Monday, September 20, 2010

Lookie What I Found

On Saturday night I was sitting at the Hermes Bar, just minding my own business with a Hendricks and tonic. While surveying the numerous bottles behind the bar, my gaze was halted upon noticing this plain white bottle.

"Y'all still have Ojen?" I asked the bartender.

He turned his back to the bar as if to double check his mental inventory: "Yeah, we have a few bottles left... I think about four or five."

At that moment we had to leave for dinner elsewhere, but not before I made a silent promise to myself to return for a night cap.

Ojen is not something that I became familiar with until a few years back, when an elder Rex member poured me a glass from his private stock and gave me a brief history on the anise flavored liquor. ("This is what we drink at Mardi Gras," was the extent of the lesson.) Occasionally I would order an Ojen cocktail when dining with The Pope because he requires a Grand Marnier after every meal and I enjoy Ojen as a digestif.

However it was not until last summer, when the extinction of Ojen was imminent, did I take a strong interest in acquiring a bottle of my own. But unfortunately by then, it was too late.

On my trip to Spain and Portugal that summer, I was determined that I would find some long forgotten about stash of Ojen buried deep in the back of some tiny, non-descript liquor store in a small corner of Madrid. I even had hope that our tastings at Taylor Fladgate and Sandeman's in Oporto would prove beneficial in my search, as these port houses also exported sherry from the Jerez region. I must have stopped in every liquor store that we walked past in all of Iberia, but no bottle of Ojen was to be found.

Which is why I was surprised when I saw the trademark "White Label" perched upon the shelf at the Hermes Bar. When we did return after dinner and gave my order, the bartender disappeared for 10 minutes and then returned with a bucket of freshly shaved ice which was pure as the driven snow. He scooped the fluffy mass into a rocks glass, tilted the bottle for a hefty pour, added a single dash of bitters and a few drops of water, and gently shook the concoction to combine.

We can't all be Mardi Gras royalty, but we can still drink as if we were... at least for a little while longer.

4 comments:

Ryan Waldron said...

I've addressed the Ojen supply in New Orleans on SeersuckerAndSazeracs.com a couple of times. I sure am glad that I have a couple of bottles of Ojen tucked away neatly in my bar.

It is the topic of this article:

http://seersuckerandsazeracs.com/blog/2010/2/2/carnival-a-z-ojen.html

And here I mentioned that the Hermes Bar did in fact still have some:

http://seersuckerandsazeracs.com/blog/2010/1/6/carnival-a-z-antoines.html

Jill said...

I'm jealous you have some, Ryan. I love the stuff and every time I spy it when I'm in town, I order an Ojen frappe. I just hope I can keep doing so.

Ryan Waldron said...

Not Likely Jill. The only Ojen for sale anywhere may be at the Hermes Bar

MaryMagdalene said...

Does this remind me of "Hello Dere?" No Pernod, no Sambuca.. why does this make me think of him?