"I'll be with you guys shortly," the bartender at the Cozy Corner (11530 Burdine St., 713-723-4048) said for the fourth time in two minutes. The air conditioning was set on "meat locker," and some sadist had put "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" on the jukebox. The bar was done up with Fourth of July decorations, and a man was playing a slow-paced solo game of shuffleboard by the far wall. This is Westbury nightlife, and if you like falling down the dive-bar rabbit hole, it doesn't get much better. (This is good for area residents, since it's the only bar for miles.) After finishing up with another customer, the bartender introduced herself as Sherri, then introduced my friend and me to a group of gregarious regulars at the other end of the bar. I asked her for a Salty Dog. She didn't have grapefruit juice handy, but she disappeared in the back for a couple minutes and emerged smiling with a Costco-size jug of Ocean Spray under her arm. It was a victory for all parties involved. While she rimmed the glass with salt, I noticed the constable's phone number tacked to the wall and a note on the freezer below it that read, "Trudy is BANNED until August 6." I'm not sure what you'd have to do to get banned from such a friendly place, but if I were Trudy, I'd make damn sure I never did it again.

1½ ounces Taaka vodka

3 ounces grapefruit juice, give or take

an ounce

Combine ingredients over ice in a rocks glass that's been rimmed with salt.


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