Facebook has a feature called “On This Day” that shows you memories that you posted last year, or the previous year, or maybe even 5 years ago. Now this is a lovely thought if the memory is a happy one. We get all warm and fuzzy and maybe even shed a tear or two at what a wonderful day it was. But what happens when a picture pops up of some ex-boyfriend or girlfriend that you were just saying you were beginning to get over. Not any more. There they are smiling at you or, worse yet, there the two of you are smiling at one another. Or maybe it’s a group shot from one of those nights when Creedence Clearwater Revival was in your head telling you that you should have stayed home. Suddenly those one or two tears turn into an all out sob session. Thank you, Facebook.
When I log on today I know just what picture is going to pop up. It will be of a bottle of wine from a restaurant in New York called Ai Fiori. It was a Vosne-Romanée from Burgundy, a 1er Cru that I’d been given the task of choosing and I did so happily. I was so excited to taste this wine that I could hardly contain myself. And it was wonderful! (You have to remember that this Thirsty Camel was once a wine educator in a former life. I still get excited about these kinds of things.) It had been one of those perfect days; I’d come up on the train, it was Christmas time in New York City, I was with friends, and I was wearing red heels because I thought they were festive and fabulous. We stopped at a place on the way to Ai Fiori called The Monkey Bar on E. 54th St. It was early and very quiet, just before the happy hour rush. We ordered some appetizers and a cocktail called The Savoy Graydon that was made with vodka, green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth, agave syrup, and lemon. It’s actually a very simple combination of ingredients that truly exemplifies the statement “the whole is more than just the sum of its parts.” Sometimes, and this is especially true of cocktails, the parts can be something other than just physical elements. The Savoy Graydon was magical for me because of where I was, who I was with, and the way I was feeling. (And I know those red shoes helped too.)
By the time we left the bar several cocktails later, it was packed. We all went on to have dinner and that amazing bottle of wine, stayed over, and came home the next day on the train. Two weeks later I made Savoy Graydons on Christmas Eve, and several more times throughout this past year. Every time I’ve had this cocktail, including yesterday when I photographed it for this post, I’ve been brought back to that perfect day in New York. Circumstances are very different; in fact nothing is the same, but my memory fills in the gaps and infuses the drink, if you will, with those magical components of time and place and people. Just for a moment I’m sitting back at The Monkey Bar, on a December day full of promise. And for that, I am grateful.
The Savoy Graydon (from The Monkey Bar 60 E. 54th St. NYC)
1½ oz Stateside vodka
1 oz Punt E Mes sweet vermouth
½ oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz agave nectar (diluted 2 parts water, 1 part agave)
¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 oz Q club soda
Long lemon peel strip for garnishing
Add all the ingredients (except for the lemon peel strip) to the bottom half of a shaker tin. Add your ice (1 large cube and 2 small if you have them on hand). Shake for 15-20 seconds until cold. Strain using a Hawthorne strainer and then pour over ice into a Collins glass. Garnish with the lemon strip. Make a toast to your perfect day and enjoy!
Don’t forget to stop by Gorshin Trading Post in Haddonfield for some cocktails tonight!!