It's Monday night, and I stop off at Cecil's (600 West Gray, 713-524-3691) to join the anti-Monday-night-football league for a drink. Cecil's is a neighborhood pub that's always jumping. Even during the week it's full of people, and tonight's crowd obviously isn't interested in plasma TVs -- there isn't a single screen here. The busy bartenders do a great job of keeping the crowd -- hipsters, white-collar types, stoners and punks -- inebriated. Trying to get some gin, I wedge myself between a girl whose boobs are about to fall out of her wife-beater and the douchebag who's annoying her. When I finally get a Tom Collins, it's worth it: The cocktails here are strong and cheap. I'm appreciating the beverage-napkin art behind the bar when a girl in a Charles Manson shirt starts talking to me about tattoos. I look around, noticing there's no shortage of hot girls in the bar tonight. The gin goes to my head quickly, and -- just in time -- I run out of money. I give my seat to a girl with a snaggle tooth and head out.
4 ounces Heaven Hill gin
2 ounces sweet & sour mix
Splash of soda
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Pour the gin and sour mix into a Collins glass filled with ice, top off with a little soda, and garnish with a cherry. This thirst-quenching social lubricant is perfect for loosening up at holiday parties with open bars. Ahh...open bars.