I learned how to bartend at a restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin in 1976. The man who taught me was a venerable, but scraggly bartender named Frank, who tolerated no one, especially know-it-alls like me.

Frank was one of those rare individuals who seemed to be constantly pissed off. It took a herculean effort for him to crack a grin, and even then he looked more dangerous than amused. His notion of convivial hospitality was to return the correct change.

Personality aside, Frank was an Olympic caliber bartender. For a man of his advanced years his hand speed was amazing and he was a blur when making drinks. Each cocktail he made was prepared with precision. He knew seemingly everything there was to know about the liquors and liqueurs we carried behind the bar. He never sent a drink out in a glass that wasn’t hand-buffed and spotlessly clean. His bar top was always, impeccable clean and free of debris. What Frank didn’t know about bartending wasn’t worth knowing.

Obviously I survived his tutelage; although he never seemed to warm up to me, this despite my winning personality and our tedning together for almost a year.

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