Stirred and Shaken

In the days of old, the word "work" described something done in a real place, not in "regions" or "markets" or "new media." One was a "welder" at the "shipyard" or a "steelworker" at the "mill." There was something called the "night shift" or the "graveyard shift" at these places. After finishing these shifts, people would routinely slide into their uneasy daytime sleep with a drink at a bar -- a real bar, not a "concept" in the "hospitality industry." They would have a real drink, like a boilermaker. Searching for this lost world, I pay a visit to the only place I know in town where you can knock 'em back at the earliest legal time, 7 a.m. It's Katz's Deli and Bar (616 Westheimer, 713-521-3838). Walking in, I immediately notice the guys at the bar are mostly gals, nurses from the third shift at the Medical Center. Nobody looks like they would know how to wield a cargo hook. Instead of a grizzled, balding barkeep, there is a woman, Maria Payne, as fresh-faced as her namesake in a nativity. I tell her my purpose, and she tells me that "The nurses drink cherry lemonade, and the bartenders drink kamikazes." I order the cherry lemonade.

Katz's Absolut Cherry Lemonade: Despite not having anything made from cherries in it, this drink tastes like the fruit. The power of suggestion? I can't imagine a longshoreman ordering a tall, sweet, pink cocktail. But then, hell, I can't imagine what a content strategist for new media does, either.

One shot Absolut Citron vodka
One shot Cointreau
Four shots lemonade
Half-shot Rose's grenadine syrup

Pour the vodka, Cointreau, lemonade and syrup over ice cubes, shake, fill a tall glass, and top with a splash of Sprite. Katz's does not give out exact recipes for its drinks, only the ingredients, so I had to guess the quantities. For the real thing, you'll have to visit Maria.

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George Alexander