Manhattan Luna

After meeting at my place for cocktails before a show, my friends and I decide to soak up some of the booze with a big bowl of pasta (and more Jack Daniel's, of course), so we head for

Buca di Beppo

(5192 Buffalo Speedway, 713-665-2822). We sit in our favorite place -- the bar -- and order Manhattan Lunas from our usual waitress, Johnna. Either I didn't notice how drunk I was before I left the house, or I just went from zero to trashed in 60 seconds with a couple of these potent concoctions. The funny thing about this particular group is that they're completely unfazed by my drunken behavior -- in fact, they've come to expect it. They've seen me yell, cuss, fight, fall down and vomit, and tonight is no exception. Before our food arrives, I'm passed out in the booth. If you've been to Buca, you know that not one inch of this mazelike place is free from Italian kitsch. Coincidentally, above our booth, next to the picture of a turkey smoking a cigarette out of his ass, is a photo of a guy passed out on a table. My friends laugh it up. Suddenly I feel the need to go outside. I find some nice bushes in the parking lot and decide to take a nap in them. After the break I sway back into the booth and pass out again, this time snoring. None of this surprises my company, of course. I wake up and finish off my cocktail as we leave. Needless to say, we don't make it to the show.

4 ounces Jack Daniel's
2 ounces Tuaca
1/2 ounce red vermouth

In a rocks glass filled with ice, mix all the ingredients and garnish with a cherry. These cocktails are strong, so be careful not to make a turkey's ass of yourself.

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