One of the classic bars of San Miguel, where even the name has not changed in years, is Hank’s. You never know who you might run into in the bar area. On any given day you might find yourself having a drink with someone special, like actress Heather Locklear. This New Orleans-style restaurant and bar is decorated with oil paintings and sculptures throughout. Many of the ornaments allude to Mardi Gras—the classic celebration born in Mobile, Alabama and made most popular in New Orleans.
At the bar women often mix drinks and food. One of them is Érica González, who has been working there for seven and a half years, following a decade in Europe. She knows almost every one of her clients, including which drinks they like. We asked her several questions related to her work, including how to lower inebriation levels. She said that contrary to popular belief, neither coffee nor other drink concoctions, such as a “Rusa,” a non-alcoholic mixture of lime and orange juice and a carbonated drink, work. But she did tell us what could work.
Jesús Aguado: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?
Érica González: A margarita is a classic drink and everyone knows it has tequila, lime, and orange liqueur. The funny thing is that when people see all these ingredients, they often ask me what I’m preparing, or they ask what is in it? But I have a lot of fun.
JA: What is the most common drink that nationals ask for?
EG: Cocktails with mezcal.
JA: What do you least like to prepare?
EG: Different flavored margaritas and martinis. I have two blenders and four shakers. The problem is when I have an order from a single table that wants a mango margarita, another made of strawberry, and yet another with tamarind. You have to wash the containers and everything must be fast. I do like to make gin with red berries.
JA: What’s in a Hurricane?
EG: I don’t really know, but it sounds sophisticated, and complicated. She laughs and explains that it’s called that because “you never know how it is going to hit you,” just like a hurricane. It has three types of rum, orange, tomato, pineapple, and grenadine juices, and watermelon liqueur.
JA: What’s a tip not to get drunk?
EG: Always drink a glass of water per drink. Alcohol dehydrates, and water hydrates. Also, always be aware of how much you drink. And be consistent with the same type of alcoholic drink you order; avoid mixing.
JA: If someone has had too much to drink, what should they do to lower their intoxication level?
EG: Many people talk about a “Rusa” or coffee as the cure for a hangover. But truthfully, what never fails is a glass of milk.
JA: To what do you attribute Hank’s success?
EG: Good service—we are very friendly, serve consistent flavors, have good staff, and excellent administration.
JA: Should people come to the bar alone or with someone?
EG: I recommend that they come accompanied. It’s a good space to come with friends. But someone who comes alone will still have fun.