An actual conversation I overheard last year:
23-year-old financial consultant: I can’t just order a gin and tonic in a bar. They’ll give me well liquor. Now I order Bombay and tonic.
Coworker: Good call.
Consultant: Yeah, except the last time they poured me regular Bombay. When I say Bombay, you should know I mean Bombay Sapphire.
Of course, in a blind taste test this fragile-egoed young gentleman could never tell the two apart. In fact, according to a recent entry in the New York Times Proof Blog, the precious nectar he shells out for is often the same old well liquor, just poured into a comely aqua-marine bottle on the sly.
It’s a trick called a “downpour”, explains former barkeep Brian McDonald, and it’s common practice in many bars throughout the city. McDonald downpoured for three years, and only one person ever tasted the difference between top shelf liquor and its well counterpart. The accuser then watched McDonald pour the exact same well gin and tonic, but the second time he saw it come from a top shelf bottle. His new drink tasted just right.
The lesson: if you’re ordering top-shelf liquor, you’re probably getting played. If you really find well booze unpalatable, find a middle ground that tastes great, but isn’t expensive enough to be worth downpouring. Our consultant friend should swallow his pride and order Gordon’s, which Esquire just named the best budget gin at $15 a liter. Of course, he wouldn’t be caught dead reading this site anyway.