Stirred and Shaken

It's a downtown evening so desolate that even the panhandlers are elsewhere. We walk along Main Street surveying the flood damage. A lurid green light on an odd half-timbered, Tudor-style building suggests some kind of life. Once inside the structure, we find ourselves in a postmodern fantasy of a bar. It's called Grasshopper/Red Light (506 Main Street, 713-222-1442). I order a grasshopper. It seems appropriate. Bartender Prairie Zenith Koen apologizes. She's from Kansas, where people are still polite -- even to a couple of broke-down typewriter jockeys. The Grasshopper bar does not stock crème de menthe, so a grasshopper cannot be made. Go figure. But Prairie is inventive, a sort of Charlie Parker of the cocktail shaker. She offers her favorite riff on mixology. She calls it a Mocha Tini. We're game. She mixes. We drink. It's good.

Grasshopper's Mocha Tini: This is kind of like a White Russian with a light, all-over tan -- and you know how good those can be.

1 shot Stoli Vanil
Half-shot Kahlúa
Half-shot Godiva dark chocolate liqueur
Splash of half-and-half

Shake ingredients over ice. Strain into a well-chilled martini glass. Prairie thinks a garnish would be nice but has not yet decided on one. If you have a suggestion, visit the Grasshopper and share it with her.

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George Alexander