“I am in Houston today, can we get together for cocktails?” comes a text from a wine country friend. It was a bit unexpected, but I have to be in the city later anyway, so I make plans to meet at House of Blues’ Crossroads restaurant.
Joe and I have a concert to attend that evening, so I think I will chat up my friend early before meeting Joe there for dinner. The great thing about Crossroads is that eating at the restaurant allows you to “Pass the Line.” Rather than standing in the long queue outside inhaling fumes from other concert goers’ cigarettes, we head to the area right in front of the venue door. It helps cut the wait, once inside, in the “Band Merch” line. Because a concert is simply not a concert if you do not take home the t-shirt.
While sitting at the bar in Crossroads, I get another text. “Can you meet me at McCormick & Schmick’s instead? It’s very quiet here.” Even in the middle of the afternoon, Crossroads is not really the best place to have a heart-to-heart. It is way too “rockin’. So I head over to McCormick & Schmick’s. My friend is sitting near the back, wrapped in a scarf looking rather incognito, and drinking something with a sugar rim. I sit down conspiratorially to find out what brings her to town on such short notice. It seems she has an idea for a business venture and wants me to put on my legal hat versus my wine hat.
Attorney-Client-Confidentiality, you see… so that is all I can say about that.
Fabio Walks into the Bar
In the midst of our conversation a handsome gentleman approaches. I am startled and wonder what Fabio is doing in Houston on a Friday afternoon! But, the gentleman, sans accents says…
“Ladies, I would be happy if you would taste this drink, I call an Asian Lemon Drop Martini. I’m entering it into a contest.”
I take a sip. My, how ginger zingy and refreshing!
Determining this Fabio isn’t the 1990’s not-butter icon and remembering I am a journalist, I ask him “What is in this?” with pen and notebook in hand as he recounts his mixology.
A few minutes later after he disappears, my companion locates the manager. I ask the manager more about the drink and “Not-Fabio.”
Turns out he is a bit of a celebrity bartender named Frank Plusk. Here’s his cocktail.
Frank Plusk’s Asian Lemon Drop Martini
1.5 ounces Absolut Citron
0.5 ounces Domaine de Canton
1.0 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
0.5 ounces simple sugar
Fresh mango puree
Shake over ice in a tin cup and pour into a ginger sugar-rimmed martini glass. Drop a tablespoon of fresh mango puree into the center, allowing it to sink to the bottom. Serve.
Alas, Frank’s delightful cocktail did not win him a regular spot in the 2014 Domaine de Canton Global Bartender of the Year contest, currently underway. Perhaps he will get the wild card spot.
But Texas is well-represented. A Zagat 30 Under 30 Honeree and Austin’s Drink.Well. Beverage Director Dennis Gobis is the Midwest Regional Winner headed to the Finals June 9th in St. Martin. Gobis’ cocktail Blood and Money is a mixture of Domaine de Canton, Blood Orange Juice, Mezcal, Sake, Strawberry Puree, Bitters and Rice Wine Vinegar.
I have not yet tried that cocktail, but hope to on my next trip to Austin.
In the mean time, is Frank’s Asian Lemon Drop Martini easy to make?
Tune in tomorrow… and we shall see.
Maybe we can even make our own Fancy French Ginger Liqueur!