Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Day Off and Vodka with Bitter Lemon and Lime

After much cajoling (aka nagging) I convinced TBHITW to take the day off from work yesterday.

I told him the rest of the country was taking the day off and he should too.

Reluctantly, he agreed. He also agreed with my pleas that we should go to the beach for the day. A real day off. No lawn mowing, no filing, no laundry, just a relaxing day reading and swimming by the sea.

Uh, did I mention yesterday that the REST of the country took the day off too?

In addition to a crowded beach it also happened to be the hottest day of the century. OF THE CENTURY*

*I don't know if this is true, but it was HOT. Like 100 degrees HOT with no breeze, although there could have been a breeze but with so many people how would you know?

After about 3 hours on the very HOT and very CROWDED beach I began to sing my death knell. My death knell sounds something like this,

If I don't get a gin and tonic right now
I'm sure I'll die.
If I don't get a vodka and club soda with a lime right now
I'm sure I'll die.
Die, die, die.

It didn't take long before we packed up our meager beach supplies:

And headed to the nearest watering hole. 

Did I mention that I have third degree burns on the bottom of my feet from the HOT sand? Did I mention that I was wearing shoes when I got those burns?

Anyway, we dragged our scorched, sweaty bodies back to the car lugging our meager beach supplies behind us. The car was only parked 7 or 8 miles from the beach and across a causeway and down an alley but we prevailed. Sometime around mile four I began singing my death knell again. 

If I don't get a gin and tonic right now
I'm sure I'll die.
If I don't get a vodka and club soda with a lime right now
I'm sure I'll die.
Die, die, die.

After stowing our stuff we headed to the nearest bar we could find. Forget luxury. I was on the LAST verse of my death knell. 

Salvation, at last. 

Until we realized that the entire area was suffering from a black-out from an overloaded electrical grid due to the oppressive heat wave. No service. Anywhere. 

We dragged our dehydrated, sweaty, hot, suffering bodies back to the car and headed home. HOME! To central air! To vodka and club soda and tonic and water and shade. 

Forty minutes later I was in my perfectly cooled kitchen. Two glasses lined up on the counter. Vodka, chilled. A fresh bottle of Bitter Lemon at the ready. I reach into my freezer and discover that we have no ICE. NO ICE. Someone has neglected to fill every stinking ice cube tray in the freezer. 

TBHITW went back to work today. He may never take a day off again. 

Vodka and Bitter Lemon with Lime Wedges. (serves two)

2 large (16 ounce) glasses
4 ounces chilled vodka
1 quart bitter lemon tonic water
1 lime, cut into wedges

Pack both glasses with ice. 
Pour 2 ounces vodka into each glass.
Add 2 lime wedges to each glass.
Pour bitter lemon tonic water into each glass to the rim. 
Stir gently. 
Rest, relax, sip. Never leave home again. 

A Cook's Notes: this is an actual bar. It is called St. Mark's Place.

St. Mark's Place:

A seedy almost-landmark on St. Mark's Place between 1st and 2nd Avenues, the misleadingly named Holiday Bar (it's not exactly that inviting a spot on the inside) is renowned for spectacularly slow and/or poor service from its octagenarian bartender. He will happily pretend not to hear or see you and ignore or entirely snub you if he doesn't like the look of you, which is more often than not. Don't come here if you're really in need of a quick drink. There's a brief scene in the arguably flawed cinematic adaptation of Jim Carroll's "Basketball Diaries" shot here.


  1. You went to the beach without liquor? What kind of drinker ARE you?!

    My sister mentioned yesterday that she was "melting" in upstate. Even in the mountains, it was bad.

  2. We were by a small inland lake- hot, but tolerable!

  3. Kate, [sigh] I guess I'm just not that committed. I shall amend my ways in the future!

    Buffalo - the entire country is suffering - glad you had some respite!

  4. Is there such thing as an uncrowded beach in NJ?? haha

  5. Otin,

    I usually go to this sleepy little beach town called Belmar - not a lot of rentals, mostly locals. I think with the economy a lot more people are staying close to home and doing day trips. Lot's of license plates from PA and NY.. hopefully things will now have quieted down since the holiday has passed.

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