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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hey, Barkeep: Meet Chris Baldwin from Delectables Restaurant & Catering

    %09Chris+Baldwin%2C+manager+of+Delectables+Restaurant+%26amp%3B+Catering%2C+poses+in+front+of+the+bar%26%238217%3Bs+expansive+selection+of+spirits.
    Alex Guyton

    Chris Baldwin, manager of Delectables Restaurant & Catering, poses in front of the bar’s expansive selection of spirits.

    What is your favorite drink to make?

    My favorite drink to make is probably the bloody mary. I have a bunch of different infused vodkas. We infuse vodka with bacon, we infuse vodka with habaneros and we infuse vodka with basil. I get to make all kinds of different, great bloody marys. Our bacon bloody mary comes with a couple of strips of bacon in it and our bacon-infused vodka. We make a very spicy bloody mary with the habanero vodka. We put a whole salad on top of our bloody marys. You get a cucumber, a pepperoncini, a tomato, olives.

    It’s a meal.

    It’s a meal. It’s one of the few drinks a gentleman can drink before noon.

    You infuse your own vodkas?

    We infuse our own vodkas.

    What is the infusion process? Is it just to let the ingredients soak in vodka?

    Largely. Bacon’s really interesting. We pre-cook bacon, we put it into a bottle of vodka and we let it sit in the dark for about a week. Then, we take it and we put it in a hard freeze for a couple of days and the freeze freezes all the fats out of the alcohol and into a solid state. Then, we filter that through coffee filters. I triple filter it to make sure to get out as much fat as possible. Then, we throw away all of the fats and the bacon, and we are then left with a liquor that has bacon-y flavor all through it but none of the fats all through it.

    Least favorite drink to make?

    I am personally not fond of ridiculous sweet drinks. There are a lot of girly shots and suggestively named drinks that, to me, are just a lot of sugar in a single little shot. They’re the “woo girl” drinks, and I don’t particularly love them, but we end up selling a lot of them anyway.

    Most memorable customer?

    Well, we’ve been open 41 years, so I have a great deal of very interesting customers. For me, one of the most memorable bar-related customer events I had was … years ago. During street fair, we, as a business, before they began putting beer booths on the avenue for street fair, we sold beer sort of over-the-counter to go, right on the street, until we closed. We would set up tables out by our fence, and we’d be hawking beer to people as they walked by, and this was a different age. One night, when we closed at about 11 o’clock, there was a mini riot where this crowd of people had set up outside our booth, and they refused to let us shut down. This little riot developed. They stormed the table. People grabbed cases of beer and ran with them. Employees and bouncers were around, but they were kind of drunk. People were tripping and falling and spilling beer out into the avenue. It wasn’t really dangerous; it was more a festive moment that didn’t want to stop.

    What can a customer do to tick you off as a bartender? A pet peeve?

    We have a very interesting client base. Most of the time we aren’t open until 2, so Delectables is kind of a jumping point for additional activities on Fourth Avenue. People will often come here, have dinner, have a few cocktails. We have live music every Friday and Saturday, so they’ll watch our live music and then they’ll leave here and go to other places on Fourth Avenue to continue their night. … We often close down at about 11 or 12, but people that think we’re going to be a bar open until 2 will sometimes come and utilize our patio. We recently fenced it so you can’t come in after hours, but it used to be before our fencing, we’d come in Saturday and Sunday mornings to find pizza boxes and broken glass on our patio. Sometimes we’d find people sleeping in our garden. My least favorite customer isn’t really my customer, but the … drunk crowd that doesn’t recognize boundaries and utilizes our patio for eating pizza, drinking bottles after hours and falling asleep in our garden.
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    Follow Alex Guyton on Twitter @GuyTonAlexAnder

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