Dad taught me the trade when I was old enough to touch liquor and I watched him make all sorts of mixed drinks, from Rob Roys, margueritas, to fancy pina coladas, scorpion bowls. (I now make the second best martinis.) What intrigued me most were the long conversations that he had with his customers – some for hours on a regular basis. This was amazing since he and I could not carry a conversation solely in English.
I finally asked my father whether he knew what one particular customer (whom he knew for years) actually just said during his visit. Dad answered, “Not really”. There was a following time when I got to tend the bar myself and I had to ask that same customer whether he fully understood my father’s English. He replied, “not all the time”.
Dad showed me that often it’s not what you say that matters but how you listen, show patience and that you care. (Maybe the liquor had something to do with it.)