Arts & Entertainment
Cocktail Chatter: The Salty Dog
By Ed Sikov
Originally printed 3/8/2012 (Issue 2010 - Between The Lines News)
It was with a toxic mix of boredom, curiosity, invigoration and the pathetic devilishness particular to the elderly that I called Kyle and asked him what he was doing Friday night. "The usual," he said, as though I'd stalked him and knew his routine. (OK, there was a brief period when I had stalked him, but let's leave that aside.)
"What's that?" I asked. "Get home around 7, shower, change, meet Robbie for drinks and dinner, and then see what develops. Wanna join us?" In more ways than one, I thought lecherously, but answered, "Sure." Dan was in Duluth - in February! - at an Alzheimer's conference. "Don't forget to come home!" I cried after he shut the door on the way out, knowing he wouldn't deign to unlock the door to reprimand me for my bad taste.
I was in the mood to hang out with youth because I'd picked up a copy of GQ and was shocked to find that I'd heard of none of the people whose handsome faces and superb bodies graced its pages; I knew nothing of the products being touted and advertised; and the recommended hot spots in New York City were as foreign to me as the best places to get grilled yak in Ulan Bator. Where once were my favorite blocks of sleazy sex clubs now stand the showrooms of Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. (That particular neighborhood's name, the Meatpacking District, has remained relevant, however. First it was Manhattan's slaughterhouse neighborhood, then a place where men inserted themselves into other men, and now it's where oversized rich women go to squeeze into clothes one size too small.)
Kyle told me to meet him at Naval, a relatively new bar in the far west Hell's Kitchen. I remembered the block as a wasteland of bus parking lots; now it's ablaze with soaring rental apartment buildings, thriving restaurants and showy bars, including Naval, with its double theme of sailors and treasure trails, all depicted in giant close-up murals on the walls. By the time Robbie got there it was almost 9 p.m. I was yawning.
"Here," said Kyle. "Drink this." He handed me something he'd gotten from the bartender. I looked at the can. "What's a Blue Ox?" "It's an energy drink," Robbie shouted. I took a mouthful and - because it tasted like artificially sweetened crankcase oil pretending to be cola - promptly spat it out on the floor, much to the consternation of the idiot next to me who was wearing shorts and flip flops on a frigid February night and ended up with spat-out Blue Ox all over his shins and feet. "Asshole!" he squealed. I tend to get belligerent when I'm not drunk, so I shoved his shoulders back with both hands and said, "No, you're the asshole for dressing like you're in Barbados when in fact you're in New Friggin' York in February. Now go poof or I'll beat the crap out of you, you asinine little twink." He spun around and ran away.
Kyle and Robbie stood in silent amazement for a moment then broke into applause. "Butch!" said Kyle admiringly. "Take me home, Daddy," Robbie mewed. "Just buy me a drink," I replied. "A real one. How about a Salty Dog? You think Louise here knows how to make one?" He didn't. I instructed him. Commanded is a better word.
The Salty Dog
3 oz. grapefruit juice
3 oz. Absolut vodka
Ice, cubes or crushed
Rub the cut edge of the lemon on the rim of a glass, then dip the glass in a plate full of flaked salt. Put the ice in the glass, then add the juice and vodka and stir gently, so as not to disturb the salt on the rim. If the drink is too strong for you, cut it with more grapefruit juice.