“THAT’LL be $485,” the bartender said as he plonked my drink in front of me.
“What?” I exclaimed. “For a simple bourbon and Coke?”
“Oh, that’s right. I forgot you had Coke too,” he replied.
“That’ll be $486.50 then.”
For a minute, I thought I was living in some kind of parallel universe where up is down, right is left and someone had got my bourbon confused with the world’s most expensive champagne (Gout de Diamants Taste of Diamonds, which sells for $2.7 million a bottle, in case you were wondering).
I gave him a look that said “have you got my bourbon confused with a Gout de Diamants Taste of Diamonds?”.
My stunning wit and withering sarcasm was completely lost on him and he just stood there with his hand out.
“Cash or card?” he asked with a sneer.
I think he was enjoying himself immensely.
“Neither,” I hit back, not enjoying myself one bit but feeling slightly superior that he hadn’t understood my champagne jibe.
“You cannot charge me $486.50 for a bourbon and Coke. That’s bloody ridiculous.”
“I can, if you’ve asked me for something from the top shelf … which you did,” he pointed out.
“And at the very top of our toppest top shelf is a little drop of Kentucky Bourbon called Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey, which will set you back $485 for a nip.
“Of course, I could sell you the whole bottle for $6000, if you like.”
Oh yeah, he was definitely enjoying himself.
It turned out that, in an effort to impress my wife who describes bourbon as “mother’s milk”, I had accidentally ordered something I really couldn’t afford.
Really, really couldn’t afford.
I’ve since looked it up and people who know stuff have described drinking Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”.
Which is no good to me.
What’s the point of “once-in-a-lifetime” when I’m more a “20-in-a-night” sort of guy?
I blame the bartender, of course.
He should have twigged when I asked for it to be drowned in Coke, rather than the “few drops of demineralised, filtered water” which the purists recommend.
But you’ll be proud to know that I didn’t panic when I realised my mistake.
Oh no. I coughed up the $486.50 and took the drink to my wife without saying a word.
And when she asked for another, I pretended I had food poisoning so we could go home.
In fact, I pretended so well that she’s refusing to go back to the bar in case its kitchen is crawling with cockroaches.
Which is just fine with me.