The con at the Long Island

Next time you are at an upscale nightclub, seemingly the kind of place you wouldn't expect a con at the bar to happen, well think again. It has more to do with the integrity of the owner than the geographic location. In lot of cases also the greedy barman.

Recently, I was with a bunch of my friends at Athena, the nightclub in Leela Palace for a Saturday night clubbing. The very 5 star hotel that is famous for signature martinis at its Library Bar.

The club was swarming with the hippest of Bangalore and alcohol was flowing at the bar. Like any other packed place, customers had to fight their way for their dose of beer or spirits for the night. People were happy with loud music and the apparent freedom to dance. One of our friends, struggled up to the bar and ordered for a LONG ISLAND ICE TEA.(LIIT)

Most of you would know what this cocktail is. But for the few of those who do not, I shall do the explaining bit. LIIT is almost the highest alcohol concentration cocktail. Popularised in America, this is a cocktail made with equal portions of 5 white spirits – Vodka, Gin, Rum, Triple Sec and Tequila. All spirits are mixed with sweet and sour mix and topped with cola in a High ball (tall) glass full of ice. On a normal day, one of this is good enough to put you out of your senses.

Back to the LIIT at Athena, that costs 600 bucks; my friend was served with the drink in a pilsner glass. (Pilsner is a much shorter glass than a high ball – basically a beer glass). As if it was not irritating enough, she could not taste any alcohol in the glass at all. The barman strummed in a lot of cola and no alcohol.

She asked me to taste the drink and I felt the same. No alcohol and a lot of cola. Mixing less and selling short is the most common cons at almost all bars. Especially with women ordering, the barmen take them easy and try to fool them of their money in busy clubs like that night. Sometimes this is done, so that the barman does not ring in the drink to the register at all and keeps the cash to himself. At other times, its done so that the barman can pour your share of alcohol into another guest for almost free and get a tip or serve a visiting friend at the bar for free.

When complained, a good bartender will take it back and give you something else, but, at Athena when we confront the creator of the drink, he confidently says, he made the drink and knows that he put in enough alcohol. When we insist, he adds a dash of tequila to it, making absolutely no difference to the drink. Our mistake - not paying attention to the drink when being made originally. It is such a pity to discover discovered that a majority of the bartenders have very poor knowledge about the art of blending liquor and on top of that they are conning around.

It makes my heart heavy to accuse people as such, but having seen it personally I cant help call a few of the bartenders – simply “thieves” who are determined to take advantage of every opportunity to steal. Sooner or later everyone becomes a victim of a greedy bar owner, but in case of Athena, I cannot blame management believing it to be a 5-star that wont try such cheap tricks..

The only defense at such times is question everything that doesn’t smell, taste, or looks good to you. Don't be afraid to speak up! If you don't have enough vodka in your drink, if you've been served in a "sly-ball" instead of a highball, COMPLAIN VERY LOUD! That’s what we should have done that night. May be next time. I mean loud, so everyone at the bar can hear you. You will get the service you deserve, and everybody will be looking at their glass wondering, then looking at the bartender suspiciously....

Awareness of what constitutes a good drink is the first step...

I met a couple of my friends for “drinks after work” last evening at TGIF & ordered their famous “Ultimate LIIT”. Aah, it was so bloody real LIIT. Except they replace Tequila with Brandy. Apparently, TGIF makes the best LIITs of the world. No wonder they are so popular at their happy hours. Ponder why it is so difficult for the rest of the world to mix 5 spirits honestly with coke and serve.


2 Responses to "The con at the Long Island"

Anonymous said... March 18, 2009 at 6:40 AM

The same happened with 'SB' at fBar & Kitchen a few months back. Got a very "coked" LIIT instead of a real LIIT !

Siva Priya said... March 19, 2009 at 1:00 AM

Shank guess what -most of the places here top up the servings with an extra dash of alcohol and a normal peg of vodkacan be anywhere from a large to a patiala. A lil more...that's the aim maybe coz Beer is cheaper than water and some such analogy!

Sorry to hear abt the Conning! It's common I know and I'm always LOUD about it if its done to me...

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About Shank

Shank is a cocktail enthusiast & a self-proclaimed mixologist. He likes to experiment with spirits. He has traveled around a bit visiting hundreds of bars and tasting the buzziest of alcohols, cocktails and shooters.

Shank spent early years of his dizziness in Mumbai. He has lived in Hyderabad for long and for the past few years is chilling his glass in Bangalore.

He is currently busy spreading his love for spirits through this blog - Cocktail Nirvana.

This blog is part of his ongoing quest for fine spirits, creative cocktails and classic mixology. These online journals will capture his cocktail inventions, adventures with alcohol, trips to bars, meeting with ace mixologists, lessons in the art of drinking and much more.

This apart, ignoring good judgment, the fine folks at also allow him to take up valuable space on their portal with his words & pictures.

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