Friday, February 22, 2013

Underberg is bitter

Last night, when talking to Mark Salvie and company at the restaurant, I think I finally figured out how to accurately describe Underberg.

Underberg tastes like the crushing weigh of reality. You think the truth is going to be liberating, then you taste it, and you are aware of your face twisting into a cringe as your remind yourself that you chose to do this.

Underberg tastes like having to grow up too fast. It tastes like your parents telling you that you have to move out, and you have no idea what you're going to do to pay the bills. It tastes like the moment you have to give up on all the warm fuzzy dreams that have been nurtured in your tender highschool heart, and are shoved out into the gladiatorial arena of the real world.

It is the ground rushing to meet your face when you fall. 

The desert of the real.

The harsh light of Underberg is the shopping mall make-up area: its bright glare exposes all your physical imperfections, all your flaws. A swarm of salespeople are descending on you, with samples. Like a pack of wolves, with samples to hide all your imperfections.

You think you can change the world, and Underberg tastes like a reminder that you cannot. That you are not the first person to think you can make the world a better place, and you will not be the last. Underberg puts its hand on the back of your neck and gives it a playful squeeze, "Good effort."

Underberg knows that the human condition is war. Not just filthy trenches in Normandy full of bodies, but in civilized society. In board rooms, in factories, in classrooms, we are at war with each other with such insane horrifying ferocity that Underberg wonders why the world doesn't rip itself apart, like a seagull that just ate an alka-seltzer. Underberg surveys the horizons of the third world, literally on fire, and sighs. This will be our horizon soon enough.

As a sommelier, being a part of a good meal is something that I truly feel contributes to the sanity of the world. I feel like helping deliver a memorable restaurant experience is one of the most aggressive things I can do to help move the world in a better direction.

Underberg is a good drink to have after a good meal, because it is a reminder that you are stepping out of the restaurant, and back into battle.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Royal Hawaiian

They say Royal is still on an FBI watch list after she shot the disco ball in the living room with your pistol a few years back on New Years Eve. Everyone was wasted, but she was sober. She said she’d never held or fired a gun before, and you should have known better when you handed it to her. People were scared at first, but had to admit, it looked really cool to watch a disco ball explode.

Royal is showing up to the restaurant in a yellow sundress with a potbellied pig named Jasper. Both her and Jasper, after some deliberation from management, will be allowed to stay. Because Jesus Christ, just look at that pig. Over time, the pig would become a regular.

They say Royal is a master liar, talking her way out of being arrested for a DUI, after throwing up pure whiskey on the officer. Nobody remembers exactly what she said, except that the officer gave her all the cash in his wallet, and parted with “Seriously, congratulations.”

Royal is laughing way too hard at that mildly funny joke. Everyone is kind of weirded out at first, but then the reality sinks in: royal is enjoying life so much harder than you, and you feel a dull ache of jealousy.

Royal is pitching you a business plan for a “custom concrete” shop. Where people can go to get concrete with things like glitter, broken sunglasses, barbies, or just colored concrete. When you mentioned that you could just paint concrete, she looked exasperated, “Why would you wanna paint fucking concrete that’s boring.” She cuts you off because her phone is ringing: an investor.

They say Royal was an idiot savant. That she struggled to perform simple tasks like ordering food at the drive through, locking her door behind her when she left the apartment. She couldn’t pay bills on time, and she couldn’t do laundry. God help you if you needed to contact her. Did her cellphone even work? Did she even have a cellphone? Who knows. The point is that when she wanted something, she summoned an endless wellspring of moxie and charm that wasn’t outwardly obvious. Her silver tongue has melted hearts, emptied bank accounts, started wars, and delighted onlookers ever since she wandered into town. Her trademark brightly colored, poorly matched outfits make her visible from a distance. She is painful to look upon when hungover: she reflects, and probably magnifies sunlight. Your theory is that she encouraged people to underestimate her. It made it that much easier when the time came to convince the doorman that she was, in fact, the owner of the bar and he needed to let you two in immediately. Or Else.

Lots of people say a lot of things about Royal Hawaiian, what is known for sure is that she is engrossing, fascinating person who will seize your attention, and will probably damage your car after she convinces you to let her borrow it.

Royal Hawaiian is a cocktail indigenous to the Honolulu hotel of the same name. Its something like equal parts gin and pineapple juice, and equal parts orgeat and lemon juice.

You can also find it at Double Trouble in Houston Texas.