(Wallyhood welcomes a new writer to our virtual pages, Cindy Yee)
When the kind folks at Wallyhood invited me to join their ranks and contribute a post here and there, I did a little soul searching to figure out exactly what I could offer. I’m no wiz when it comes to neighborhood politics. I don’t have an in with the local schools and parks. And I don’t know a dang thing about nature, gardening, beekeeping or the like.
Ah, but you know what I do have? A healthy liver, decent walking shoes and a house devoid of dependents. And so it was decided that for my first act, I would trek over to May (1612 N 45th St) and booze it up.
Why May? Well, if you’ve ever dined there or visited their downstairs lounge, you know they offer an amazing assortment of specialty drinks. So many drinks, in fact, that I had to call in reinforcements, as I’m what you real boozers like to call a “lightweight.” Our mission was clear. Order those drinks – as many as possible – and report back to you. It was a tough gig, but we did it all for you. (You’re welcome.)
We entered the gilded lounge to low lights and oddly soothing versions of well-known songs, including a husky-voiced rendition of Too Darn Hot. First things first, we ordered ourselves a drinking base – a delectable dish of Royal Eggplant with Prawns for me. Then it was down to business.
Pop, the bartender, said he’s been mixing drinks at May for four or five years, and that the people’s favorite is a concoction known as Garuda’s Perch, named after a mythical bird of prey. Pop described it as a “lemon drop with a Thai twist” – but given that I rarely sip on anything other than beer or a scotch and water, that didn’t mean much to me. Here’s what I do know: It was citrusy, yet extraordinarily mellow, with a surprising yet brilliant basil infusion.
I followed Garuda’s Perch with a Ginger Splendid-Tini. Although not normally a fan of ginger, I found myself loving this cocktail. I imagine it would be a perfect between-course cocktail to cleanse the palate.
Here’s what else we passed around the table:
- Cucumber Kazi: The hands-down favorite across our group. It was not only refreshing, but also beautifully presented, with a thinly sliced cucumber skin as garnish. One of my friends described it as a perfect summer drink, yet there we sat, singing its accolades during one of fall’s big downpours.
- Grana-Tini: Pleasant, fruity and sweet, though rather unremarkable, given the company it keeps.
- Lychee Cranberry Kazi: The menu described it as Sex and the City, in Bangkok. A friend was especially smitten with the liquor-soaked lychee garnish.
- Dragon’s Toe: A mix of bourbon and ginger, with inexplicable hints of grapefruit. Tart and tangy.
- Devil’s Rain: Infused with habanero spice, which evoked, alternatively, shocked laughter and sputtering coughs, depending on who held the glass.
- Plumtini: “Salty.” I asked my friends to describe this drink, and that’s all they would say. For your sake, I pressed them for more detail, and this is what they came up with: “It’s like drinking the ocean, with a little plum.” There were also analogies to various parts of a sailor’s anatomy, but they’re unfit to reproduce here.
Alas, that’s where we stopped, as the drinks each carried a non-trivial $8-$12 price tag. Pop noted that May features a DJ every Thursday, with food and drink specials during Happy Hour from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays are also pretty bustling, while Saturday is a great option for someone like me – closer to 30 now than I am to 20 – who’s ready to leave the frenetic pace behind and just sit down over drinks with good friends. I may even drag the ole beau back over there for a cosmopolitan yet distinctly Wallingford date night. I doubt he’ll resist.