I come from a long line of martini drinkers. One school of thought holds that the gin martini is the one true martini, but my grandparents enjoyed the vodka version of the cocktail nightly with the news for more than 60 years. Maybe my love for the vodka martini is hereditary? My grandfather's martinis go like this: one shot of vodka and a half shot of dry vermouth with two olives and a twist on the rocks. Some may scoff, "...with olives and a twist? You don't do both...it's one or the other..." Nope. This is how they drank their martinis, and I'm keepin' it alive. At a tender age, I was taught how to extract the oil from the lemon peel to rub around the rim of the glass. I'd hover till they looked just about done with their drinks and then dunk my grubby little fingers into their glasses to steal their vodka-soaked olives. What can I say? A good martini just reminds me of home and family.
Cecil's was pretty quiet on a Tuesday at 4:30 when we grabbed two stools and met Sikica (Siki for short), who was manning the bar. Even though we were a little early to partake in the Tuesday-night martini special, we ordered two anyway, asking nicely if she could make them grandpa-style. She obliged and they were perfect, spot-on. While sipping our martinis, we got to know a little about Siki and Cecil's.
Where are you from? I am originally from Lake Charles. I lived in Baton Rouge for several years before moving to Houston. I went to LSU.
How long have you been bartending at Cecil's? Three-and-a-half years.
How would you describe the bar's aesthetic? I guess a lot of people would say Rudyard's is kind of like the living room of Montrose, but I really feel like Cecil's is my living room. It's a clubhouse that makes you feel welcome. It's cozy.
How would you describe the crowd? Very eclectic. Anywhere from...bartenders, service industry people, artists, actors, doctors, lawyers, pretty much any profession you can think of I've seen walk through the door. We have a lot of regulars, which is why I say it's kind of like a clubhouse. People keep coming back because they know they can run into a friend here. You can sit at the bar and meet five or six people or you don't have to talk to anyone.
What is the most absurd thing you've seen someone do in your bar? During one of my more low-key happy hours, there was a guy that was passed out on the table with his pants down and he had Tron playing on his laptop. Oh, and he was listening to Journey at the same time.
At the end of my shift, I pour a _______. It's kind of boring actually...just vodka soda. It's the New Year's resolution diet.
Rapid fire Whiskey: Irish or American? Irish Lemon or lime? Lime Straight up or on the rocks? Rocks Domestic or import? Import Light or dark? Dark
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* Wildcard: People who ______ are the bravest people in the world. People who have suffered, whether it's with family, friends or their own health, and made it out in one piece with a positive attitude.
Cecil's is located at 600 W. Gray in Montrose. Stop in and say hi to Siki Tuesdays and Saturdays from 4 to 8 p.m. You can find great drink specials any night at Cecil's, but the most popular (read: busiest) night is Monday with $1.50 wells, $2 Lonestar.