Amuse bouche...

Cock­tail Carry-On

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - APPETITES -

be­cause she didn’t know there was any real dif­fer­ence be­tween them. So on his rec­om­men­da­tion, she de­cided to have the Fever-Some­thing one. At which point he asked did she want el­der­berry flavour or aro­matic, which, he con­fided in a way that Jen­nifer found smug, con­tained “hints of car­damom, pi­mento and gin­ger”.

“No, just nor­mal,” she said, sus­pi­ciously, won­der­ing was she miss­ing a trick. And now, here he was, bear­ing what looked like a gold­fish bowl — a huge, cir­cu­lar gob­let on a long, thin stem. It looked awk­ward to carry, and would clearly be worse to drink, prob­a­bly spilling all down her front. Slices of cu­cum­ber lurked in the depths of the gob­let, and it had what could have been a strand of chive, or grass, pok­ing out of it, in ad­di­tion to a grind­ing of black pep­per, which floated on the top of the gin.

And to think she’d cho­sen a gin and tonic be­cause it seemed to be the easy op­tion. And per­haps it still was, she thought, re­mem­ber­ing the list, full of names like ‘Punch Up’ and ten dif­fer­ent per­mu­ta­tions of Mar­tini, in­clud­ing a ‘dirty’ one that sounded nasty, and an up­side-down one, with in­gre­di­ents she had pre­vi­ously only en­coun­tered in cook­ing, like cherry to­ma­toes, rose­mary and bal­samic vine­gar.

No cock­tail um­brel­las or glace cher­ries, she no­ticed, which was frankly a pity, and took some of the fun out of the whole thing.

In fact, it all seemed to have be­come a very se­ri­ous busi­ness. Around her, peo­ple were study­ing menus and ask­ing knowl­edge­able ques­tions about ‘botan­i­cals’ and ‘process’.

Mean­while, Jen­nifer’s friend Liz was pok­ing at a strand of thyme in her vodka and lime, and mut­ter­ing “next time, let’s just get two glasses of white . . .”

“That will be €45,” the waiter said.

EMILY HOURI­CAN

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