Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pardon my mess...

Breakfast At Tiffany's is my all-time favorite movie for a number of reasons; Holly Golightly was so unbelievably stylish that at 8 years old, I fell in love with classic couture fashion right then and there. New York of the early '60s seemed so fascinating and glamorous, with ladies in their coats and gloves and hats, the jazzy cocktail lounges and piano bars, that I've been longing for a taste of it ever since. The love story was so embraceable: two completely screwed up people find each other and find a chance to heal (and never you mind how the novella ended...) And good golly Miss Holly, did I ever want to know what it would be like to attend a grown-up party like Ms. Golightly's!

Of course since then, I've turned 21 and have been to my fair share of ragers, and I'm sure that at some point or another we've all been the cat, Paul Varjak, the Brazilian, or that crazy lady at the mirror in turn. Hopefully, along the way we've also gained some respect for those notable potables that can take you from Point A (smiling and laughing) to Point B (sobbing in your hi-ball) before you can say "the mean reds" if you don't watch your back...

It wasn't until a few years ago (New Year's Eve at Violet Hour, if memory serves) that I really began to appreciate the finer points of a properly mixed cocktail, or the nuances of different spirits. In fact, I had just turned 30 when I had my first REAL Manhattan, and it's been love ever since. What surprises me though, considering the cost involved in going out to drink, how many of my peers still just order the well drinks; usually low quality spirits, diluted with cheap sugary fountain soda, or so-called specialty cocktails that are usually more of said same minus the pop and diluted with artificial tasting mixers and weak cordials. For maybe a buck or two more, it's possible to have something that doesn't need a ton of crap dumped in it to hide the taste of half-arsed spirits, and you'd be less likely to wake up feeling like you've had your head kicked in by Little Alex and a mob of angry Oompa Loompas.

Fed up with cheap liquor and bad pours, I embarked on a quest to enjoy my libations more. Fortunately, this was also around the time I began frequenting Late Bar, my favorite watering hole. If you live in Chicago, or find yourself visiting, you simply must stop in for a quaff. The music is fantastic, with local DJs spinning everything from Soul and Freakbeat to New Wave and Post Punk to classic 50's and 60's Rock 'n Roll, and there's no reason to fret over whether you can order a real drink here: not one of the friendly bar staff will bat an eyelash if you order a martini and get specific about your gin. Hooray!

While I still may occasionally order the Jameson/ginger ale combo I favor when I'm on the cheap, I've been making the rounds in pursuit of better drinking. After quite a bit of banging around in the kitchen, I'm just about ready to start sharing some posts with you about some great (and sometimes not so great) booze! Bear with me while I finish hanging the drapes, and soon we be having our first cocktail party....

In the meantime, here's a little humor to keep you entertained:

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