Bar Beat

Cecil's Strawberry Kamikaze

"You happy with those?" a twentysomething stranger says, aiming an inebriated finger at the two shots sitting on the bar in front of me at Cecil's Tavern (600 W. Gray, 713-524-3691). The Strawberry Kamikazes, which were a lovely shade of rose, had come recommended by the bartender. "Sure," I replied. (I didn't tell him about the column, or that this was the second time in as many weeks that I've left my order up to the bartender and gotten a drink some might consider less than masculine. I guess I look secure.) "We're shooting something else," he announces. I tell him fine, if pinkish booze doesn't set your heart aflutter, get us a couple Wild Turkeys. He demands the bartender's attention, but through no fault of the staff's, we end up with just one bourbon. It's dollar-drink Monday and the place is crowded, so we have some time to get to know each other before he can order another.

I learn a few fun facts about my new buddy, namely: 1) His friends are being dicks, and he's in the process of "intimidating" them; 2) He could intimidate me, but he doesn't feel like it; 3) No matter how indifferent I am about it, he doesn't appreciate the fact that I went to Bellaire High School, since he's a Memorial alumnus; and 4) He didn't really like Memorial High School. Minutes pass, we're still missing a drink and I'm ready to rejoin the group I came with, so I go for another option: offer him pink and hope I don't get intimidated. It works — we down the kamikazes (sweet, but good), and I pour half the Wild Turkey into one of the used shot glasses. We promptly take care of those — not a taste combination I'd recommend — and I start heading back toward the porch. As I'm leaving, I get the highest random-drunk praise possible. "You're a good guy," he says. "And I'd never hit on your bitch." Much obliged, sir.

1 1/2 ounce Stolichnaya strawberry vodka

1 1/2 ounce sweet and sour

Splash triple sec

Splash grenadine

Shake over ice and strain into a shot glass. Make new friends but keep the old — one is so fucking drunk that he'll make the others seem more golden than usual.

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Glenn Livet