News & Politics

Behind the Bar at Round Robin

In the business for 40 years, Jim Hewes knows a thing or two about hangovers and bad pickup lines

Photograph by Chris Leaman

For our Great Bars 2011 package, we talked with some of Washington's veteran tapmasters and cocktail makers to see what life is like on the other side of the bar. 

Years behind the bar: “Forty.”

Drink of choice: “Whiskey.”

Drink you make the most on a Saturday night: “Mint juleps. I call them snow cones for big kids.”

Drink you hate making: “Piña coladas or any drink using a blender. I’d rather crack the ice by hand, the way they did it 100 years ago.”

On the new school of mixologists: “I feel at times that the industry has passed me by. They’re doing emulsions, foams, all of these bells and whistles. When a bartender tells me he’s making his own bitters, his own tonic, I say to myself: ‘I’d rather have that bottle of Schweppes than something some guy cooked up on the back burner two weeks ago.’ ”

Hangover cure: “Bitters and soda with ginger. I keep fresh ginger behind the bar and grind it up. It’ll make you cry, but it’s great for your stomach. Works every time.”

Worst pickup line: “A very attractive woman sits down at the bar. One by one, the guys tell me to get her a drink. A guy walks over to her, talks with her for a couple minutes, and then they leave. Later I said, ‘What’d you say to her?’ and he goes, ‘I just told her I’m a lawyer.’ ”

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