Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oxley and Twist

By Eric Feldman, Wine Post Contributor

As far as bars go, I like Frankie’s on a Thursday. Bartenders know me, good lookin’ crowd, and just enough ambient buzz from people talking and whatever game is on in the background to block everything else out. Tonight’s traffic seems a bit heavier than usual…must be a happy hour for some investment firm, or maybe some lawyer got a ten minute reprieve from his desk to invite his coworkers out for a drink. I don’t mind. Just means more buzz.

Thankfully my seat at the end of the bar is open, despite the frivolities - they all seem crowded around the plasma down by the taps anyway. I hang my jacket up on the hook below the chrome bar top and wave down for some service. As usual I take out my cigarette case and start packing a Lucky Strike. I don’t really know why, I don’t even smoke anymore. I just like the feel of something in my hands and it looks a lot less desperate than tearing up a Newcastle coaster. Idle hands, as they say.

“Hey Jimmy, lemme get an Oxley and tonic, wedge of lime.”
“You got it – run a tab?”
“Just bring me another in ten minutes and close it out.”

A couple more pats on the Lucky and I get the rewarding feeling like I’ve accomplished something. Each ping it makes against the tin case makes me feel like if I wanted a drag I could take one, but I ain’t going outside. Rather have the drink.

“Here ya go.”

Jimmy drops off the Oxley and I toss the straw off the side. Won’t need it. I think Jimmy just leaves them in there to see if I’ll finally ask him to just stop adding them… probably won’t though. It’s smooth. Refreshing. Perfect balance of kick and flavor. Quietly I think I let out an “aaaah” although I try to show some restraint – can’t let it go to Jimmy’s head. As he’s walking away I notice a throng of bankers or lawyers or whatever ordering a round of pitchers. Just over Jimmy’s shoulder though, amongst the otherwise forgettable crowd of mid-level misfits, I catch a woman in a blue dress. She seems bored, hasn’t even touched the last round her increasingly boisterous friends must’ve bought her. She turns just past me, probably to see who walked in the door and brought that cold winter breeze with them. I only see one blue eye behind that jet black hair, but it’s enough to think she sees me too.

“Heya Jimmy, hold up a sec. Do me a favor, send a dry Oxley martini with a twist to that woman in blue at the end of the bar.”

Jimmy takes a quick look over his shoulder, imperceptible to anyone but me in that perfect bartender way, and chuckles, “Forget it pal, she’s out of your league.”

“Just send the drink, let me worry about it.”

I take another pull on the Oxley and tonic, and it helps cool down the fire of nerves I have building inside. Just as sweet as the first sip, I think. God I hope I didn’t say “aaah” out loud again. As Jimmy hands the woman in blue her drink, I try to hide the cigarette so she won’t see it – I’ll at least wait until ten minutes into the conversation to blow it, I figure. Jimmy leans in, and I can see him say “Oxley martini” as he points to me. She looks down at the drink and pushes away the beer, taking a delicate sip off the top to keep it level. Class act, I can tell.

I try to put on whatever sort of smile I can possibly muster despite the butterflies – and immediately forget to hide the cigarette. I give a nod, a stupid half-grin somewhere between “saying cheese” and trying to look cool and add a little wave of the hand with the cigarette. She looks up.

She smiles back.

Editor's Note: The above story is a work of fiction written after tasting Oxley Gin. Wine Post Contributor Eric Feldman is a lawyer by day, a gin enthusiast by night, and a brewmaster on the weekends. Eric brews at the East Village Brewing Company. To contact Eric please e-mail rbwinepost@gmail.com.

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