The Perfect Memorial Day Cocktail (or alternate title: Life Lessons From an Ex-Bartender)

by Meredith on May 27, 2011

When someone leaves our company, part of my job (as the Human Resources Manager) is to find out what they thought about their time with us.  Sometimes it is not appropriate to ask people what they thought of the benefits package or the 401K when you are… oh, I don’t know… making them leave.  In these circumstances, I have a handy-dandy little form that I send to their homes.

The Exit Interview Questionnaire.

If you ever get an Exit Interview Questionnaire, I strongly encourage you to fill it out and send it back to the company.  This is your chance to say ANYTHING you want.  I mean, heck, you don’t work there anymore.  So this little gem is your chance to tell the HR Manager things that he/she may not know.

Most times people tell me things about their manager that I did not know.  Sometimes they roll their co-workers under the bus.  But this last time, well, the person said things about me.

This had never, ever happened before.

Q.  Do you have any suggestions for improvement to make the company a better place?

A.  Hire a real HR person not just a Jed’s bartender.

At first, I thought my eyes were deceiving me.

Did that seriously say “hire a real HR person not just a Jed’s bartender”?

*squinting*

*analyzing*

It did.

Jed’s is a local bar.  Scantily clad girls bring you stiff drinks and hot chicken wings.  I worked here while going to college.

COLLEGE. The place that I graduated from earning a Bachelor of Science in Business with a focus on Employment Law.

The more I thought about the words that had just hurt my feelings… the more I felt like standing up in my office and yelling, “YES!  I WORKED AT JED’S!  AND I AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN THAT PRETTY!”

Jed’s didn’t just hire anyone.  To become a Jed’s Girl, you had to be super pretty and very charming.  ALL of the girls were pulling in around $300 in tips per night.  Even on Wednesdays, you would make $300.

Jed’s was not Hooter’s.  But Jed’s probably was a close local second to Hooter’s.  Shirts were tight.  Skirts were short.  I think this is why the person thought it would be a bad thing.  It’s weird, because it’s no secret that I used to sling drinks for a living, and I certainly am not mixing cocktails in my office while talking about performance reviews (although, sometimes I would like to during those conversations).

Bartending at Jed’s taught me many lessons in life.  Lessons that have made me a better HR Manager.

  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Give great service to everyone.  You never know who is your next big tipper.  Looks can be deceiving.
  2. Check your problems at the door. Smile.  A lot.  Even if your day is bad, it’s not your customer’s fault.  Just smile.
  3. Don’t give up. Keep the drinks coming.  The more they drink, the less they notice other mistakes (like how you forgot to put their order in).
  4. Be funny.  Tell an opening joke to break the ice.
  5. People like the extra benefits. Drink napkins are key.  Everyone likes them.
  6. Keep work relationships work related. Don’t date the help or the customer.
  7. Evaluate yourself.  Constantly. “Was everything great today?”  “Would you like another round?”
  8. Be honest.  Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t blame the kitchen for everything.
  9. Talk to everyone. Especially the guy sitting by himself.  He came here to talk to someone even if he seems closed off.
  10. Build company loyalty. Build a group of regulars.  Do this by telling them that you enjoyed waiting on them, and tell them you value their patronage.  Point out that they had more fun sitting at your bar than they would have at a competitor.
  11. Take pride in your work. Make a GREAT drink, and have a few signature cocktails.

All of the things I’ve learned at Jed’s have served me very well in my career.

In honor of the person who recognized my talents as a bartender and associated them with my HR job,  and in honor of Memorial Day, may I give to you… The Bomb Pop Cocktail.

Bomb Pop Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 1 part UV Blue Raspberry Vodka
  • 1 part Lemonade
  • 1 part Cranberry Juice

STEP 1:

Fill a tall glass with ice.  All the way up.

Pour lemonade a little over 1/3 of the way up.

STEP 2:

Next, you will tilt the glass to the side, and VERY SLOWLY poor the UV Vodka down the inside of the glass, pouring on the rim.  Fill it up until it’s over 2/3 full.  SLOW and on the INSIDE is key to this step (that’s what she said).

You are layering, and this makes it look real fancy-like.  Keep trying until you get it right.  You will be super proud of yourself once you get it.  UV is cheap (only $11) so don’t stress out of you have to dump a few glasses while you’re try to figure this out.

You’re almost done!

Bartenders HATE drinks with more than 3 ingredients because they take too long to make.  Remember that the next time you go out and order a mocha espresso martini.

STEP 3:

Finally, you will VERY SLOWLY pour your cranberry juice down the rim until you fill it up.  It may be easier for first timers to use a shot glass instead of pouring it out of the juice bottle.  Shot glasses are smaller and easier to control.

Looks are deceiving, but you actually want a little less cranberry juice than anything else.  It will look like there is more since it blends in with the UV Vodka.

Holy Patriotic!  And yum!  It tastes just like a Bomb Pop Popsicle.

See?  Ex-Jed’s Bartenders are good for many things.  Like drink recipes and never knowing a stranger.

Have a great holiday!  Cheers!

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy P

Oh! I am so going to try this!

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Meredith

It’s really EASY. It just looks difficult to make. And I never measure anything. I just free pour.

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Jen

Alright, that’s it. I am coming to your holiday. My holiday get together’s will have nothing like this.

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Meredith

I have drinks for every occasion! Come on over (now that I know we are pretty close to each other)!

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Meredith

Also, I can barely cook. So bring food.

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pgoodness

Looks and sounds yummy….except for the cranberry. :( Does is REALLY taste like a bomb pop, because I’ll give it a try! ;)

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Meredith

Yes, it really does.

You can also use grenadine. If you go that route – use very little (it’s SO sweet!). And put the grenadine on the bottom since it’s thicker. So if you do that – it would be a little grenadine, lemonade, and then UV. You have to figure out which stuff is the thickest so it floats.

It looks cranberry heavy in the photo, but really there is less of that than anything. The blue and red just merged a little.

I do use grenadine when I make it a martini. But that is a real pain in the ass. You have to chill and shake everything first and then layer in a chilled martini glass.

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improperly forward

You just became my favorite person on the Internet. Maybe even on this earth.

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Meredith

Best. Compliment. Ever.

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Lisa

Ohhellno! Hire a real HR person not just a Jed’s bartender? I really hope you start spamming the hell out of his email with erectile dysfunction ads. ***sent anonymously, of course.***

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Jill

I have 2 Land’s End suits and after having a baby, I NEED them!! They are awesome, they always fit perfect and don’t look too old lady :o )

By the way I’ve been reading your blog for a while and just realized that I know you, duh, LOL.

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Meredith

I totally know you! I just checked you out! How fun is this? Super fun.

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Jill

Yes, so weird. Seems like such a long time ago too, WOW!!! And I totally found your blog just by random.

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Jill

And I posted this on the wrong post, oops. I have only had 3 sips of coffee, blame it on that. And what is up with my smiley face there, it turned yellow and creepy.

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Meredith

It’s totally cool. I need coffee to survive as well.

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Amanda @ There Are 2 Sides

This is too much fun Meredith. And you are totally a hot Jed’s Girl!!

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Steph

Oh snap! I’m going to make this tonight when I get home. I’ve had them before but never made them. Thanks!

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Crystal

I’ve had this at a little local bar in Richmond, VA and it totally tastes just like a bomb pop popcicle! Im pretty sure they used grenadine though. It was a little too fruity and girly for my taste since I like the hard stuff (thats what she said). It is great on a sticky summer night.

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maggie

I can totally relate to your work discussion. I was a fast food restaurant manager for MANY years before becoming a Administrative Assistant for a large company. I learned so many skills in my “past life” that have indubitably made me a better employee. I feel like I have a better appreciation for my position being that I worked the other side of the fence. Thanks for the reminder!!! Thanks for the drink idea…going to make it this weekend!!

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AngieM.

i am SO trying that, looks delish!

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Marissa

Found your blog by Google Imaging “Memorial Weekend Cocktails,” thanks for the fabulous cocktail and the hysterical story that lead to said fabulous cocktail! One thing you forgot, you learned to take the high road, Air 5 :) Have a wonderful weekend!!!

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Meredith

God bless Google SEO enhancers. Thanks for stopping by!

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Jayme (Random Blogette)

That drink looks fabulous. And BTW, I totally envied the Jed’s bartenders. I could’ve never kept up with all of that!! I waited tables for 7 years at several restaurants but the Jed’s girls really just blew me away. And I was a frequent patron of the Jed’s on Reynolds!

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Another Suburban Mom

I always love the exit interview, although I have never given one to someone whom we have asked to leave. I can’t do it at my current job since our turnover is so low (like a person a year) that it would be impossible to have any meaningful data.

Anyway the person was probably just jealous of your myriad of skills and the fact that you were once that hot.

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Dawn_ewords

Love. Love. Love this! Many lessons to be learned in life from any situation! When life gives you lemons…grab a shot glass, suga and some vodka!

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Claudia

When I left the company I worked for after 8 years, I gave them a bad exit interview. The manager I worked for was harrassing me (psychological harassment) and HR never did anything. So when I left, I told them how I really felt and what I thought about the whole situation.

The manager no longer holds that position.

Anyhoo, tomorrow, I have to find blue vodka. That will be the mission of the day. LOL

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