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Patron? Don’t Think So – I’s Going Old School

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By James Geneau

I love hip-hop, rap and R&B. There, I said it. It feels good to admit it, like a 1,000 pound brick being lifted off you while being trapped at the bottom of a swimming pool. Give me some Ludacris, Rihanna, T.I., and even Lil Kim and I will purr like a kitten all night. Lately however, I have been disenchanted by the ongoing advertorials appearing in the lyrics. You know what I mean. Those subtle references to Courvoisier, Patron and Hennessey where it is either being passed, served as a side of something nasty, or resulting in the victim being hit with "a whole lotta" something. At first, when they were referring to quality vintages with legacies of craftsmanship I was apprehensive yet slightly accepting of incorporating them into a song. But Patron isn't even legally a Mexican entity, how the hell does that make it a quality Tequila? It doesn't, it is simply expensive. Ok, that is a bit harsh. It isn't that bad but I still don't think it is the finest of Tequilas.  Just my opinion.

Sure, everybody likes to look important when they go out to the club and I am certain that for many, these lyrics are what help to boost alcohol sales for specific brands within a "specific" market - also known as young and impressionable scene-istas. But the reality is that the younglings who are scratching every penny together to show off their high-flying style aren't exactly knee deep in bling these days if you know what I mean. With A&F, H&M and AE struggling to sell enough ripped jeans, the scene-istas are going to be out of work and cash strapped. Oh and the back-up crowd? The wanna-be scene-istas with stronger paychecks? Well, let's just say they stopped buying Patron when Bear Stearns collapsed. So, what's a 30-something rap loving guy or gal to do?

Just because Ludacris references it in a song or some of the boys from "The Hills" pick it up for a party doesn't mean it is quality. No fool, you need to go Old School! And by that I mean the classics, the spirits and drinks that, believe it or not, are readily available and lack the high mark-ups in the clubs or at the liquor store. Put on your best depression-era suit and listen younglings, Uncle James is going to share some great ideas to make you a player, sans rapping.

First of all, stop ordering shooters. What the hell is that about? You are out with friends, or soon to be friends. Why the need to get blitzed in under 20 minutes? If you want to do bottle service this weekend, go for a classic sipper, Gin. It is half the price of Patron Gold on the bottle-service menu and it goes great alone or with tonic. Yes, you can have a little Gin and Juice if you want to be a gangster. My point here is that a bottle of Gin will do just fine with a group of ten friends. But grant it, it may be a little too focused a spirit to appeal to everyone. But we are just starting, and Gin is an affordable option to make you stand out from the crowd.

A bottle of Vodka is always an affordable option provided it is not one of the over-priced brand-focused bottles with a distilling history created in a Madison Avenue boardroom over Sushi or Thai take-out. You know what I am talking about. Go for the classics. I know I will upset a lot of people when I say Vodka is Vodka. Half of Eastern Europe just shivered as I typed this but the reality is that most people order this as bottle service then drench it in low-quality orange juice and no-name tonic when they order bottle service. If you are a true connoisseur, then by all means drink it straight from the bottle in front of everyone and ask for the highest quality bottle out there. Otherwise, don't be so foolish and stick to a cheaper brand.

Next, we have the Rum option. Rum is dirt cheap on the bottle service scene price -wise and if you are creative, or have a killer smile, you can always get the bar staff to give you some perks. What kind of perks? How about a glass of fresh mint from the bar and some sugar? It is readily available, especially if the lounge is attached to a restaurant. If you pull it off, it is Mojito time. And in February isn't that what we need? A little southern freshness? Or make your own concoction, what do I care. The point here is that bottle service is really just to make you look important or "the life of the party", not they guy or gal with the most money. Get an affordable bottle of Bacardi this weekend, ask for some mint, and watch the scene-istas start to freak out. "Why did he get mint?" "Why are they so nice to her?" "I want to hang out with them." Believe me, it is simple applied social science. Being different is more important than the price of your bottle.

Speaking of being different, let's go way off the norm and get into some wine. You can't get any more Old School than enjoying a bottle of wine amongst a bunch of Jagermeister shooting patrons in the bottle service area. But wait, wine isn't on the bottle service list. How can you pull this off? Well, if you are a regular this won't matter. And believe me, if you order a $200.00 bottle of wine the owner is not going to show you the door. Start with a great vintage and if you and your friends feel like it, split another more affordable one. The key thing here is that wine is great to share with friends and it is different. You will not only enjoy one of the best artisan beverages ever created by man but you will also stand out from the crowd.

Finally, for those of you who are simply looking for cocktails at the bar as opposed to being the guy or gal alone at a table with a big bottle and some mix, I have one simple rule if you want to be popular without breaking the bank. Cocktails are always more expensive than mixed drinks. Apparently, from what I have observed in my many years of alcohol consumption, it costs $5-$6.00 more whenever the bartender needs to shake versus stir. That being said, a round of Cosmopolitans for you and your new friends will always come back to haunt you when it is time to settle the tab. I have seen it time and time again. People get into their groove, think they are on top of the world, and order a round of high-priced cocktails for 20 total strangers. Then they get their card declined when the $450.00 bill is a little more than their Mastercard can handle.

So, how do you prevent this? Stop ordering what you think is popular for everyone and be selective. Ask your friends what they want and specifically order their drink. A few beers, some Gin and Tonics, and a few Rum and Cokes will do much less damage than a round of $15.00 Celeba-tinis served on a big tray to all the members of your "entourage". Not only that, but you are getting them what "they" want and actually engaging in a conversation with them, not randomly making a scene throwing money away. Save that for weddings, strip clubs, bar-mitzvahs, and baby-showers - whatever your lifestyle tends to bring you to.

And there you have it, my "Old School" tips for having fun without being an idiot. Seriously, the art of the drink is something you should enjoy, not waste. I know that sentence just made me sound like a 90 year old wise-man but it has merit. If you want to be the scene-ista, then be different. The price of the bottle or the brand means nothing. Secondly, savour what you are throwing your money at. If you are going to rack up a $400.00 bill at a bar this weekend you should at least be experiencing something that will stick with you for a long time. You should wake up the next morning alive and remembering the fantastic experience you had with great friends, not useless with a massive hang over and a voicemail from your credit card company. After all, $400.00 is the price of an entry-level flat-screen TV and I am sure you would not be happy if it was useless the day after you bought it.


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