Ask for Chris when you go to the Tin Lizzie, the LGBT dive bar that still has the gorgeous down-low feel of Laguna Beach/Garden Grove gay life in the 1970s. Chris is the brown-eyed handsome man behind the bar, skinny and tall, quick to a laugh, brisk with his drinks, friendly to newcomers, fatherly to the regulars, and brash.
Ask him what his specialty is, and he'll snap back “Everything.” Ask him to sling a Manhattan up, and he'll bust out a cocktail with the choreography between the bourbon, the ice, the bitters and the vermouth as seamlessly as the Temptations on The Ed Sullivan Show. And then ask him to wing it with rum, and he'll smile, retreat to the Tin Lizzie's ample booze supply and whip up something that looks like rum on the rocks. Hmm…
But then you sip: sweet, slightly spicy, light on the palate, like a heftier daiquiri sans the tartness, or an Old Fashioned but lighter and less sweet. You ask for the ingredients: Bacardi OakHeart, ginger ale, and bitters. That's it.
Tin Lizzie is still working class, so the modern-day cocktail renaissance has yet to hit the spot. The mind boggles at what Chris could do, if only given the proper tools and the environment. Let's start with some branding, Chris: when I asked you what would you call the drink, you coyly replied, “Whatever you want to call it!”
So let's call it the Chris: already awesome, with the potential to become spectacular.