Bartender of the Month: April 2001

By Fritz Hahn Staff Writer


    Krishna Ramsundar Krishna Ramsundar can make your perfect drink, even if you don't know what it is. (Photo by Fritz Hahn/
Who: Krishna Ramsundar
Where: Aroma
Why we like him: Let's start with some words from readers nominating Krishna: "He knows everyone and is a joy to be with. I'd have to move out of Cleveland Park if he ever left!" Wow. Another reader writes: "He can talk to anyone about anything, or at least, listen well. Also, the fact that he is truly beautiful doesn't hurt. People come from miles and miles to sit at his bar." So we had to check him out.

Indeed, Krishna is friendly and personable, makes you feel like a regular in five minutes. Everyone who entered or left received a handshake or a hug. Sounds like the perfect bartender. But it gets better. His mixology skills are legendary. With a series of questions, he can narrow the racks of bottles down to one drink.

What don't you drink? Creamy or non-creamy? Fruity or non-fruity? Sweet or tart or slightly tart? After asking, he made me a drink that doesn't have a name, but was amazingly to my taste. It had two different rums, lemon juice, lime juice and a splash of pineapple, shook it until it was frothy, and then floated sour apple liqueur on top. Using the same questions, he then made unique cocktails for two other people.

A brief Q & A with Krishna

What's YOUR favorite drink?
A good single-malt scotch. I don't have a favorite – I like all the different flavors they provide.

What's the drink you make most often?
Margaritas. Or, actually, lots of people do what you did, and just say, "Make me something." Some of the regulars do that every time. I try to memorize their tastes. If you can, why not?

What was the last drink you didn't know how to make?
Some guy who worked at Ruby Tuesday's asked me for a drink called a "Ruby's Relaxer." Never heard of it. So he told me what was in it, and I knew the drink by another name – one that really can't be repeated in polite company. Usually, if people have a clue what's in it, and can describe the taste, I can figure it out, or at least come up with something similar.

What do you have to do to get '86ed?
If you're drunk and you hug someone you don't know, that will get you kicked out. Last week, this guy was drunk and happy, so he decided to share his joy by hugging a beautiful woman. He was about 6'3", she's about 5'4". Needless to say, she was scared to death. So I took him outside, talked to him, calmed him down. He hugged me instead, and he left. The end. So basically, being drunk isn't enough – you have to be obnoxious and stupid.

Finish the line: A man walks into a bar . . .
and says "Ouch!"

What's the best pickup line you've ever overheard?
From a man to a woman, it's "I'm a quarter Puerto Rican. Care to have a little Puerto Rican in you?" Okay, that's really bad, but it made me laugh for exactly that reason. He went nowhere with that, by the way. From a woman to a man, well, this one woman made up a long-winded story about being a virgin, and she needed to be de-virginized by midnight or else she'd turn into a pumpkin. It didn't work because it made her sound crazy. If she'd left off the last line, she might have been all right.

What song do you wish they'd take off the jukebox?
Anything by Michael Jackson. I don't care. I just want it gone.

The first sign a patron's drunk is:
I look for two signs: double lighting or inverted lighting of a cigarette, and the inability to put down their glass down without a loud clunking noise. We have lots of people in here who speak English as a second language, so I can't go by slurring of speech, and lots of people order while looking at their shoes, which rules out a lack of eye contact. So I have to go by two signs.

Have you ever dated/gone home with someone you met while you were working?
No. Well, sorta. I'm dating someone I met in the bar, but I wasn't technically working when I met her. Does that count? In any case, it really took some convincing, but it worked.

How cheap are people, really?
In my world? I live well. When people come in, I don't worry about what someone's going to leave. I worry about whether they're having a good time. That's what's important.

What piece of bar etiquette do you wish people would learn?
To say "please." That simple.

Give us a piece of advice.
No matter how miserable or crappy or torturous today seems, the sun will rise tomorrow. You need to be tough, hold on and fight. You can't quit.

Read about our other bartenders of the month

Who's your favorite bartender? Tell us, and maybe we'll put him or her on the spot next month.

© Copyright 2001 The Washington Post Company