Monday Night Cocktails at Double Trouble

I've always been a weak drinker. I'm usually one of those nurse-a-drink-for-an-hour-plus type girls, or a "cheap date," as I so often refer to myself. Whether it's a glass of wine or a cocktail, I usually sip slowly, and the stronger the drink, the smaller the sip. Socially, I can drink more if it's accompanied by food, but on the whole, it generally takes me a while to finish a glass, and even then, I often leave my glass half full.

So when I drink more than one glass, and quickly, it usually signals one of two things. Either I really like the drink, or I'm too busy socializing to pay attention to how many sips I've taken. On a Monday night at Double Trouble in Midtown, when it's so quiet you can actually have a full-on conversation with Robin, the bartender, it's definitely because I like the drink.

Double Trouble is not your typical bar. It's more like a community hangout, a place where you can shoot the breeze with the person sitting next to you, the bartender behind the counter and the odd patron walking in. The understated tiki theme -- think large leaf motif, bamboo wall coverings, and large brown wooden tribal masks hanging on the wall -- is instantly relaxing and welcoming. It has this bohemian feel, and you get the feeling that you're in some beach hangout far away, where time passes slowly and people have time to connect.

On Monday nights, Robin, one of the owners, is behind the counter, expertly creating cocktails like the Port Light (not on the menu), which she whipped up after asking us a few questions about our preferences. You could tell that she was an expert in her craft and that she loved her job. It showed in the drinks she made, the stories she told, the ease with which she moved around the bar, pulling down bottles or straining a cocktail into a glass.

All the cocktails on the menu had fun names, like the $1,500 and Two Weeks Off, a pink and pretty cocktail complete with paper umbrella for garnish. The Holy Mother, made with Citadelle Gin, Jamaican jerk spice and Tabasco, was similar to Bloody Mary and had a super-spicy kick on the end -- thank goodness she offered to make it less spicy. We wanted to order the "Bruice" Lee, a Buffalo Trace Bourbon cocktail, but she was missing a key ingredient that night and couldn't make it.

The cocktails I ordered were so well-constructed, I finished off two in less than an hour -- a record time almost unheard-of for me. And now I can't wait to go back. Next time, I'm going to try that Bruice Lee, and maybe an Angela Lansbury or the Bee Hive and Mango Tree. Who knows? I might even try to drink my way through the entire menu. Yes, the drinks were that good.

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