Rosemary hired a professional bartender named Lupe when they opened the full bar. The weekend we were there, Lupe created two specialty martinis. One was chocolate (not so original) and the other was celery-mint. When I heard one of the servers offer a diner a “celery-mint martini,” I thought, ick. Nothing about that sounded good.
Saturday when we went down for dinner, Lupe was behind the bar doing something that involved a lot of thumping. She is a short woman with a head of black curls, forties-red lipstick and a thick Mexican accent. Two martini glasses sat on the bar, filled with ice, their sides frosting slowly. Below the bar, Lupe pounded away, stopping now and then to add a mint stem to a slowly growing pile on the bar. The air smelled like mint and kind of like fresh cut grass.
Spouse said, “What are you doing?”
“Muddling,” she said.
Okay, on all those food and bar shows, muddling involves a shaker and a nicely shaped wooden stick, about the thickness of the handle of an ice cream scoop. I thought Lupe might have been using a hammer. After a minute she stopped, scooped the poor herbage she had “muddled” into a shaker with ice, added liquid from two bottles, and began shaking with a vengeance. She set the shaker down, dumped the ice from the classes, and poured this iridescent, translucent sea-foam green concoction into each glass.
“What is that?”
“Celery-mint martini,” she said. “Want to try?”
I started to shake my head, and she rattled the shaker. “I have some left. Here.” She righted a shot glass on the bar and filled it. I took it and sipped. It tasted… it was amazing. It was like fresh-cut grass, and mint. It was a little sweet, but not cloying, and there was a citrus taste and the bite of the booze, but it wasn’t overly junipery. It tasted like summer.
(And did I get a picture? Why, no.)
“For your husband?” she said, holding up the shaker. I shook my head.
“You want one?”
“Not right now,” I said, but I ordered one with dinner. I assumed, because I hadn’t been ambushed by juniper, that this was a vodka martini, but it was not, it was the old-fashioned gin kind.
I’m not a big martini drinker, as you can tell, but I’d order another one of Lupe’s celery-mint drinks in a heartbeat.