Last Call

June 6, 2019   My perfect Manhattan includes a bottom shelf rye, a top shelf vermouth and a brandy-infused cherry. Clear ice, proper stirring, and only a rocks glass. No compromises allowed. It is possible that I think too much about this cocktail.

I was in Flagstaff Arizona, at Monsoons, a dive on old Rte. 66. The 2 o’clock sun barreled through the door. It made the grimy bar gleam like polished copper. I was drinking Pete’s Wicked Ale with my friend Greg while we plotted a river trip. It was the most perfect beer of my life. It is possible that I think too much about that beer.

My friend Allison and I were in Kulpsville PA. We had dented a bottle of vodka. I looked at Allison and then the depleted bottle. I proclaimed, “We are professional grade”.  My friend and I were married two years later. Still my best friend. And I can’t possibly think too much about that cocktail.

Pouring a drink onto to my fractious motor neurons is like bringing a cask of tequila to a frat party. The results are unpredictable but you know things will get out of hand. And frat boys recover more quickly than one with a disordered neuromuscular system. The anticipation of a good drink has been replaced by the understanding of consequence. After a single drink, it takes 36 hours to fully recover and regain sketchy equilibrium. A. Single. Drink. This is the danger zone. Stumbles are likely, words are slurred and sleep is ragged. The price is too high. The perfect Manhattan, beers in glowy afternoons, and evening cocktails with Allison become stuff of memory. I’m no longer professional grade. And it is possible that I will think too much about this.

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