long Island Tea

I was playing at a Sheraton Hotel one afternoon when a friendly guest decided to buy me a drink.

“Do you like Long Island tea”? He asked.

“I love tea.” I replied.

So the kind guest made his way over to the bar and placed an order.

Eager to enjoy a refreshing few moments with my drink, I finished the number and took a break making my own way over to the bar to ask for my complimentary tea.

Joel, the bartender, explained he’d be with me in a couple of minutes that he was finishing up on the Long Island Tea for the guest.

“Oh, the tea is for me.” I proudly announced.

Suddenly Joel stopped everything, and gazed toward me with a stunned expression.

“This is for you?” he questioned.

“Yes. The guest bought it for me.”

Now I was the one gazing puzzled as Joel quickly hurled around, grabbing the Long Island, he rushed it over to a secluded section of the counter and picked up a fresh tall glass and began to remake the Long Island – only this time without any alcohol!

Handing it to me he carefully instructed, “Now sip this real slowly. Do NOT gulp it down fast! I didn’t know the Long Island was ordered for you. If you consumed a real Long Island – you would be laying out on the floor right afterwards!”

It happens that Joel knew I wasn’t a drinker – that is, I don’t drink alcoholic beverages. I suppose my customers and potential customers should appreciate that I do not drink since in my profession I am often in places where alcohol is served. I might be like some musicians I’ve seen who can hardly play because they get so ‘tipsy’. Personally, I am more interested in customer satisfaction than in drinking. As for enjoying myself, I always do that! Most of the time my customers are courteous and friendly and make me feel like I fit right in. I think it works both ways… they feel relaxed with me.

To conclude, I learned that a Long Island Tea is definitely not tea! Someone said, “Think of a Long Island Tea as a small shot of 5 white spirits.” It has a higher proportion of alcohol than many other mixed drinks, so for a non-drinker… just imagine – this pianist would have been out for the rest of the day… and night – had the bartender not known or cared that the drink was for me! I am particularly thankful that he was not a practical joker. Imagine the laughs he could have won for himself had he decided to keep quiet and give me the drink as ordered.

Instead he instructed me to ‘hush’ because he could have been in a lot of trouble for giving me a drink with no alcohol when the customer paid for a very strong drink – to be precise, containing: triple sec, light rum, gin, vodka and tequila!

I took my tea, and sipped it very slowly, nodding a “Thank you” to the gentleman who made it all possible, the hotel guest… and Joel enjoyed a refreshing Long Island Tea… compliments of himself.

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