Boothby’s Ten Commandments: IV. Avoid conversations of a religious or political nature.


As I mentioned before, Anchor Distilling recently reprinted the 1891 edition of “Cocktail Boothby’s American Bar-Tender“.

As someone who is somewhat involved in the bartender trade, I always enjoy going through old books and reading the advice that appears. Usually, I am amazed at how little has changed. How valid pieces of advice contained in a book from 1891 can be 118 years later.

So I thought I would go through Boothby’s “Ten Commandments” for bartenders one by one and see which ones still make sense for the 21st Century.


IV. Avoid conversations of a religious or political nature.

OK, Bars aren’t Libraries and a lively bar is much much more fun than a quiet, sober one.

However, as people who have been drinking are seldom more sensible or measured than when they are sober, it is a pretty good idea to avoid conversations whose subjects have resulted in pogroms, massacres, and genocides. I mean, even if you know the person in front of you is on the same page, you never know about the person to the right or to the left.

Customers can get up to enough mischief on their own, without you stirring the pot.

But when folks are shooting each other over dog sniffs, what is a safe topic?

Even apparently safe conversational gambits like Vodka slagging and the comparative merits of various Absinthes can get some people in a lather, cough, especially if they have a vested interest in same.

I mean, that I’m aware of, most brand reps or shills don’t seem to be carrying handguns, but I do sometimes wonder how that Australian Eucalyptus liqueur got on the back bar.  “Yo, Bruce, you Bloody Seppo, I better see this in your bar or you’ll be nothing but a smudge on my roo bar!”

Best to be on the safe side.

2 thoughts on “Boothby’s Ten Commandments: IV. Avoid conversations of a religious or political nature.

  1. Sage advice for any workplace though. It was awkward for a bit in my new job hearing my boss bash the governor and the president, until I realized he was a Libertarian (which gives him pretty much free rein to criticize all politicians).

  2. Pingback: Don’t You Get Tired of Pouring? « Savoy Stomp

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