A Love Letter to the Libertine's Cocktail List

Dear Ms. Libertine (or is it Mr.?),

Hi. You probably don't me, but I know you pretty well. (At least I thought I did.)

I've patronized you many times over the past four years, and consider you one of my Old Faithfuls for tasty bar food, especially on Tuesday nights when you so kindly slash your menu prices in half. I always order the same thing: that artery-cloggingly good mac and cheese and a beer. Newcastle, perhaps, or maybe Maredsous 10 if I'm feeling fancy, or Strongbow if it's a cider kind of night. Your selection is pretty extensive, so you can't blame me for never paging my way through to the cocktail list, can you?

Until the other day, when I sat at your long wooden bar and just happened to notice your extensive selection of fine spirits at the far end of the bar.

Lillet Blanc, Dolin vermouth, Cocchi Americano, Fernet, Campari, and Death's Door gin, not to mention Averna, Benedictine, and Amaro? Damn, girl. I didn't know you swung that way.

So naturally, I ordered up a cocktail. A Hibiscus Pisco Sour, to be exact. That purple smoked hibiscus salt on top? That's pretty clever. It gave an intriguing burst of flavor to every sip, and all the ingredients were so well blended. It packed a pretty good punch, too -- I was buzzing three-quarters of the way through, and I'm practically a professional at this whole drinking thing.

I felt like we were really starting to get to know each other, so I had to soldier on, even though it was only 4 in the afternoon. That sweet blonde girl behind the bar pretty much talked me into it. (She has that effect on everyone, doesn't she?)

I tried the Snake in the Grass next, and man was that one a stunner. It's probably the most visually striking drink I've had all year; grassy green with a delicate lemon slice floated on top and crowned with a picture-perfect sprig of mint. Green Chartreuse, St. Germaine, citrus and Chuncho bitters -- whose idea was that, anyway?

I really admire the way the bartender used a light hand with the elderflower liqueur. That stuff is so overused and abused these days, don't you think?

Anyway, I just want to say I'm sorry that I misjudged you. You're really much more multi-faceted than I originally thought. I promise I'll make it up to you -- I'll try every cocktail on your list, even if it takes me another four years. (By the way, I think it's really awesome that all your house cocktails are half-price during happy hour. That'll make this whole process much easier on my bank account.)

I'll see you really soon, Libertine.


That Girl

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Whitney Filloon