“Oh, hi, welcome back!” exclaimed a manager of the cocktail bar Dandelyan as he passed my barstool. “It’s good to see you!”
“It’s lovely to see you, too,” I replied, having no idea who he was. I shot a glance at our bartender, who knew perfectly well that I had never once been to Dandelyan, named the world’s best cocktail bar during the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans. He raised an eyebrow but remained silent.
“I see you ordered the Nitrate Manhattan again. It’s fantastic, isn’t it?”
I wholeheartedly agreed. The unlikely combination of white tequila, 10-year-old whiskey, flattened rhubarb saison beer (infused with herbs), bitters and lanolin (for texture) tasted wonderfully smoky and bittersweet, with a surprising tannic finish.
“Well, enjoy your cocktail, and it’s great to see you again!”
After he departed, our bartender confided, “I was going to tell him it was your first time at the bar, but I wanted to see who he thought you were.”
“I can’t imagine. I mean, how many people who look like me order Nitrate Manhattans here?” He replied, “Yeah, we get a few. We get a few.”
I never did find out who the manager thought I was. But it was marvelous to momentarily feel like a regular at the best cocktail bar in the world.