Summer, busy, travel, fun, getting older

June 30, 2015

Here's where I went Friday -- the Patterson House.

Here’s where I went Friday — the Patterson House.

Have you MISSED me?

I’ve been out of pocket — in fact, out of town, in Nashville, celebrating my birthday with Child B, Son-in-law 1, and Amazing Grandchildren 1 and 3. Now I’m home for a week before hitting the road again next week, and then there’ll be a fair amount of here-and-gone for the remainder of the summer.

But the Nashville trip was particularly pleasant because it involved celebrating my birthday — my 60th birthday — and hearing some great music. And because it involved visiting a bar I’ve wanted to go to ever since it opened six years ago.

The Patterson House, which is in a very trendy part of Nashville that has nowhere near enough parking, is an artisan cocktail bar. One doesn’t really plan on eating there, though one can get munchies (they have some pretty phenomenal pork rinds, and their tater tots weren’t half bad, but they aren’t the kind of appetizers from which you can make dinner). But it doesn’t matter, because — the cocktails.

Oh, my. The cocktails. Child B had, on my recommendation, a variation on a Pimm’s cup. Not as cucumbery as the original, but good. Son-in-law 1 had…something. I disremember what.

Bacon Old Fashioned. A work of art.

Bacon Old Fashioned. A work of art.

And I? I had a Bacon Old Fashioned. With Four Roses bourbon infused with Benton’s bacon. Served in a big, heavy highball glass with a single tennis-ball-sized globe of ice and a broad strip of orange peel. Flavored with bitters made in-house, added via eye-dropper.

And it was unGodly good. Sweet Baby Jesus good. I wanted another one, but I refrained, in part because the cocktail menu there is so absolutely marvelous that I’d love to drink my way through it if I weren’t convinced it’d lead to alcohol poisoning, and in part because that drink has a LOT of alcohol in it, and I was afraid if I had a second one I’d fall out the door on the way out.

The 20-something young man seated next to me at the bar was most impressed by the ability of the aging broad to enjoy an old-fashioned, which is not the most feminine of drinks. It’s a talent I picked up working in a male-dominated field, not to mention going to places they don’t know much about mixing drinks. If you stick with the best brown whiskey they’ve got and don’t put much in it besides an ice cube, you’re generally OK, and it cranks your respect level up a bit amongst the men, who expect you to drink something frou-frou.

The Patterson House is set up like a speakeasy; small vestibule, then heavy velvet curtains into the main room, which wraps around a huge U-shaped bar, with a few tables in alcoves along the walls. Place probably seats about 50, max, and you don’t get in unless there’s a place to sit; no herds gathered around the bar. We sat at the bar, which was fun because we could watch the extremely skilled bartenders putting together one cocktail after another. The tiniest touches of detail, like the medicine droppers for bitters, and the special shapes of ice — the spheres for highballs, and long squared rods of ice for Collins glasses — add a special note to each drink, not to mention the bartender’s unerring ability to reach out without looking to the shelves of hundreds of bottles and fetch back the specific one he wants.

You might want to think before you decide to take y’mama ‘n ’em. It’s hard for a group of more than four to get seated. But it’s worth the wait.



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