Back in 12 Bottle Bar’s infancy, our friend Sam Greenspan, proprietor and author of the fantastic 11Points.com, did us a huge favor. He generously offered to create an 11 Points list of his favorite 12 Bottle Bar concoctions. Sam’s introduction of our young site to his massive audience gave us a whole new army of fans, for which we are eternally grateful. Today, it’s time to return the favor.
The line between great comedy and mediocre comedy is often razor thin. The great comics obsess over the details and they know how to wring every last percentage point of comedy out of every single joke. For my money, the funniest line in one of the funniest movies ever made, Caddyshack, comes when Rodney Dangerfield elbows an older lady on the Bushwood dance floor and asks, “Hey, honey, how’d you like to make $14 the hard way?”
14 dollars. Not 10. Not 15. 14. Rodney knew that in that moment, in that joke, the number 14 was, by some significant percentage, funnier than any other number he could have used. The difference between 14 and 15 is the difference between a polite chuckle and a spot amongst the greatest comedic one-liners of all time. In fact, I think the first rule of being a great comedian ought to be that you can correctly identify numbers or words that are inherently funny. Monty Python knew how to do it, and they performed an entire sketch on the subject of silly words and the correct identification thereof, wherein the ultimate winner was “Wankel Rotary Engine”.
See? Funny, right?
Sam Greenspan is a man who gets it. There’s nothing funny about the number 12… it’s just a dozen. You probably have a dozen of something within arm’s reach of you right now as you read this. I mean, we chose 12, and we’re hardly comic geniuses. Similarly, just about every media outlet that the world has ever known has published a “Top 10” list. Like 12, there is nothing funny about the number 10. But right in between 10 and 12, lives a much funnier number… and Sam figured it out first (well, not quite first I suppose — it was Nigel Tufnel who first reminded us that 11 is “one louder”). 11Points.com is, well, let’s let Sam explain it: “a blog made up entirely of 11-item lists. Because top 10 lists are for cowards.”
But the good news — and the reason for this post — is that Sam got himself a book deal! And Sam did it the right way… he didn’t release a sex tape, or sleep with a Congressman (as far as I know), or go on an elaborate killing spree based on the 11 Plagues of the Bible. He did it the way you’re supposed to do it, by being consistently funny day-in and day-out. And we think that kind of good old-fashioned hard work deserves a stiff drink here on June 9th, National ““Buy Sam’s Damned Book” Day.
Why today? Sam told us that if you buy his book exactly on June 9th, no angels will lose their wings and be subjected to starring in Wim Wenders movies. Or the hacky Nic Cage remakes. Sounds reasonable to us.
To give you a taste of what you’re in for, Sam has shared with us an excerpt from his 11 Points Guide to Hooking Up – one that, as luck would have it, involves ordering drinks. Sam has even gone one step further here and included some color commentary exclusively for you, our loyal readers.
Without further ado, here’s Strategy #7 from “11 Bar and Party Pickup Strategies That Actually Work”:
Order an Interesting Drink When You Want to Get the Attention of the Person Standing Next to You
Per Sam, the Following Drink Orders are NOT Interesting:
A well known brand of beer.
No one ever met their future spouse by bonding over Bud Light on tap.
Vodka and anything.
There’s a reason vodka isn’t included as one of the 12 bottles you need in your bar. It’s not exciting or innovative. All you’re doing is trying to mask its taste. It’s the Brussels sprouts of alcohol.
Rum and anything.
Odds are you’ll order a rum and coke, a Malibu and pineapple, or a rum drink the bartender’s never heard of. That’s lose-lose-lose.
Gin and tonic.
Too generic. It’s like being a Yankees fan.
Whiskey and Coke.
Same generic tendencies. It’s not really a conversation starter. Like being a Yankees fan wearing a Derek Jeter jersey.
At a Mexican restaurant it’s predictable; outside of a Mexican restaurant you’re just ordering a cup of sugar.
Off-brand wine is only meant to be consumed out of four-gallon jugs or five-gallon boxes.
Soda or water.
Come on. Be an American.
These, However, ARE Interesting:
Statements like “I’ll have a round of Fornicating Canadians” will grab people’s attention. (By the way, I made up the Fornicating Canadian, but I’d assume it would be a shot combining Canadian whiskey and maple syrup and served under a blanket. You have to keep your socks on when you drink it.)
You may not be super high class… or over 25… but at least there’s no question you’re planning on having a big night.
Anything that involves the word “bomb.”
Other than Bombay Sapphire.
Scotch (assuming you can spout off a bunch of Scotch terms).
There’s a scene in “Swingers” where Jon Favreau tries to order a scotch and ends up mumbling about “glens.” As long as you come off more suave than that, someone might think you’re a spy. Which is hot.
Anything that comes in a fishbowl or oversized goblet.
Like Garth in “Wayne’s World”, drinking something blue out of a fishbowl will make you friends.
As much as I advocated looking like a spy, you don’t just want to copy James Bond’s martini order. Because if you were really a spy, you wouldn’t order the classic spy martini. Then the Soviets might be on to you and you’d blow your cover.
Something where you ask for more than four lime wedges or nine olives.
When you order obscene amounts of garnishes, you’ll draw the ire of the bartender… but the curiosity of others. I’d recommend tipping $1 per garnish over two. So $7 on a nine-olive martini. Or $15 on a 17-appletini. (Change that to $2 per garnish if they actually have to head out back and pick it off a tree.)
Anything that includes cucumber.
Cucumber at a bar is like a treadmill at a buffet — incongruously and alluringly healthy.
As a salute to Sam and his ever-growing success, we thought it only right to whip up something that adheres to many of his “interesting” principals. Not only does it have a titillating name with a great story behind it (it’s a joke from both James Bond and Austin Powers – and who doesn’t want to have an excuse to reference either at a bar), it’s got cucumber!
The Cunning Linguist
2 oz Leopold’s Gin
1.5 oz Shrub Mix (see below)
1.5 oz Ginger Beer
2 – 3 oz Club Soda (to taste)
3 Tbsp very thin Cucumber Slices
Add cucumber slices to the bottom of a collins glass
Fill glass with ice and add remaining ingredients, topping with desired amount of soda (The spicier your ginger beer, the more soda you’ll want. Balance is key).
Insert a long spoon and stir gently, lifting the cucumbers up to spread throughout the drink
For True Partiers: Multiply by 7 and serve in a fishbowl. Blue food dye optional.
2 parts Sugar
1 part Water
0.5 part Rice Vinegar
Add the sugar and water to a sauce pan
Heat on stove over lowest setting, stirring until the sugar dissolves
Stir in the vinegar
Allow to cool
Thanks again Sam, and best wishes for the book!