Our Take

A Defense Against Shambooze (Kind Of)

Dylan Jesse
Written by Dylan Jesse

Whether you believe it or not, I care about you. Yes, you in particular. I want you to have the best information possible, the best advice, the most entertaining posts available (so let me know how I can help, seriously).

Granted, the Internet is massive and there are just so many videos of cats at your disposal, but I want–we want–to be there for you when you need us. And I hate to say it, but you might have been duped at your local. I know, I know: you’re angry; but hear me out. There are bad people out there, and I have taken it upon myself to punch those people who might be ruining your good time at the bar. I’ve got a record and I’m not afraid of making it a little longer. I’ll go back to Juvie if I have to.

In short, I’m here to help, so let me help you–or else my record is going to get a bit longer. And you don’t want that.

Having been behind the stick and being the schlub that supplies bars, please heed this warning: there are terrible bars that will try to con you. Feel free to substitute “bars” for “people.” It will still work because it is the same principle: some people are terrible, and some people own bars. Ipso facto, some terrible people will try to sell you Shambooze. You may not even notice it until after you’ve settled your tab for drinks with liquors you never actually got served.

The gall of some people.

As your trusted source of straight talk, allow me to give you a quick bit of that sweet, sweet nectar: you’re fucked if you don’t get in good with the bartender. I hate to say it, and I hate that it’s true, but we live in a world where even the sacred space of the bar is no longer safe when it comes to ordering a solid bit of the Creature. Here’s a quick personal anecdote:

With a windowless van full of booze, I pull up to an Asian-fusion restaurant with a bar. I park that sweet, obviously suspicious whip, step out (looking dapper as hell, by the way), load a few cases onto a hand cart, and take a moment to think about what this sequence of events means–I’m wheeling handles (half-gallons, 1.75 litres, or whatever you want to call them) into a place that runs a legitimate “bar,” all the while swallowing my pride deep into the swanky get-up that I’m rocking. None of this feels right, and I (fearing for my job) trudge solemnly into a place that I just know is fleecing the people that drink there, fighting every good and righteous drinking instinct I’ve honed over the years.

A few of you fine readers will be up in arms at this point, and for that I salute you. No bar orders anything in half-gallons, and industry professionals know that. (Pro tip: the industry standard bottle volume is 1 litre, not 1.75 litres, which is called a ‘handle’ or a ‘half gallon’ or ‘a g-dang liability’). A 1 litre bottle is both easier to pour from and easier to handle. If you’ve watched any of proto-simian Jon “I swear I’m a professional” Taffer’s Bar Rescue episodes, you’ll be familiar with this claim. And you’ll also have my sympathy.

If you haven’t given this matter any thought, here’s a quick experiment: what’s easier–pouring milk into your morning cereal from a gallon jug or from a smaller, more ergonomic container?  The larger container, while more economical, slows you down, right? The same goes for bars where speed and accuracy is the name of the game. If you find yourself in a bar with half-gallon bottles, there is a greater chance that the bartenders will over-pour on cocktails (in which case you ought to order as much as you can stomach and be damn grateful for it).

Bars that order cheap handles to marry into more expensive bottles are an immediate red-flag for this reason: we know that they are absolutely refilling smaller bottles, and it’s not hard to refill a smaller top-shelf bottle with something worse and far cheaper, so long as no one notices. They still charge top-shelf prices, though, and that’s where they run afoul of both the law and, more importantly, good sense. That’s a transgression against both common decency and the collective will of the Drunkard Nation. That kind of bush-league behavior just will not stand.

Some (and please note: Not All) bars do this. If you order a specific brand of spirit, be ready to call a bar out on a shitty substitution. Demand accountability. If you’re ordering well drinks, then good on you. Drink those bastards dry if you can. We hold each other accountable in all other aspects of our lives (or, at least we should), so bars should be no different.

So here is a quick bit of advice (because you didn’t ask, but because I’m feeling generous and forceful): Know your booze and you’ll know the impostors. Or just enjoy whatever comes towards you. You’re already fighting the good fight, so quibbling over ammunition is a bit gauche.

Either way, cheers, you beautiful bastards, you. Hold the line, and I’ll meet you there. Eventually.


About the author

Dylan Jesse

Dylan Jesse

Dylan is a freelance writer and general itinerant who now lives in what may very well be a some kind of hippie commune, but which has an official beer sponsor (thanks, Montucky Cold Snacks!). He has many thoughts on what you can do with your flavored vodkas, and none of them include drinking. He occasionally accosts ducks in public places, so please do not be alarmed if you see him doing this. They know what they did.

They know.

If you know of any breaking news or troubling rumors that should be brought to the unfocused attention of the drinking masses, write him a letter and include a SASE to [email protected]

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