A tale as old as the time it’s sat out.
I know this may be a buzzkill for many of you looking for that quick fix before your dinner, those who can’t resist that juicy pineapple slice hanging off your tiki drink, or those who use that use a garnish to sober up a bit, but trust me, it’s not worth it.
“Well, what do you know?”
If you’re looking for some street cred, I worked in the service and restaurant industry for 4 years and I have seen it all.
But let’s cut to the chase.
Your garnish, pretty as can be, has been handled by probably 6 people before it’s gotten a spot on your drink… and that's conservative. Think about it. Pineapple doesn’t cut itself, someone skins and cuts the fruit and puts it into a bin and if you’re lucky, that fruit was cut the same day that it’s sharing a spot on your glass.
The bin is then reached into with or without gloves (we are talking fast-paced, low-margined restaurants guys, so what do you think?) and is filled into the several bar/server garnish containers.
Then throughout the night, as things get busy, every server and bartender working that shift is digging their bare hands into the container and garnishing your drink with that pineapple slice. Sad truth, if it’s an expensive garnish like those pretty orchid flowers you see sometimes on cocktails… if they look pretty after a guest has enjoyed their drink and we are running low…those are reused.
And what’s worse are the lemon peels.
I’ve never been one to order a lemon twist with my martinis but if that’s your thing, this may just be something you learn to live with. We peel the lemons on an as-needed basis, and if you catch yourself in a rush, you’ll catch your skin in the peeler and it’s not pretty.
It happens to the best of us. But what’s worse is that peeler usually doesn't get properly washed after something like that happens. We are busy and the peelers are like gold in the service industry. Too much time would be wasted if it was to be run in the dishwasher. So sadly, that peeler gets used for your martini with a lemon twist and we use our bare hands to squeeze the citrus from the peel and dress the rim of your glass with its juice. Then we drop that peel into your <$15 martini.
I don’t mean to be cynical. But I speak from experience.
There have been studies that show fecal matter found on lemon wedges from restaurants, so if you haven’t been warned before, now you have.
But don’t get me wrong.
I love myself a good cocktail and Instagram-worthy garnish… but I can’t help but cringe when I see my friends bite into their garnish without my forewarning.
As always, rules are meant to be broken. And there is one exception.
Go ahead and eat those. And God bless if they are stuffed with blue cheese. Eat them, and order more on the side.