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Drink This Cocktail: The Islander

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Kai from Post Office on ordering weird drinks and dating the bartender.

Kai

188 Havemeyer St
(between 3rd St & 4th St) 
Brooklyn, NY 11211 

So what are we drinking? 
The Islander. I invented this drink, so I like it a lot.

Do you get a lot of people in here on dates? 
A decent amount, and a pretty good spread of younger/older. We get big groups of couples coming in, and those are a lot younger. Then there are the thirtysomethings on single dates.

The younger ones travel in packs? 
Yeah, they're a little bit unsure of themselves.

Can you tell if someone's here on a first date? 
Oh yeah. I always pick it up from what they're talking about. On a first date, the conversation's more like, "Hey, you like music?" Later it's more talking about their families. 

What kind of drink would you recommend someone order on a first date? 
Hm… weirdness. 

Weirdness? 
Something that they wouldn't normally buy. Let me give you something that has tea in it, or something smoky. Try to get them out of their comfort zone of whiskey sour.

Show them you're into the weird stuff. 
Yeah. It makes people feel more comfortable with each other. It makes them feel like they're being treated well. It's also something they can talk about — "Oh my God, I can taste all those things he's talking about." We get a lot of second and third dates here because we all like to talk to the customers at length.

What drink should I order to impress a bartender? 
Probably the same. Weird and strong. 

Are there any drinks you just won't make?
Well, we don't make any kind of whiskey coke. We don't carry Coca-Cola. It's funny, because a vodka martini is a really easy drink to make, and in theory I should be delighted to make that, because I can whip it up fast and they're going to love it, since it's just…

A glass of vodka? 
Yeah, just a glass of cold vodka. But it's not fun. That's kind of the butt of our jokes here. When bartenders come in on their days off, they'll come up to the bar and be like, "Hey, you got any Jameson? No? Corona? Red Bull?"

Have you ever had anyone get angry because you wouldn't give them their Red Bull and vodka? 
Well, there was one Yelp review. Someone had ordered a Jack and Coke, and felt like there was an air of superiority in how we said no, and so they wrote in their review, "I'd rather go down the street to the actual Post Office and drink Four Loko in the parking lot!" 

Have you ever seen any dates here that have been just plain weird? 
The strangest ones are always the ones where people are silent. That makes me feel awkward. I can go over and entertain them for a second, and they're usually pretty receptive to it, but then as soon as you leave it goes back to silence. We also get guys who bring in a new girl every night. 

Do you ever feel the need to tell these girls, "Hey, this guy brings in like twelve girls a week?"
Well, if he's bringing in a new girl every night, then he's probably not doing very well. 

Have you ever met any girls in this bar that you've wanted to ask out? 
There are definitely some very attractive women who come here, and who are regulars. Maybe if they come in consistently for a while, I'd do it. Spur of the moment is not a good idea. I've been bartending in the city for six years, and I need to know who you are a little bit, to make sure you're not totally insane.

Have any of these girls turned out to be totally insane anyway? 
Not really. But I've had friends who've been slapped. They probably weren't cautious enough.


The Islander

2oz rye
3/4oz ginger tea 
1/2oz honey syrup (simple syrup made with half honey, half water)
1/2oz lemon juice
dash of Boston bitters

Make your ginger tea: take 2 cups chopped ginger and boil in 4 cups water for 10 minutes. Let it sit overnight and strain. Add other ingredients and serve chilled.