Mother’s Ruin (a chronicle)

Loud noises and permeate the air. A siren from an unmarked car seems unnecessary; it does no good. We have no notion of how late it is, and the bustle around Mother’s Ruin indicates the time is earlier. Holding out our IDs, I think to myself how odd it is that our last names are the same,  yet we share no relation. The bouncer does not notice or care and definitely does not smile. He is the first door man who makes me genuinely frightened as he eyes my friendly smile with suspicion. He is huge. No one is going to cause trouble under his watch.

Friday has the bar packed, again not hinting at the actual time. A mezcal old fashioned is unavailable as the bartender admits he and his cohort drank all the mezcal. His baseball cap is backward, t-shirt loose. Tequila is poured. Mothers Ruin reminds me of a perfect marriage of Austin, Santa Cruz, and Brooklyn – but in Nolita. The open face menu board lists the small cocktail list, tap wines, beer – basic but well curated. I spot sherry but accidentally order the wrong drink.

“I’m going to stop him, hold on…I’m allergic to mint,” I interrupt the ingredients in the shaker. “I meant to order the one with sherry, I’m sorry!” (I actually am allergic to mint, it’s not an aversion.) He flops the shaker into the sink without anger or irritation and I quickly have a mixture of rye, sherry, and ramazzotti. Part of why I like sherry in cocktails is the subtle intricacies that meld flavors into delicate complexity. This drink is harsh, the rye overpowering the sherry and amaro. It’s not the worst, but the part of the drink I enjoy the most is the cherry garnish.

My boss and I rarely get a chance to drink together and we talk of how much we love Texas, share service stories from recent events and ones long past, and soon have fresh drinks – this time tequila, cynar, lime, and agave. This round is juicy and refreshing, well balanced. We talk of Tex-Mex restaurants and balloon animals until the time catches us, the lights go up, and the gigantic man from the door gently informs us that he will be ushering everyone toward the door in 10 minutes. The bar still has a bustle and energy as if it were only 11:00pm. It is one of the few places I could stay without tire. And luckily, Mother’s Ruin is open all day long so replication is possible, almost anytime.


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