Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sweet and Fruity: Thus the Tutti Was Born

The line up of Tuttis. Left to right: Neill's, Angi's, Danny's, Fergus'.

    This Drunk Bitch I know, Sue, is trying to teach me a thing or two about booze. For the most part, I’m a terrible student. There are rules when drinking with Sue, especially when drinking with Sue at Sassafras: don’t touch her, don’t order an embarrassing drink (spoilers: this one gets broken in this story), and most importantly NEVER send back a drink. No matter how awful you may find the libation in front of you, you must choke it down and be grateful. For a while, this last rule kept me from doing something that Sue does quite often, which is asking Neill to make something. Not a specific something, mind you – just something he knows she’ll like. Sue has been drinking at Sass for years, so her taste in booze is no secret to anyone there. As a fairly recent transplant from California who was always the DD, I was a slightly different story.
      Finally, I decided to take the plunge. I gave it some thought beforehand, and I decided that I had to pick a description of my drinking taste that was most likely to lead to something I would enjoy. The two safest words I could think of to tell Neill were “sweet” and “fruity” – and thus the Tutti was born.
        Oh, how to do justice to the Tutti with mere words on your screen? A monumental task, to be sure, but I’ll try. The Tutti tastes like those late days in spring just on the cusp of summer. It tastes like the thrill of suspense you feel knowing that all of the excitement of warm, adventure-filled days is just around the corner. It tastes like rock candy and gossip and booze and the funniest joke you’ve ever heard. If you’re wondering how a drink can taste like all of those things, then you clearly haven’t had enough alcohol to be reading this post. Go get a drink and come back.
      Got your drink? Good, because the story doesn’t end there. The Tutti became my favorite drink, but at the time I wasn’t sure if it was a Real Thing or a Neill Thing. One busy night, I sat at the only empty spot in the back of the room. Fergus, another wonderful Sassafras barman, came to take my order. Hesitantly, I asked for a Tutti, and apologetically admitted that it was something Neill made me sometimes. I watched him return to the bar and say something to Neill. Immediately Neill started looking around, and waved when he spotted me, which confirmed two things: 1) the Tutti was a Neill thing, and 2) it was just for me!
      The trouble with a bartender inventing a drink for you is that you can’t get it anywhere else – or even from anyone else. So unless your bartender works 24/7/365, you will inevitably be disappointed in your quest for your special beverage at some point. Enter the amazing Angi. “It’s pink and fruity and something Neill makes” was enough for her to create her own unique and delicious version of the Tutti. Danny and Fergus have versions as well. You might think it would be easiest just to ask what’s in the original, but the truth is, I don’t want to know. I enjoy the mystery, and the fact that each Tutti is unique depending on who makes it. I can tell you that Danny’s includes grenadine and is heavy on the pineapple juice, while Angi eschews grenadine and there’s definitely vodka in hers somewhere. Sue wants to have a Tutti-off, but the dirty little secret is, I would never be able to pick a winner. They are all magical in their own ways. Neill’s tastes the booziest, and Danny’s is beautiful. Fergus’s has texture and a bite, and Angi’s is a symphonic explosion of fruit that almost totally masks the copious amounts of booze I know she puts in there. I love them all. Oh, and Sue hates them, for they are sweet and embarrassingly pink.
      Even now, I’m debating whether to submit this post. In all honesty, I’m selfish. I don’t want you ordering Tuttis, I want them to be purely, specially mine. I don’t want Neill to stop scanning the crowd when someone else hands him my drink order. I don’t want you asking what’s in them and then drunkenly spoiling the secret for me one day or – horror of horrors! – telling another bartender somewhere else how it’s done. So let’s make a deal right now: you can only order a Tutti at Sassafras if you’re with me, and you can NEVER ask what’s in it. Hey, what do you know – I just made my first “drinking with Gina” rule! I guess I’m learning a thing or two from Sue after all.

This is a guest post by Gina V. - This Drunk Photographer.


1 comment:

  1. I could have used a Tutti on Saturday, for sure! Enjoy your nights out and your fruity mystery!