Based solely on the sounds blasting out of The Cotton Exchange Bar & Lounge (202 Travis, 713-229-0097), you could reasonably assume there's a gigantic rave going on inside. A DJ is spinning records, sending a steady supply of trance music onto an empty dance floor. It's early on a Monday night, so I don't quite feel bad for the DJ yet, but it ain't looking good. Nothing short of a time machine set to 1999 or a bus full of candy kids could summon the audience he's looking for. But at the packed bar it's a different story. I'm meeting up with a sexy Cajun vixen to try to get in her pants, under the guise of helping her cheer up her friend Vincent, who's nursing a newly broken heart. Vince is from South America, which means he's usually ready to go out and party at a moment's notice. But tonight he's all melancholy. As we sit around and wax poetic on relationships, Tammy comes by to check on our drinks and fills me in on the history of the place. Built in the 1800s, the Cotton Exchange is one of the oldest buildings in downtown, and they've kept it relatively true to the original spirit of the building (trance aside). The whole place has that built-in-the-1800s kind of vibe, with antique furniture and hand-painted ceilings. She tells me that Biz Markee guest DJ'd at a recent event. Too bad Vince didn't get his heart broken that night instead.
6 ounces Stoli Strawberry vodka
1 splash cranberry juice
1 splash 7-Up
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Combine Stoli, cranberry juice, 7-Up and crushed ice in shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into chilled martini glass. Fire up the flux capacitor!