Where the wild drinks are

Fraise Sauvage at Employees Only

I’d heard lots of good things about Employees Only, the Art Deco-ish, non-descript-from-the-outside bar in the West Village but it wasn’t until out-of-town guests came to stay with us that I decided we should check it out. (I like to impress visitors with cool stuff so they don’t dwell on the fact that I live in a glorified matchbox.)

The ambiance was cozy and intimate, with that cooler-than-thou hint of exclusivity that pervades so many places in this neighborhood, but it was the Fraise Sauvage, French or something for “delicious and best smelling cocktail in the world,” that really sold me on the place.

Like almost everything else in New York, the drink was about three times the price I’d pay in a normal city, but then again, no one moves to New York looking for normalcy, now do they? Plymouth Gin shaken with wild strawberries and Tahitian Vanilla, topped off with Zardetto prosecco di Conegliano Brut. Fizzy, sweet, tart and with a bold taste and bright aroma of  juicy, fresh wild strawberries.

On top of everything, EO is literally two blocks from my apartment. Looks like this one’s getting added to the out-of-town-guests itinerary. (And to my personal delicious drinks itinerary.)

Summer Spritzing

Aperol and prosecco... my hot weather friends

The small AC window unit in my living room was chugging along this afternoon, noisily blowing cool air into the small room yet not doing enough for me personally. My skin was sticky to the touch and my face was shiny. I, needless to say was grouchy, cursing the AC under my breath for not providing the cooling comfort I needed. As I lazily poked around on Facebook looking for something, anything, to get my mind off being hot, I read my friend Kelly’s status. She and her husband, friends I made while living in Italy, were in Venice for the weekend, and in her status she mentioned what they were doing: enjoying a refreshing Spritz and eating cicchetti.

“Ugh. That’s exactly what I need.”

I was mostly referring to a casual weekend in Venice, but the Spritz? That would definitely do wonders for my heat induced crankiness. I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my bag and ran around the corner to the liquor store where I bought a bottle of prosecco and a bottle of Aperol, the two ingredients in a Spritz.

In Italy, when it was a million degrees outside and there seemed to be no AC anywhere in the entire country, Spritzes, one half Aperol (an Italian bitter apertif) and one half prosecco (italian sparkling wine), garnished with a an orange slice, had been my salvation. Cold, refreshing, and alcoholic, they took the edge off everything— the heat, the national aversion to air conditioning and the italians.

As I hastily poured the bubbly and orange liquids into a glass of ice, I felt cooler already. When I sat down to drink it, this time sitting next to the AC while it blew my hair back like a dog’s ears when he sticks his head out the window of a speeding car, all was well with the world again. I had my drink and my AC. Anything else wasn’t my concern.