How you can be a lush & a lightweight at the same time is beyond me, but so I am. Much as I guzzle the vino, I have to tread very carefully when it comes to spirits. One cocktail makes me loopy; 2 make me goopy. Like I have the muscle tone of hot fudge.

But having hit the bar at ChoLon on the very night that Brian Melton & co., including the lovely Ali Terrill, were debuting a few new concoctions—well, suffice it to say I have about 5 minutes to write this post before I sink into oblivion.

So let’s make it quick: the Still Life is brilliant.


I happened to overhear Mr. Melton wax pleased to Ms. Terrill about the name; he was picturing a painting, say by Meléndez, of a table laden with bowls of pears, plums & walnuts. Because that’s what the drink contains: it’s a blend of Old Overholt Rye, Asian pear purée, walnut oil, Japanese plum vinegar & egg whites, dusted with Saigon cinnamon. It goes down like an iced coffee drink, minus the coffee, minus the cream, minus the sugar.

I’d have had 2, but I’d already had 2—I started with the Royal Garden.

For all my years-long bitching about beet salads, I’ve got nothing against beets themselves; on the contrary, I heart them. I just don’t need to ever, ever, ever eat them over greens with goat cheese again. I’d far rather drink them; the earthy sweetness of their juice mixes beautifully with a well-crafted vodka (ask a Russian. Come to think of it that would be me. Well, half of me). Here, it’s also combined with ginger & lime for a surprisingly light, refreshing tipple complete with an adorable garnish of dried golden beet ring.

Rock on, ChoLon. You had me at Kaya toast, but you can have me whenever. Especially after 2 cocktails.

**Oh yeah, the mysterious UPDATE: I’ve got 2 *major* projects on my plate, one of which is the 34th Starz Denver Film Festival & the other of which is food-related. You’ll learn more about the latter in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, I may not be posting with my usual vigor for the next couple of months. Bear with me. Confession: I don’t really know what radio silence means.