Mama said there’d be days like this (and so did I on my bio page) so here I am “crawling in Sunday morning”. And why am I late? Simple and perhaps most obvious. I went out Friday night for a dose of inspiration, came home with inebriation, and yesterday left me with nothing but nasty hangover. But I did manage to glom this anecdote from the experience…
I stopped in to see my friend Alex who handles the action at Elaine’s, a place in my neighborhood that’s long been a New York institution. This is my usual end-of-the-week stop and clearly one of my favorites (you never know who will walk into the place, more important who will crawl out) and Elaine herself is a legend for over forty years. But what really makes it for me is the fact it’s a warm and friendly bar, and Alex who tends that bar is one of the reasons.
So somewhere into this late night foray (four or five drinks in?) I decided to order a round for the people standing near me. And in a weak attempt at humor I said, after referring to the people involved, “And get Duffy a Pink Squirrel while you’re at it.” Duffy was busy counting at the time, he’s their checker when he’s not tending bar, and probably didn’t even hear my silly little crack. But that’s when the fun began because someone else did.
“So what the hell goes into a Pink Squirrel anyway?”
“Ahh, it’s ahhhh…,” was the best yours truly could come up with, “Hey Alex, what’s in a Pink Squirrel, I forget.” And I had forgotten, embarrassingly so (And you call yourself a bartender?) but so had Alex which his face quite readily revealed. But not totally. “White Creme de Cocoa, right?” he then said.
“Yeah,” I added, “white Creme de Cocoa, all those goddam cream drinks have White Creme de Cocoa. I remember that now, that’s the constant!” (You’d have thought, dear reader, that I’d just gone and cracked the Da Vinci Code.) “But what’s that shit that makes it turn pink?” I went on.
So there we were again, alas… two longtime professionals… staring at each other like someone had handed us a trig problem. Alex then turned his back and moved down the bar.
“Creme de Noyaux,” then rang through the room, via a smiling Alex, “It’s heavy cream, White Creme de Cocoa, Creme de Noyaux! ”
“Whoa, good call, man,” I responded, clearly impressed. “I never would’ve gotten Creme de fucking Noyaux. Well done, Al!”
Alex then flashed me an all knowing grin and held up what I guess was his cell phone (I never know what those damn things are… phones? computers? or what?) and proudly said, “I got the answer right here, baby.”
Man, I pondered (in my Neanderthal grasp of technology), years ago you’d have to drag out the Bartender’s Guide for this. That’s right, Grok… you’d have to drag out the goddam Bartender’s Guide, thumb to the section called “Cream Drinks”, or it might be under something else, and five or six minutes later you might have the answer. Now… bingo… “Creme de Noyaux, next question!”
And I did have another question which now I regret. “Hey, Alex, and what’s that other drink none of us make anymore? You know, that green bastard.” Now we really were at a loss because Alex couldn’t punch that in, he couldn’t punch in “What’s That Green Bastard”, so there we were again exchanging that stare. Ahh, but since Alex was pouring and I was drinking it was he who would solve the enigma, “The Grasshopper!” he said, moments later with aplomb.
“And what goes into that?” I heard, again from that nosy customer.
“Check your goddam cell phone,” I answered with conviction.
So here’s the deal, dear reader, this little encounter really did teach me something and not just what goes into a Pink Squirrel. .. it taught me it’s time to join the twenty first century. Yeah, why not get myself one of those toys which I swore I never would need, for out of the blue I just might be asked, “What’s in a Deep Blue Sea, and right in the palm of my hand would be the answer.
Over and out from Bar-land… see ya’ next week-end!