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A Cocktail for Every Difficult Client: 5 Christmas Drinks to Bring You Good Cheer

You’re at the annual Christmas party for your firm, but instead of focusing on your exciting plans for the holiday (I'm bringing a Piecaken to a BBQ, in case you were wondering) and the best projects you did over the past year, the talk turns to clients. In particular, the clients that have done your head in. The clients that call too much or call too little, the clients that make a hundred tiny changes an hour before the deadline, and the clients that are simply bonkers.

Enjoy an assortment of seasonal holiday drinks tailored to the type of clients you are dreading dealing with when you drink them:

Client: 1. The Screaming Susan

This client seems to have multiple personality disorder: when everything is fine she’s bright and bubbly, but as soon as something goes wrong, she’s screaming down the phone at you as if you’ve stolen her first-born child.

For clients who like to scream bloody murder, you need a Bloody Mary. This cool, classic cocktail made with tomato juice will help you deal with those Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde moments.

Bloody Mary

  • 1 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
  • 3 oz tomato juice
  • 2 red hot sauce
  • 2 green hot sauce
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch peppers
  • 1 stalk celery

Add Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka, tomato juice, red hot sauce, green hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper.

Pour back and forth between two mixing glasses.

Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

Garnish with celery stalk.

Client 2. Edgar the Egghead

He’s calling you up every day about technical details, talking so much jargon he might as well be speaking Ancient Greek, and eagerly pointing out errors in your reports. You spend more time trying to teach him how to do your job than actually doing your job. His constant vigilance and love of anything techy is really cramping your style.

Nothing makes you forget Edgar the Egghead like a tall glass of Eggnog. This comforting eggy treat requires a bit of preparation, but is well worth the effort.

Eggnog

  • 12 large eggs yolks (reserve the whites)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 liter bourbon
  • 1 quart (4 cups) whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Cognac or brandy
  • 1/2 cup Myers’s dark rum
  • Pinch fine salt

To serve:

  • 12 reserved egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • Ice (optional)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

1. Place the reserved egg whites in a very clean and airtight container and freeze until the eggnog is ready to serve.

2. Combine the yolks and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until well blended and creamy.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

4. Transfer the mixture to a 1-gallon glass jar and tightly seal the lid. (Alternatively, you can bottle it.) Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks.

To serve:

1. The night before serving, place the frozen egg whites in the refrigerator to thaw.

2. When ready to serve, let the egg whites come to room temperature. Place the egg whites in the very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a large punch bowl.

3. Place the cream in the stand mixer bowl (no need to wash the bowl) and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to the punch bowl.

4. Stir the eggnog base with a rubber spatula to re-combine, then add it to the punch bowl. Gently whisk the eggnog together until just combined and no large pockets of whites or cream remain (do not over whisk or you’ll deflate the eggnog). Serve in punch cups over ice, if desired, and garnished with grated nutmeg.

Client 3. “Whatever” Wendy

As difficult clients go, Wendy can be hard to spot, as she can often start out seeming like the perfect fit. She loves everything you do … or does she? You need feedback on your work, but she is evasive. “I’m happy with that. Whatever you do is fine,” she said. Unfortunately, Wendy’s indifference means you’re often left in the dark about whether a project is meeting its goals, and you fear other people at her company don’t share her blase attitude.

After dealing with someone who is so underwhelmed, it’s important to get excited about life again. I’d do this by enjoying a Mai Tai - an exotic, fun drink that’s usually the star of the show at a luau or tiki-themed party.

Mai Tai

  • 2 ounces Jamaican rum (Appleton Extra is a good choice; for a bit more authentic flavor, substitute 1 ounce of St. James 15-year Hors D’Age rum for 1 ounce of the Appleton)
  • Juice of 1 medium lime, about 1 ounce (save the shell for garnish)
  • 1/2 ounce curaçao
  • 1/4 ounce orgeat
  • 1/4 ounce rock-candy syrup (simple syrup with a drop or two of vanilla extract)
  • mint for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds and strain into a double old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with lime shell and a sprig of fresh mint.

Client 4. “I Know Better” Barry

Barry clearly missed his calling - whatever his role at his current company is, he is convinced he should actually be part of your team. Barry is always enthusiastic about working with you, but that’s because he brings rolls of sketches to your planning meetings and decides that his ideas are the greatest before you’ve even begun. This would be OK if Barry had even the faintest concept of what he was doing. But he, alas, does not.

Unfortunately, the only way to handle the Barrys of the world is to remain cool, calm, and collected. To help you with this, we recommend a Cosmopolitan - it’s classic, sophisticated, and full of vodka, which is exactly what you need after a hard day listening to Barry’s latest ideas.

Cosmopolitan

  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces citrus-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (Cointreau, preferably)
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/4 ounce lime juice (fresh, fresh, fresh; no Rose's)
  • Orange twist, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, triple sec, cranberry, and lime, and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.

Client 5. Crazy Camilla

Possibly she cries and screams if she doesn’t get her way. Maybe she forgot to put clothes on last time she visited the office. Or perhaps she tries to bring her cat along to project meetings. Whatever form she takes, the Crazy Camilla is the hardest client to deal with. How do you work with the certifiably insane?

I look to the expert in dealing with crazy and maniacal people - James Bond. If it’s good enough for the international man of mystery after a hard day at the office, than it is good enough for me.

Martini

  • 2 ounces dry gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters (optional, but highly recommended)

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well to chill and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist a piece of lemon peel over the drink and use as garnish, or, if you must, toss in an olive.

(As an interesting aside, Bond always asked for his martini to be “shaken, not stirred”, which is strange as most cocktail experts agree this is an inferior method of making the drink. Some British researchers have a theory why.

What difficult clients have you dealt with this year?

NB: WorkflowMax does not condone drinking as a form of stress relief.

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