I'll Take My Usual...An Old Cuban Please
It was Labor Day weekend so I wasn’t expecting the bar to me particularly busy. Atlanta has a way of seeming inconspicuously quiet on big weekends. It’s like being left out of the popular kid’s party in high school. You know there is something going on, people have been talking about it for weeks, but you can’t figure out exactly where it’s happening. This was just my type of weekend. I was quite content with pulling up to my favorite bar and drinking a great cocktail, finding comfort in the uncertainty as to where the night might lead me, while simultaneously quite certain that there wouldn’t be any crowds involved.
The initial seat that I wanted was taken. That’s how I ended up sitting next to a Cuban guy while drinking an Old Cuban. It’s my standing order at Bar Margot at the Four Seasons. (The Old Cuban - this perfectly balanced cocktail that’s close to a mojito but with the reminder to drink champagne every chance you get.) I didn’t notice him and I wasn’t particularly intrigued. I wasn’t eavesdropping as he chatted with his friend in the next seat over. I sat at the bar with a notebook trying to describe his empty bowl of mussels as eloquently as I could.
He asked about the plate of strawberries that were gifted to me from my favorite bartender. I can’t even pretend to remember his question. Somehow that led to a conversation about cocktails and wine, all of which is still fuzzy to me. We dragged his friend into the conversation and then before I knew it, the three of us were bouncing to another bar and laughing wildly in the back of an Uber. One bar turned to another and I ended up having one of my favorite nights in Atlanta.
1½ oz. aged rum (I prefer Ron Zacapa 23)
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
6 mint leaves
2 oz champagne or sparkling wine
1. Pour all ingredients in a shaker except for the champagne.
2. Fill with ice.
3. Shake vigorously until ice breaks up and ingredients are perfectly chilled.
4. Double strain into a coupe glass.
5. Top with champagne.
6. Garnish with mint leaf.