Results tagged Persian Aub Zam Zam from David Lebovitz

The Martini


Martini Cocktail recipe
A number of decades ago, I was lured away from gin by other liquors; namely whiskey, bourbon, and other non-clear libations. There were no martinis and no gin and tonics in my cocktail repertoire. Back in the day, I used to go out and have 3 or 4 martinis, and have a good time. Sometimes, someone at work would bring a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin and we’d sit around the kitchen after our shifts ended, drinking cold martinis and eating leftover food from the evening service. (Actually, the line cooks only drank. After being around sugar, eggs, and butter all day, we pastry people gorged on anything that had vinegar, meat, or salt in it with our drinks.)

Martini Cocktail recipe

Other nights we’d go to places like the wacky Persian Aub Zam Zam where the owner would kick anybody out who: 1) Ordered anything other than a gin martini, and 2) Wanted to sit at a table. He thought, rightly, that you should only drink at the bar – and seated. To this day, I refuse to drink a cocktail standing up, and do whatever I can to sit at a bar when enjoying a cocktail. There was also a place in San Francisco called Bix, where martini glasses were upturned on a big silver tub of crushed ice, ready and waiting to be filled with ice-cold martinis that we liked as well.

Martini Cocktail recipe

I don’t remember exactly when I stopped drinking martinis but I do remember someone telling me that you shouldn’t drink gin if you ever plan on having plastic surgery because it does something to your skin. I know it sounds crazy, (that gin affects your skin, not that I would want to have plastic surgery…although I reserve the right to change my mind in the future) but that may have been a factor all the same. Another was that I started feeling not-so-great, and completely dehydrated, in the middle of the night after a couple of martinis – which is why I don’t drink much red wine anymore, because it has the same effect.

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The Toronto Cocktail

Toronto Cocktail recipe

I was part of a whole generation of San Franciscans that were terrorized by Bruno, a cantankerous, older Persian man who had a bar in the Haight called Persian Aub Zam Zam. I’ve probably mentioned him before, but I recently went down that rabbit hole of the Internet where I found a few stories about him via a search for something else. Then…well, we all knows where that leads…

He believed that if you’re going to have a drink at a bar, you should have it at the actual bar. I don’t know why he had a few tables and chairs around the outskirts of the dark room, because anyone that came in and tried to take a seat at one would be yelled at by Bruno – “The tables are closed. Get the hell out of here!

Cocktail glasses

Am not sure if they were just for decoration or what, but he would also flip out on people if they ordered a foofy cocktail, such as a Cosmopolitan, a Screwdriver…or heck, anything that wasn’t a classic cocktail on his pre-approved list. If you wanted to stay on his good side, you’d order a Martini – one made with gin. An order for a Vodka Martini would get you tossed out. And in contrast to what some “experts” might advise, he didn’t shake or stir his (gin) Martinis, he “pounded” the $2.50 cocktail with a muddler, which resulted in an icy-cold drink, served (or course) in a classic Martini glass. And your change was always a shiny half-dollar coin snapped down on the bar after you paid.

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Le Mary Celeste

spiced cucumbers

The cocktail resurgence has hit Paris big-time (and it’s hit me too), and the team who created Candelaria and Glass, two of my favorite places in Paris, have another hit on their hands with Le Mary Celeste. This corner bar in the Marais is named after a ship in the nineteenth century that left New York and was later found adrift and abandoned. No one ever found out what happened to the crew, who left all their personal belongings and valuables behind, but the boat was also found fully stocked with barrels of alcohol.

Le Mary Celeste cocktail - Rain Dog

I don’t think many – or any – of those barrels landed in Paris, although there is no shortage of things to drink around here. Wine has historically been the drink of choice, although beer seems to have overtaken les vins in popularity judging from all the young people drinking pints in cafés. But gaining traction are cocktails of quality.

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