If I Were The Bartender At Headquarters

shelba waldronWinter Guard


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It’s coming up on that time again. In just a few short weeks, we will all be settling into our digs at headquarters sharing that first cocktail with friends and teammates from years past. I have always wanted to be the bartender at the Marriott during WGI. I think it would be a blast. In fact, I have always felt as if the bartender should be some old performer from 1984 State Street or from the Miller’s Color Show and their only job is to be the purveyor of the drinks. Picture it.

“Hey girl how are you doing tonight?”
“Oh you know. Not what I thought it was going to be this year.”
“Who are you with?”
“Bahama Independent.”
“Oh yeah, I heard. Saw the recap. Here you go. There’s an extra shot in there for ya.”

I mean…how cool would that be! The bartender at headquarters should always be some old queen from the 80’s that once wore sequins and had red prism tape wrapped around the tip of their rifle. Or…wouldn’t it be cool to have Marilyn from Miamisburg or the girl from Field of View who screamed, “Youurrrreeee Fiiirrre (D)!” The bartender should always, always, always be a person who marched at least 20 years from the current season. As the weeks goes on, the bartenders become part empath, part historian, and part entertainment.

If I were the bartender I would create drinking games for every time we heard the phrase, “The judges.” Then we would take a shot for every person who walked in the door wearing more than one medal around their neck. There is the obligatory shot any time someone cried or the twenty something who wore a tux to A Class finals on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the Nutter Center and still wearing it at midnight. I mean…the possibilities are endless. There would be a round of free drinks when you heard the phrase, “Oh I don’t care about the placement…as long as the kids enjoyed themselves.” As we all take a drink, we would all raise our glasses with a collective, “Yeah…o.k.” We would all drink when someone debated what entertainment really is.

My ultimate act of bartending would be to create a special WGI menu of drinks. Your order would reflect day of the week, placement, mood, and age.

Wednesday Night

The Parrot–Here’s the thing. You made it this far. I don’t care if you are a competitor, judge, or the contest staff. If you are physically sitting in Dayton, then it means that you made it. You need this great cocktail made up of Malibu Pineapple Rum, strawberry puree, and orange juice. It’s light and bright and drink up, because you have no idea how this week will turn out. By the end of the week my friend, you might be drowning your sorrows in a rum based Dark and Stormy.

Thursday Night…Prelims Day

Shiraz–This nice glass of Shiraz is for the Semi-finalist who still needs to get up tomorrow morning for practice  and then fight through the muddle of other semi-finalists for the ultimate hope of not being the first guard out of finals, because well…that really sucks.

Sam Adams–You can’t go wrong with a Sam Adams when you still have a semi-finals run tomorrow. You are well placed and should stand strong against the other 12 guards in the neighborhood of 7th-18th. Be careful, though. You don’t want to be the guard who drops their rifles all the way out of finals.

Old Fashioned–Today was rough. We feel ya. We’ve all been there. This is what you need. It’s the cocktail of the ages and the story of Dayton. This wasn’t your year. Whiskey and Bitters. You can’t go wrong. Drink up and then have two more.

Margarita–Yes Girl! This is your year. You are solidly in the top 3 and you can feel that medal around your neck. Enjoy the tequila, but be careful sunshine…One well timed drop on the 50 can send you flying from second to fourth in a heartbeat. Good luck.

Cosmopolitan–This is the drink for anyone who came to the realization back in February that their guard will be lucky if they even make it to Dayton with the rickety old bus you had to rent, because half of them failed to pay their dues. Here’s to you. You made it to the end and didn’t completely suck. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Zinfandel–Shhhh….You’re a judge. We won’t tell anyone you were here. Take this drink in this plastic cup and everyone will believe it’s a Sprite. Don’t make eye contact with anyone on your way out. “Don’t anyone recognize them. Everyone look at your shoes!”

Friday Night…Semi Finals

Negroni–Girl you didn’t make it to the big dance. Sorry. Really. We feel ya. You need this delicate blend of one part gin, one part vermouth, and one part campari. You of course want the orange peel garnish. Oh screw it. You don’t need the garnish. Just the drink. Straight up and of course…we will keep them coming.

Cabernet–You made it to the big dance. CONGRATULATIONS! However, you are 20th place in A class…going on in the Nutter Center tomorrow morning and your wake up call is 5:30 a.m. Don’t drink too much. We will see you tomorrow afternoon after your nap.

Planters Punch–You made it in! Yay for you! You are so excited, because you never thought they would make it and no one else did either. Go for it. Get trashed! Who gives a rats ass how they do at this point. You had 14 freshman, a percussion guy, and two trumpets that made up your guard. You go girl! Dark rum is for you.

Heineken–Because the contest staff and volunteers need a drink, too as they had to deal with the guy drinking the Negroni when they couldn’t pull their floor off fast enough. Don’t drink too much tonight, though. Tomorrow is the big day and it’s Dayton so expect rain, mixed with sleet and snow.

Shirley Temple–This is a sneaky one. It’s for the guard instructor that made it in, but no one knows how, but we have an idea so you are punished. I’m leaving out your liquor.

Saturday Night…Finals

Saturday is split up into two parts. The first part of the day is the afternoon break before World finals, but after Open and A finals…whenever that’s actually going to end. The cocktails in the afternoon are fruity and fresh. It’s going to be a long night and you need to start light.

Madras–This drink of vodka, cranberry, and orange juice is a perfect starter to the final end. 30 guards to go and you are finished. Enjoy this cocktail with friends and celebrate a much earned summer break.

Screwdriver–This is another easy one. Enjoy it, but while you do it, stop talking about the amazing show you are doing next year. There is a reason you didn’t make it out of Thursday. Shut up and drink.

Tom Collins–You missed finals by one tenth and well…you need this. Gin on the rocks mixed with lemon juice and sugar syrup. Have two. Oh hell…have three. This is going to be a long night for you.

Champagne–Your guard is the guard to beat. Congratulations! Although, most everyone hates you and wishes you would just go away somewhere far, enjoy tonight. World Class finalist. Celebrate with your staff and enjoy your success.

Midnight…Finals is over

Martini–Yeessss! It is the night we have all been waiting for. This drink is for those that can hold their posture with grace and class. You didn’t make finals. You were last place. You were first place. Who gives a shit. This is the drink for those who carried themselves with grace all week. Drink up!

Red Wine Sangria–Pure party drink for the big party going on in room 117. None of you have taught in 10 years. You’re only here to see colorguard, old friends, and bitch about the changing culture. Enjoy.

Strawberry Mojito–This drink is all about the fun. Vodka, strawberries, limes, and a bunch of other fruity stuff. This is for the kids who just turned 21 and are prancing around in their costumes with their medals. In all seriousness…we are old and please come back when you are wearing Depends and remember the good old days.

Bad Girl Punch–Be careful of this one. This drink is for the world staff’s that made it to the end. Good for you. When the rest of our weekends ended at 4:18 on Friday afternoon and we started drinking at 5:16 at the closet dive bar we could find…you pushed through. You made it. Now go out and be a bad boy and drink this tequila revolution and celebrate your success.

X-Rated Punch–This vodka and X Rated Fusion Liqueur is perfect for the person who doesn’t give a rats ass about any of it anymore, but needs a little well..something else to make the weekend complete. Go ahead. We won’t tell anyone. We’ve all crawled under the wrong fence at least once in our lives.

Sunday…the day after

Bloody Mary–Because damn….See you next year.

That’s it folks. That’s the Dayton cocktail menu in the world according me…the aspiring official bartender of the WGI World Championships. Look for me there. I’ll be sitting at the corner table with my signature drink a double tall Madras with Absolute.