surprised me the other day.
I hadn’t been in for several years; it just wasn’t on my radar. Usually when I try something without thinking about it, I find the places that I want to recommend. I’d heard from some of the local drinking crowd that The Dublin Pub mixed a respectable Bloody Mary, so trying one for my column would be a fine assignment.
What pleased me at first was the quality of their Bloody Mary that I ordered the prior week. Served in a goblet or about a 10 oz. glass, the mix that they use tasted homemade, pleasing me immediately. There seemed to be a bit of horseradish, some black pepper, a good hit of spicy hot sauce, and the vodka lurked out there in the background. There was a plastic skewer with a chunk of both freshly cut lemon and lime. Was there some Old Bay in there? Maybe. Or perhaps they used some celery salt? I’m not certain. But it certainly was more flavorful than I’d in Morristown.
This was a good start. And they served the drink in a shorter glass that didn't have too much ice in it!
Flavor is the thing that gets my attention. I like a drink to taste like a drink. The Bloody Mary at The Dublin Pub hit on all cylinders. So, was I happy? Did they make the perfect Bloody Mary? I wasn’t sure. I needed to go back to test the drink again.
Sundays are usually a good day to test the prowess of a bar. I found myself over at The Dublin Pub and sat outside on their broad flagstone terrace. The waitress was very pleasant, the day cool with a bit of an overcast sky. A Bloody Mary is usually recommended to “bite the dog back” so I assumed since the waitress told me that they "serve a lot of them" that their mix would be fresh for those who might need the extra help with their Sunday. Plus, I had high hopes that finally I’d found that one drink that all others would be measured against (and to my many detractors, I mean in Morristown not New York City!).
But, the drink came served in a pint glass! Much to my dismay it came packed to the top of the glass with ice! The flavors seemed OK before the ice melted; it required no more than a four-sip finish to ward off a mouthful of iced tomato tinged water.
Again, so I’m perfectly clear about my thoughts regarding glassware. The mixing of drinks in a 16 oz. glass is only good for the bar–it is not good for the customer. What a 16 oz. glass does for the bar is provide a huge mark-up for the liquor-to-mixer ratio. If I told you that the mark-up was nearly 1000 percent it wouldn’t be too far from the truth.
I have no problem with their Bloody Mary pre-mix. The tomato flavor was bright, aromatic and well seasoned. There was horseradish, hot sauce, Worcester sauce and some juice from an olive that seemed to be missing from the first go-round. I was pleased to see that the olive was not stuffed with sticky, bitter cheese or that familiar sour jab of cheap pimento peppers stuffed into it. This olive was crunchy and played well with the other elements of my cocktail. There was a slice of celery too, crunchy and fresh.
Unfortunately, the size of the glass drowned out any spike of the liquor. I might have well been drinking a glass of spicy horseradish-infused tomato water. The light color of the tomato juice was also a tip-off to me that they served quite a few over the course of the weekend and were dilluting the mix with who knows what. The one that I enjoyed the prior week was darker in hue, less diluted by ice. The first drink was spot-on and I actually could taste some vodka in there. The subsequent Bloody Mary was just OK. I found it to be overly-diluted by the small cubes of ice. If they only used that goblet-sized glass again, I'd have awarded them a solid 4 stars.
Speaking of ice, if a bar really wanted to make some more money, they would shrink the size of the ice to just over pebble size or serve their drinks over crushed ice like in a Tiki bar. These bars should instruct their bartenders to really pack their crushed ice into the glass so a single shot pour would appear to fill the glass completely, completely fooling the customer. Ice that is cut into small cubes dissolves into its liquid state (water) much quicker than a drink made with hand-cut ice or large cubes of ice. The bar stands to increase their mark-up on liquor to the point that they could mix drinks with ½ the usual liquor using a traditional cocktail portion cup, substituting the only real expense (the liquor) for almost free ice, and pre-mix soda from a bar tenders syrup gun.
The customer might never know the difference, but I do, that’s why I’m teaching you about the tricks of the bar business designed to free yourself from your hard-earned dollar!
If you go to The Dublin Pub for any mixed drink, I would suggest that you ask for it to be served in the goblet-sized glass that they keep somewhat hidden behind the bar. You can't go wrong by using a smaller glass with the same pour as used in a 16 oz. glass. If anything, the customer will be pleased that they tasted what the drink was meant to be: A drink of liquor, not one of water and ice.
The Dublin Pub charges about six or so dollars for a cocktail which is a fair price for what they offer.
Rating: 2 1/2 stars (out of 5)