The Jimi Cocktail
by Warren Bobrow
There is a private club in New York City’s West Village that caters to an artsy crowd. It’s located in an historic building on a gritty commercial-looking street. You can walk by the place a hundred times and never notice that it’s just down the way from the spot that once held the famous Luchow’s Restaurant.
If you are invited – and that’s the only way to get in the front door – it’s possible to bump into the next hot director working on a movie, or the latest ad agency sensation. This is a smart, social networking/internet savvy crowd. Over on the couch you’ll see a group of giggling, well-dressed couples reading the extensive menu from the excellent locavore restaurant upstairs.
The spectacular landmarked town house where I found myself on a recent weekday night is arranged over 5 floors and houses a sixty-five seat restaurant, two lounge bars, a forty-five seat screening room, event space, as well as a subterranean dining room for up to twenty four people, plus a walled garden. There is very little public information about this club. One has to dig rather deeply into the National Trust for Historic Places website for any information on the original owners, or the property for that matter.
In fact, the club keeps its landmark designation hanging inside the entrance to hide its status from peering eyes. Add the fact that the Federal-style architecture blends into the ambiguous brownstone homes surrounding it and you can rest assured that should you desire it you’ll have a measure of privacy.
Once inside, the rooms feel like someone’s private lair- a mansion from another age, in this case 1845. I felt like I had entered a well-orchestrated theatrical tableau. Hipsters abounded, dressed in cool clothing like those created by designer Billy Reid-dripping with bespoke Southern Heritage styled- duck hunting outfits? There is nary a Ralph Lauren preppy to be found. If this crowd had been a bit older, they would have hung out at the club named Danceteria where I worked back in the day.
The building has narrow staircases (an elevator is available) and gracious public spaces, floor to ceiling (sound insulated) windows were reminiscent of the Adam period architecture found in Charleston, S.C. Old, wide plank, wood flooring and heavy pocket doors framed the rooms. The cocktail bar and lounge, lit with intimate shaded light, was located on the main floor. Curved in the corner, glass back-lit shelving held exciting-sounding liquors in exotically shaped bottles.
The classically dressed bartender works with a speedy efficiency and with an almost Buddhist- influenced calm, possessing a sense of grace that causes one to remember his or her own manners. The members (and their guests in whose corner I counted myself) smiled, drank their well- prepared libations and spoke of dreams and possibilities well into the night. Twitter is part of the scene, with Blackberries at the ready, but the ongoing conversations into cell phones are conducted in hushed tones.
On shelves, I saw several bottles I didn’t recognize. All I could think about was the Jimi Cocktail, which our bartender was preparing in front of us.
History and Prep: Jimi Cocktail:
The true history is muddy at best. It is an amalgamation of the famous Mojito Cocktail containing mint, white rum, ice, simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice. The Jimi Cocktail’s name is derived from the Hendrick’s Gin and the Jimi as in Jimi Hendrix, guitar legend and Woodstock protagonist. And with the 40th anniversary of Woodstock having just passed the cocktail is now called the “Jimi.”
The ingredients for a Jimi Cocktail are very similar to a Mojito with a psychedelic twist. That is the Hendrick’s Gin. It has properties that are known to be mystical like its namesake and contains the essence of rose petals, cucumber oil, botanicals such as juniper and the ever-present, brooding alcohol at nearly 100 proof.
Our bartender muddled chunks of seedless cucumbers in a pint glass creating almost a pulp as he released the cucumber essence. Then, he added freshly squeezed lime juice and muddled a bit more. A splash of simple syrup, more muddling, then 3-4 generous shots of Hendrick’s Gin. He added some cracked ice, shook the cocktail and strained into a pre-chilled martini glass. His garnish was a perfect cucumber slice- and voila, the Jimi Cocktail!
I sipped slowly, tasting fresh, cooling cucumbers and the almost watery quality of the Hendrick’s Gin. It went down very easily, too easily, in fact, on a hot night. The slice of cucumber, floating in the off clear liquid had the element of a Japanese Ofuro Mineral Bath potion. I slipped away into contentment and started hearing the strains of Jimi Hendrix in my mind - Purple haze all in my brain. Lately things just don’t seem the same – a slow throbbing, and then the attack! The room spins, the hipsters pack up their iPhones and Blackberries and I wander out into the night.
I offer the “Jimi” Cocktail-Recipe.
1. Muddle with a well worn wooden muddler, a few chunks of an English “seedless” cucumber in a pint sized mixing glass
2. Add about 3-4 shots of Hendrick’s Gin, continue muddling the cucumber
3. Add a splash of “simple syrup”
4. Add some fresh squeezed lime juice
5. Fill mixing glass w/ cracked ice, shake gently
6. Strain and serve in a Martini Glass with slices of cucumber for garnish
Sip carefully and order another immediately, followed (in my case) by another. Start hearing guitar riffs from Jimi Hendrix in your head…..(queue the guitar!! MAXIMUM VOLUME!)
Click here –à Jimi Hendrix riffs
Wild River Review contributing editor, Warren Bobrow grew up on a farm in Morristown, NJ. A graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Film, he concentrated on visual thinking at The Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT. He worked for many years in the corporate world.
His column, Wild Snack, appears every Wednesday on WRR@Large. His soon to be published Blog; Wild Nibble is coming soon in October. In addition to Wild River Review, Warren writes for NJMYWay.com and SLOWFOODNNJ.org. He has upcoming work in Edible Jersey Magazine on the topic of Biodynamic Wine and a piece in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. Ed.,
Follow his moving about and drinkin’ ’round on Twitter @ jockeyhollow.
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