Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Barfly's Beat: The Qualifying Round

Will you qualify?
by Chivalrous

We've all been there. Stop for a second. You've got a party to go to, but we are a block away from our favorite last minute. Behind the stick is a bartender you'll actually favor and undoubt to trust. Good friends to see…early morning ahead of you. Sure, we all say the same thing.

"Ok, I'll stop in… but just one cocktail. That's it! I swear. Just one and then I have to go. Really."

Who is kissing me? Who is it? Deep down, we all know there's no such thing as just one cocktail on our lips anymore than there, than there can be only one shoe instead of a pair. One cufflink. One Dean Martin.

The mere suggestion of such an undertaking is dead to be followed by smirks, and upon one's inevitable second round, some well-deserved and light hearted mocking. So what.

So what's a card-carrying member of the Loungerati to do? Not show up? Pull an Irish exit after one drink? Perish the thought of those shenanigans. Should one stand there empty handed and dry as a bone while your friends enjoy toast after toast? Don't make me laugh.

For years I struggled with this question until one hot July day the answer came bursting out of my TV. What amounts to an epiphany came from the most unlikely of sources – The Summer Olympic Games.

The Olympiad, a grand spectacle that has stood the test of time.

Our greatest athletes from around the globe compete on the world stage to tune the honor of their countries (and back in the athletes’ Olympic village, they get it on with each other in a way that puts Plato's Retreat to shame)!

But even Michael Phelps doesn't simply walk in, swim in one race and walk out with his medal. First, every competitor must partake in a qualifying round. And once the qualifying round is passed, they proceed to the first round, you and me, and to second rounds, and ultimately the finals.

I think you see where I'm going here.

The art of imbibing a cocktail is more of a cooperative undertaking than a competitive sport. We know that the cocktail should be savored, sipped, and celebrated. So it makes sense to have a two-drink minimum even when you are dropping in for “just one.”

Besides, when you think about it, it's downright rude to simply walk into a bar and order your final cocktail right off the bat. It's much more sporting, in fact it's just more respectful to chat with your barkeep and request a qualifying round to kick it off. Then once you've successfully quaffed your qualifier, you are fully capable of ordering your first round with a clear conscience. Heck, you may even qualify for a third drink on the house so put your kicks on the brass rail. Next one on me.

You are welcome.


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