Maiden Manhatten

January – who needs it?  But in terms of a vehicle that may provide an impetus to turn the corner into the New Year– it’s a vital month.  Of course turning that corner may not happen until later, but I was lucky yesterday, and there it was. 

A fortuitous early finish to a meeting found me, at 5.30pm on Friday afternoon, at No. 26. M and R manned the bar and both gave me a warm welcome.  ‘Where have you been?!’ M said.  I told him life had taken me off elsewhere but I’d come back for some love.  R asked me what I wanted. I ordered a latte and moments later, there it was in front of me with a beautiful heart on top. 

I read the paper.  Mr Tapped and Packed appeared,  full of chat and joie de vivre and interested in what I’d been up to.  It felt good to feel at home again. 

Running late, I made my excuses and said goodbye. Mr T and P suggested I go check out a bar in Covent Garden:  ‘You’ll  love it’ he said, ‘Classic cocktails, old-world atmosphere – just sheer class really’. 

After dinner, we headed there.  Sure enough it was a thing of substance and refinement with a discerning  clientele to match.   We looked at the menus; thoughtful witty names abounded for cocktails. The spirits and wine lists titillated and conjured up images of romantic and exotic landscapes.

I had a Screaming Viking:  The softest pink in a heavy glass with oversized ice cubes and a half moon of lime to decorate, refreshed and sent me into raptures.  ‘The name comes from an episode of Cheers’ Mr S (so much more than a bartender of considerable note) explained, and went on to recount the story with an excellent Woody impersonation to boot: ‘I’m from Boston, you see’ he said.

I felt like I was thawing out at last. Our inimitable bartender passed by once more, his raincoat on, ready to depart for the night. ‘I’d like to try one more, what do you suggest?’ I asked, stating that I liked bourbon and nothing too sweet. ‘Make this lady a Maiden Manhatten – but keep it dry’ he called over to his colleague behind the bar.  

The concoction arrived, resplendent in a coupe style champagne glass with a mini iceberg in the middle, three blackberries surrounding it and the most delicious shade of amber liquid I’ve seen within.  We raised our glasses,  I took a sip and found it to be the embodiment of New York, and myself again.



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