Last night I celebrated a friend’s last day at her job of 11 years, a job we worked at together during a time we laugh about now as “the salad days of publishing,” when magazine writers of note could be paid $4 a word, or much more. My friend mentioned she had written a freelance piece, and our other friend, also formerly in publishing, said, “What’d you earn? $50? $75?”
We went to Beauty & Essex on the Lower East Side, a neighborhood I’ve not been out in for many months. I studied the cocktail list for many minutes, maybe 20. Anyone who has ever ordered a drink with me knows it takes me 20 minutes to order a drink, 2 minutes to send it back because it’s not perfect, then about 12 minutes to drink the replacement drink. I ordered the Scofflaw—it’s a word I had to look up, which means “a person who flouts the law, especially by failing to comply with a law that is difficult to enforce effectively.” Some people might call me a Scofflaw, including some people who saw me drink an espresso shot from a Nespresso machine in a big corporate office building recently, and realizing only after I already had drunk shot that it cost $3.50, and you were supposed to pay using the honor system. Well, I scoffed that law. Also, every time I get a parking ticket, I try to contest it, even if it’s completely valid, because, I was only parked 4 inches into the crosswalk and I already pay a lot in city taxes anyway, so…
I had never even heard of a Scofflaw. This one was a customized version, using 12-year aged McCallan’s Scotch, Luxardo cherry liqueur (which I tasted at Freek’s Mill, to my great pleasure), some amaro (I am currently obsessed with amaro and just bought one made by a cute guy who makes amaro out of a spot in Bed Stuy), and green chartreuse, a naturally green French liqueur which, our server who looked like Parker Posey in 1989 and with braces and amazing hair, told me tastes a little like Campari. And I like Campari. I never order something off the specialty cocktail list because I am too rigid to take chances, and I like it the way I like it, which is to say, strong, boozy, sipping, not too sweet, few ingredients. But I went for it. It kind of tasted like what I imagine Fabuloso the cleaning solution might taste like if green chartreuse were stirred in, and it was spectacular.
And, after I sipped this Scofflaw and some delicious Sauv B and maybe one or three more sips of my friend’s sister’s sparkling rosé, well, suddenly, somehow, thanks to our millennial Parker-Posey-doppelganger server’s local answer to “what dive bar should we go to,” we ended up at a burlesque bar a block away. When is the last time you went to a burlesque show? Do yourself a favor and don’t wait so long next time. Because you, like me, might get treated to a campy emcee singing “Hey Big Spender” from Sweet Charity and name-checking your newly unemployed friend as “the blonde with the blowout in the back.” To the Scofflaw, to friendships that endure, and to the NYC bars that still serve Miller High Life.