As I walked into the new Eddie V's at West Ave on a late Wednesday evening, I felt transported to another time.
The place was in full swing that night: all bar seats full, everyone dressed up in their finest and live, old-school jazz providing just the right volume of background music. It was an elegant atmosphere that somehow managed to be simultaneously fun and laid back.
I was able to grab to snag one lone seat at the bar, which happened to place me in front of bartender Sherrel Lemon-Williams. With her warm smile and enthusiastic attitude, I immediately knew this was going to be a fun night.
I asked her to make me something good, and the first thing Sherrel poured was a Maker's Mark Manhattan, one of Eddie V's signature cocktails. Smooth, slightly sweet and not overly bitter, this was one of the best Manhattan's I had ever tasted.
"It's all in the wrist," Sherrel explained when I asked her why it was so good. "You're technically supposed to stir it, but it's so hot in Houston, that I like to swirl it in the shaker tin with the ice so it's perfectly chilled."
I asked Sherrel to make me her favorite drink, and she lit up as she began to tell me about her "perfect margarita," a blend of Patron tequila, Patron Citron, agave nectar and fresh lime. It was light, refreshing and intoxicating.
A mother of two "perfect children," Sherrel has been bartending for eight years now and serving for 12. She used to be right down the road at Houston's, but decided to try something different and headed to Eddie V's in November of last year. She's happy with the move: "I have so much fun here, it doesn't even feel like work sometimes."
When I inquired about what Sherrel most liked about bartending, she smiled and said, "I like making people happy."