Sitting in a tavern on a weeknight, drinking. Alone. Drinking. Drinking alone. Is there any more timeless pursuit than imbibing all by your lonesome in a tavern? Okay, not totally alone: There is a pretty barmaid pouring the distillates -- and that doesn't hurt. But still, were it not for the flat screen insulting us with Wheel of Fortune, this could be 1066, and we could be a Norman getting ready for some ass-kicking. Could be 1492. It could be 1870, and we could be Emily Dickinson on a bender, mumbling incoherently at an Amherst, Massachusetts, tavern:
The Day she goes
Or Day she stays
Are equally supreme --
Existence has a stated width
Departed, or at Home --
But alas, it's 2004, which is no comfort, because things were supposed to be so much better by now. We were supposed to be ferrying to and from our destinations on moving sidewalks, eating nutrition pills and wandering into Orgasmatrons. Alas, here we are, drinking, alone.
Tavern 43 is in Clayton, right there on Forsyth, and it's a good place to drink. The bar is sturdy and wooden, as are the stools. It's not too smoky, and, luckily for all of us, the sound is turned down on Wheel, so we don't have to suffer through Pat and Vanna's insipid banter. Instead we can just sit and think without much interruption, occasionally stopping to jot something in the notebook, admire the deep red walls and take another sip of the Mojito Limón.
No, "tavern" and "mojito" don't typically appear in the same sentence. Tavern suggests beer, whiskey and perhaps a martini, neat. Then again, this "tavern" is in Clayton, so most of the drunks here at least appear to have their shit together, what with their suits and ties and well-polished shoes. They've been busy shilling for the Man and might need something a tad more fancy and impressive than a whiskey on the rocks.
Which is where the Mojito Limón comes in. The mojito is a Cuban rum-and-mint drink, a cousin of the mint julep. We've yet to find a perfect mojito in St. Louis -- Modesto's got a pretty good one -- and this one isn't perfect, nor does it pretend to be. There's no grinding of mint leaves, no pure rum, no messy sugar. Rather, bartender Sarah simply tosses Bacardi Limón -- rum with a twist of citrus -- into a shaker, adds some fresh-squeezed lime, and pours it into a sugar-rimmed martini glass. She serves it up, and the result is a smooth elixir that straddles that thin line between too sweet and too sour, resulting in just right. Which is a good place to be, just right, in a tavern. On the flat screen, Vanna's turning letters to a puzzle successfully guessed: "I FEEL LIKE A MILLION BUCKS." Sometimes the stars align, and the "stated width" of existence fits like a velvet glove.