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What the bartender wishes you knew

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Ever wondered what the bartender is really thinking as you blag your way through the cocktail list? We asked Patrick Fogarty, owner of Dr Ink’s Curiosities in Exeter, about the misconceptions that leave him reaching for the bottle. Here’s what he wishes you knew …

Patrick Fogarty

Downing a long island iced tea won’t induce slurring and double vision any faster than a carefully designed cocktail

The idea that different cocktails contain different volumes of alcohol is one of the biggest misconceptions.

A double measure comes as standard in most drinks – what changes is the amount and type of ice. So whether you’re sipping a stiff negroni or a berry-infused bitters, neither are any more to blame for your rendition of Britney later in the evening.

“Flair bartenders” are all show and no go

Bartenders are a fairly humble bunch but a couple of arrogant examples give us a pretentious reputation. I’m looking at you ‘mixologist extraordinaire’ and ‘head libation engineer’

Forget flinging bottles and flashy job titles, the customers’ experience is what really matters. Fantastic hospitality, quick service and a smile make a great bartender.

And don’t get him started on the “mixologist” …

The term is bandied about in bar culture but few realise the difference between a bartender and a mixologist.

Think of it like a head chef being referred to as a pastry chef: mixology is a skill set which some choose to master, but using the term “mixologist” rather than bartender limits that person to creating cocktails rather than serving a range of drinks.

Look at the menu before you order a pina colada

At Dr Ink’s we make our ginger ale, sherbets and syrups from scratch instead of stocking carbonated mixers such as lemonade.

One of my biggest bugbears is when customers bypass the menu and order a generic drink, such as sex on the beach. We don’t serve them. We’ve taken six months to create our cocktail list, refined recipes and taste tested everything we create – take the time to see what we can do.

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Larderhouse cocktail

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