Monday, January 27, 2014

Into the Boroughs: Lost in Brooklyn -- A Memoir in Gin

Gin Blossom -- Clover Club
Clover Club

It never fails: send Vodka to Brooklyn, and she is bound to get lost in ten seconds or less.
What Is This Foreign Land?
Being that Ginger has recently moved to the oh-so-distant borough, we have been spending a tad more time in the place (read: Vodka has been here twice in six months).  A half hour after exiting the subway stop (a "five minute walk" from Ginger's apartment, unless you head in the COMPLETELY WRONG DIRECTION), Vodka stumbles into Ginger's new abode.

"Do you ever get lost here?!"

"Not really, but I only walk from the subway to my apartment and back," Ginger responds, which explains quite a bit about our mutual tendency to "hermit" ourselves.
We Like to Stay At Home to Keep an Eye on Our Liquor Cabinets
Vodka tasks Ginger with the job of leading us to the Clover Club, where we are going to consume Ted Allen's Best Thing I Ever Ate BEST I EVER DRANK cocktail, the gin blossom ("In 'not shocking' news, I think we've tasted almost every one of the items featured on the BEST I EVER DRANK episode.")
We Like to Drink Things
With the confidence of a bonafide Brooklyn resident, Ginger finds the place for us, and we make ourselves comfortable on two of the largest bar stools this side of the East River.  
A Large Throne for the Bar Queens
We then discover that the gin blossom is not on the brunch menu, at which point Vodka instructs Ginger, "Use some of your flirtation skills to get the bartender to make it for us."  Ginger nods her head knowingly, and then proceeds to "flirt," with nary a bat of her eyelashes, by asking, "Can you make us the gin blossom?"

Luckily, bartenders in Brooklyn don't seem to care much for elaborate brown-nosing, as this one accepts Ginger's "pass" with a shrugged "Sure." 
"And Now May We Have a Plate of Your Bar Snacks?"
In the fifteen minutes (but more on this later) that it takes for our blossoms to make an appearance, we decide on our menu items: the lamb burger with goat cheese and the French dip sandwich, both of which we plan on splitting.  We place our order, just as the first of our cocktails appears before us, and instantly, it looks like our type of drink.
In That It Has Alcohol In It
Not fruity, spicy, sour, or herby (all qualities we hate to varying degrees), the gin blossom borders just on this side of "crisp."  It is apparently composed of half gin, half vermouth, a splash of orange bitters, and apricot eau de vie (whatever that is).  
Presumably, It's One of These Things
The texture is rather syrupy, though it thankfully refrains from becoming sweet, and though it comes in the smallest glass we've ever seen, we each receive a large thimble-full of "seconds" in an accompanying bowl of ice chips.
We Like a Cocktail That Automatically Comes with a Refill
Overall, the drink reminds us of a slightly less successful version of the gin drinks we had at the MOMA bar and at Employees Only, and while we enjoy it, we don't love it enough to make a special trip to Cobble Hill just to down it again.  Particularly because we have now been on these stools for forty-five minutes, and we have yet to see a single scrap of food.
Look, Bartender -- We Like to Eat, Too
Now, when our brunch entrees do eventually arrive, they are admittedly quite delicious.  The burger is juicy and slathered in an abundant amount of goat cheese, the roast beef is tasty with just the right amount of horseradish spice, and the homemade chips are perfectly salty and crunchy.  
So Much Wonderful Cheesiness
Clover Club Calls Them Crisps = They Think They're British
Heading to France with Some Sandwich Dipping Sauce
Where's the Beef?
We virtually lick our platters clean as we each ask for a second gin blossom, and then, once again, we wait.  
These Glasses Aren't Going to Refill Themselves!
We wait a solid twenty minutes -- so long that the bartender (seemingly off his game after Ginger's attempts at "wooing" him) apologizes for the delay -- before our drinks are replenished (with, might we add a decidedly less generous portion of "seconds" in our iced thimbles.  Clearly, the bar-back thinks we have had enough).  
Excuse Us, This Was Twice as Full Last Time
Beginning to see a pattern in the Clover Club's serving times, we order the bread pudding for dessert as soon as we can.  And nevertheless, it is a full half hour before the caramel-encased pastry is placed in front of us.
Have We Not Made Abundantly Clear That We Are Excessively Impatient People?!
Once again, the bread pudding is excellent -- truly the best we have ever tasted.  And we both agree that we would order every single thing we have eaten and drank today again -- but we would just have to designate an entire day to doing so.
Maybe Even an Entire Weekend, What With Vodka's Penchant for Getting Lost
When we are finally ready to leave, Vodka asks Ginger where she thinks the bathroom is, only to find her examining herself in the behind-the-bar mirror.

"Hey, narcissist!  Where do you think the bathroom is?"

"I really need to get someone else to do my make-up."

"It has to be behind that red curtain.  Like in the Wizard of Oz."

"I mean, where did these dark circles come from?"

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is gin's greatest effect on us: the ability to carry on two completely different conversations at the same time.
For the Record, the Bathrooms Are NOT Behind This Curtain
Eventually, we stumble out of the bathrooms, finding them quite nice, as far as Brooklyn basement bathrooms go.  Ginger then practically hand-holds Vodka back to the subway station, lest she stumble off in the wrong direction and end up in Queens.  And somehow, Vodka finds it ten-times easier to navigate her way back to Manhattan than she did finding her way to Brooklyn.

Such newfound navigation skills, we suppose, are gin's other great gift.

Clover Club's Gin Blossom: 4 stars