Over the holidays we had a quite a few interesting guests. One that stands out in my mind was a lady who came in with a group to celebrate a birthday. It was a party of eight and it didn’t seem as though they were the kind of people who normally eat out at fine dining restaurants. This is an observation, not a condemnation. They were very excited to be with us but seemed somewhat uncomfortable in their surroundings. We did our best to set them at ease and to ensure that they would enjoy their evening. Once they were finally settled, one of the ladies turned to the server and asked for a bar book. She was offered a cocktail list and firmly refused it. “No, no, I want one of those books that lists all of the different drinks in it.” Flummoxed, the server went to retrieve a book of cocktails from behind the bar. She presented it to the lady who proceeded to sit there perusing the book while her companions looked over the wine list. Eventually she called the server over and ordered a slightly unusual fruity cocktail.
“Let me find out if we can make that for you.” The now slightly panicked server came back into the kitchen with the book checking to make sure Alex was out of earshot. I looked up from the dishes I was plating.
Sharply, “What are you doing with that book?”
“Um, the guest requested it. She wanted to choose her own drink.”
“Did you offer her the list?”
“Of course I did. She wanted an actual BOOK. I couldn’t talk her out of it.”
“So, what did she order? Do you need me to make something?”
“She ordered a Bananarama!”
“A Bananarama! I’ve never even heard of a Bananarama. And we don’t have the ingredients, I mean, I’ve never even heard of a Bananarama!”
“Okay, when I finish these plates I’ll go out to the bar and talk to her. I’m sure we can come up with something.”
“She’s not at the bar.”
“She’s not at the bar? Where is she?”
“At The Table.” Slowly, “She wants her Bananarama with her dinner.”
“With her dinner?”
At this moment Alex walks in from the dining room. “What’s with Table 2? And why is there a bar book in here?”
I turned to the server, “Go find out her second choice.” The server fled. Alex had a minor meltdown, which thankfully no one heard. The customer had White Russians with her tasting menu. It didn’t matter. She wasn’t there for the food. She was there for the opportunity to order a very expensive, specially made cocktail. We obliged her to the best of our abilities at the moment. Why? Because this is a Service Industry and that’s just one of the many services we offer. We may not always like it but we always have to find a way to make it work.
As long as you’re making this, you might want to garnish the glass with vanilla or lime salt and a wheel of banana.
1 oz crème de bananas
1/2 oz orange liqueur
1 dash bitters
1 oz light cream
Pour the crème de bananas, orange liqueur, bitters and light cream into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake vigorously, strain into a martini glass, and serve.