In front of me is a vibrant mixture of whitewash and the color of a clear blue sky, something like the paint that has faded in the sun in desert climates. Sel Rrose appears to have existed on this corner forever, yet it is new to me.
I say hello to a figure I recognize from afar and sit next to Diego, my longtime cocktail tutor. The space is airy. Sound carries. We catch up over a heap of happy hour oysters, and I ask for the lowdown on the cocktail menu. Having already studied the menu online like a self-aware indecisive human, I know what I will order but want his guidance nonetheless. Therein I find what Lizzie will order (sparkling, lavender ice, herbs de provence, grapefruit bitters). Still my initial inclination sticks and I order The Hunter (mezcal, ginger syrup, mesquite honey, lime).
Before our drinks appear before us, Lizzie joins and worlds collide. As predicted, Lizzie receives the Lavendar Piscine and The Fountain (grapefruit, lemon, pink peppercorn syrup, hopped grapefruit bitters) is in front of me.
“You wanted the Hunter?” Diego asks. I confirm and the mistake is whisked away for the correct drink to appear in moments. The Fountain had me salivating from its refreshing appearance; I am pleased with the spicy ginger and mezcal, a twist on a penicillin.
It is a bit too loud to really relay the depth of all relationships, so I bounce between the two parties, attempting to include everyone in the same conversation. It proves to be difficult and each of us takes a turn tending to our own smartphone needs like good 21st century citizens while the other two chat. It is a good mix of technology and face-to-face interaction. Soon a fourth is added to the group adding potential for everyone to be involved in a conversation.
The bar itself looks spacious and vibrant. “This must be a great bar to work,” I muse. Diego confirms as he relays tales of the bar at three deep. Now it is bustling, but comfortable. An ease is in the air, the summer slowness calms New York nerves.
The Hunter is reordered; I switch to the White Rose (rye, mequite honey, ginger syrup, pineapple, lemon, egg white). It is similar, sharing several ingredients, and on the sweeter size for an egg white cocktail. Served up, the viscosity of egg and syrups encourages me to slow down; the night is young and bound to be long as Diego has listed at least five more potential bars to patronize, including Fig. 19 (part of the same family as Sel Rrose).
“Shall we?” I ask after the next round. Daylight is waning, and night calls for a venue change.