too, so there you have it, the Office Space joke is real).
Boyfriend Sam* (not his real name) was the rock star of our bar. Patrons would actually try to bring their kids into the bar area to watch him. He put our 20 foot ceilings to good use, tossing lime wedges nearly to the ceiling before catching them behind his back in a glass, breathing fire, doing 10 shot pours, finding your dollar bills embedded in a whole lemon, flipping bottles like nobody’s business.
As I was a lowly waitress, he taught me the art of the Irish Coffee, a drink so simple in concept but so beautiful in its versatility. If I could sell one to a person, I would eventually sell three to that person–and make no mistake, waitresses were charged to accomplish sales. They were our bread and butter in the winter season.
Baileys and Coffee go together like peas and carrots, and from that simple start, you can build an entire universe of drinks with flavour shots, chocolate, other flavoured liqueurs. The best seller I had was what we called back then the Cafe Toledo: Coffee, Baileys, Kahlua, Chocolate Syrup, and a generous dollop of real whipped cream.
Sometimes I leave out the Kahlua for a sweeter drink, and then you get what I like to call Chocolate Irish Coffee.
- 2 oz Baileys (per glass, 2.5 oz if using a tall coffee cup)
- Chocolate Syrup
- Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Pour a generous dollop of chocolate syrup in the bottom of the mug.
- Add the Baileys, and fill the cup nearly to the brim with freshly-brewed hot coffee.
- Stir, and top with whipped cream and more syrup, if desired.
(Turkey, ham and ba-CON! Lettuce, tomato, may-O! American Cheese!)