Ivy hangs in the windows, filtering the light from the chilly winter sky. Stepping into the restaurant on a Friday greets me with a fully sat interior. It is small and almost hidden, the quintessential Brooklyn corner spot that feels organic and rustic all at once in Boerum Hill.
Its fare is Northern Italian. A meeting cancelled, I am just drinking. “The Real Macau” (dark rum, amaro Zucca, lapsang souchong sweet vermouth) is described by the bartender as a smokey manhattan, served up. I opt for the beverage over “The New Rider” (rye, maraschino, ginger, lime, sage) as my choice seems to match the weather.
“You of all people should check it out,” the recommendation had come from a regular who did not steer me wrong. The drink was unique and complex, as described. I nod to the element of smokiness achieved without using scotch.
One long communal table is behind me. Aside from round tables near the windows, two-tops surround the perimeter of the space. Everyone looks young and stylish, and somehow not working on a Friday afternoon.
I pull out my books, The Instant Economist and The Drunken Botanist – because those two books make total sense to be read simultaneously…. Soon a man sits at the corner of the bar near me.
“How is the Real Macau?” he inquires to the bartender.”Is it served up?” The two clearly know each other and I cannot help but chime in that it is an excellent drink as it sits in front of me. Something about hearing the interaction and not acknowledging that I possess the drink in question seems like withholding information.
He orders the drink and I return to my books only half-eavesdropping on his commentary. “It reminds me of that rhubarb amaro,” he attempts to remember the name. This time I withhold the information – he is talking about Sfumato, the amaro that I have been putting in everything for two straight months. No wonder I like the drink, I think, if you can liken it to Sfumato.
I sip slowly, making the drink last forever, or at least much longer than liquids generally remain in my glass. A thoroughly satisfying experience has been all my own, in the company of words.
It takes me until the end to see the cherry in the bottom of the coup. I pop it into my mouth and notice the dinosaur figurine on the bar shelf between the cherry heering and a bottle of cognac. It’s the little things.