On a recent Sunday (or possibly Tuesday) evening, a customer came up to the bar and ordered a Gin Mare.
You’re probably thinking “what a lovely surprise”. But while it was lovely, it wasn’t a complete surprise. At least, not for me. After all, we do stock the bloody thing, and had been advertising the fact on our newly produced Gin Menu which lists our extensive range of gins.
Since we produced the Gin Menus, we’ve regularly been receiving orders for fancy gins from people we’ve never seen before. Once, a well dressed chap even ordered a double Geranium Gin. With a Fentimans tonic. And whenever we’ve asked what we’ve done to receive such attention, the customers have always said the same thing: “I’m thirsty you daft cow, and I want a drink not an inquisition.”
But there are downsides to having such a great gin selection – the main one being that other publicans hate us for being so popular. If you’re a publican reading this, I’d hazard that you’ve already formed an opinion about us – and it won’t be very flattering. For while many gins (Bloom, Death’s Door, Bathtub) have been ordered (literally) just as many have been rejected, with people muttering “I’ve never bloody heard of the stuff. Anyway, I asked for a beer.”
Most poignantly of all, not one publican has ever asked us where we get such a wonderful range of gins from. Actually, that’s not true. It’s happened a few times. But the point is that rather than falling down in gratitude and worshipping the ground we walk on, they simply say “thanks” and promise to come back soon. Unfortunately, publicans find nothing more annoying than a nearby pub with a better gin selection.
Take this afternoon, out getting some supplies for the pub, when I bumped into another publican. Literally. He blatantly blanked me, then stared in bemusement as I tripped over my own shoelace and fell headlong into the cheese counter of the local co-op. I could feel the resentment burning through his eyes like laughter. He doesn’t like me, I discovered, because he views me as a threat. Or possibly he views me as an idiot.
While I have been hurt by the disapproval of others, I have just this to say: I have a wonderful selection of gins to soothe my nerves while I am sobbing uncontrollably. And when that runs out, there’s plenty of special rum as well.