There are two ways I feel like starting today's post:
Way #1: Hey, gang! Guess what? It's Royale Week at the blog! That means lots of tall tales, behind-the-bar secrets, and in-depth analysis of the cherished St. Louis public house that made me everything I am, bartender-wise, today. Oh, the places we'll go! The potions we'll get to know!
Way #2: Hey, guys. I am frigging beat right now. Yesterday I had a 12-hour drive from my college reunion in North Carolina to my parents' house in Fake Retirement Town, Florida (aka Cocoon-meets-The Truman Show-meets-Edward Scissorhands-Ville). I'm going on like three-and-a-half hours' sleep, and as much as I'd like to gin up my own enthusiasm for your reading pleasure (see: Way #1), it's like I'm too mentally stunted to even type good. I mean, well.
Luckily, what these two ways have in common is, the first installment of Royale Week is an easy-peasy, get-in-get-out, dos-ingredientos mixer that's curious and cute.
The Mayor has been on The Royale's cocktail menu since Day One -- which, best Royale proprietor Steve Smith and I can remember, was one day this week, six years ago; happy bday Royale! The Mayor is made by mixing arak and water; if you can, do the mixing in front of the drink's recipient (arak already in the glass, adding a slow, steady stream of water and stirring all the while) because water changes the (physical? chemical?) properties of arak, turning a clear liquid cloudy, white and opaque.
Some of you may know this as "the ouzo effect," and as I've mentioned before, arak is basically the Lebanese word for what the Greek call ouzo. There's a significant Lebanese cartel woven into the fabric of St. Louis politics. On The Royale's menu, this nebulous cadre of movers and shakers was quoted en masse for their oft-expressed sentiment re: arak. "It's bettah than ouzo!" I suppose such fervent loyalty towards a native land's liquor might be called the arak effect.
(Adapted from The Royale Food & Spirits)
2 ounces Arak Razzouk
About the same amount of water
Pour your arak into some sort of glass receptacle that offers good sight lines for all to see your ouzo-effect magic trick. (You'll see in the pics here that I used a Riedel stemless wineglass.) Slowly pour in the water with one hand while you swirl the glass (or stir a bar spoon in the glass) with the other. Amazement! Now add a big-ass ice cube.