Friday, May 13, 2011

Firewater Friday - Why don’t you come in and wet your whistle

In addition to my regular full-time job, I work as a bartender on weekends.  It’s a totally fun job.  I know everyone, I’m allowed to imbibe in moderation and it’s entertaining.   Many of the regulars are pranksters and keep me laughing . . . seriously, it’s beerly work.

As my job title clearly implies . . . my duties are to server beer, dispense liquor and mix cocktails.   I know mostly everyone . . . I know what they drink and how they like their drinks . . . I make sure that everyone has what they want when they want it. 

I work for a private club . . . so drinks are cheap.  It’s not uncommon for someone to buy rounds of drinks for one or a few or the whole bar.  We give out little plastic shot cups to anyone who has a drink coming to them. 

Like I said, the guys are funny . . . but sometimes they amuse themselves at my expense.  No matter how on the ball I am some chucklehead will put the little shot cup on top of his beer bottle and rattle it around to let me know his bottle is empty and wants a new one . . . or some other clown will clatter his ice around in his cup to let me know it’s empty.  Annoying much?  Yeah, I’d say so.  But, it’s all in fun.

It’s such a fun place that I hang out there even when I’m not working.  It’s nice to be sitting on the other side of the bar on occasion.  Recently I was unwinding with some friends.  A girlfriend asked me if I knew what “wet your whistle” means.  I’d never really thought about it.  She told me that she heard that “wet your whistle” started during the middle ages in English pubs where whistles were baked into ceramic mugs. When a patron wanted a refill they would blow the whistle.  . . . yeah, I don't think anyone ought to try that when I'm tending the bar.

Hmmm . . . Wet your whistle . . . of course, now my curiosity is piqued.  There are several theories floating around about what the origins of the phrase might be.  

Besides the whistle mug idea, another thought is that whistle is a reference to your mouth or throat, as throat was slang in the middle-ages.  Obviously, you can’t whistle with a dry mouth so wetting one’s whistle could mean that taking a drink was needed. So, to wet your whistle is simply "to wet your throat".

Another train of thought is that “wet” is actually taken from the word “whet” which means to sharpen . . . as in a whetstone that is used to hone tools.  Whetstones they need to be lubricated with water or oil to prevent overheating.  “Wet your whistle' and 'whet your appetite' have also been used interchangeably to used figuratively to refer to sharpening the appetite.

One final hypothesis . . . I had an older relative who used to say he was going to wet his whistle when he had to take a leak.   He said this was because he was  uncircumcised and his penis bore a resemblance to an old fashioned police whistle.  Just sayin’. 

I leave you to come up with your own conclusions.


Fruitilicious Rum Runner

I made two versions of the drink – frozen and chilled cocktail. Both were very yummy but distinctly different despite the fact that the ingredients were identical.

1 1/4 Oz Ounces Rum
1/4 Oz Coconut Flavored Rum
1/2 Oz Banana Liqueur
1/2 Oz Blackberry Brandy
1 Oz Sweet And Sour Mix
2 Oz Orange Juice
1 Dash Grenadine Syrup

For frozen – add all ingredients to a blender. Add two cups crushed ice. Blend until smooth.

For cocktail – add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, shake, shake. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

1 comment:

  1. I have an old tankard (made of metal) that has a whistle built into the handle.