Up All Night

"They come early and they come late," says the regular sitting next to me at Clayton's Restaurant and Club (198 North Sam Houston Parkway East, 281-999-1500). The nightly happy-hour buffet from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. practically packs the place, even on a Monday. Then the food disappears and the crowd thins. But by midnight, revelers have filled up the dance floor again, and they'll drink until last call. For the late-night set, bartender Frank suggests a drink -- or rather a four-ounce shot -- called Liquid Cocaine. This sweet little concoction could explain why the crowd winds up dancing the night away. From the outside, Clayton's has about as much personality as the tired old strip malls and expressways that surround it. But inside, with its masculine green walls and wide assortment of mounted animal heads, the place reminds me of a modern hunting lodge. Bookcases and sunken couches in one corner provide a cozy alternative for those not high on Liquid Cocaine.

Clayton's Liquid Cocaine:

1/4 ounce Crown Royal
1/4 ounce Southern Comfort
1/4 ounce Grand Marnier
1/4 ounce Bols Amaretto
Splash of pineapple juice
Splash of orange juice
Splash of grenadine

Shake above ingredients over ice until chilled and pour into four-ounce cocktail glass. Decide for yourself whether you want to shoot it or sip it.

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J.W. Crooker