2 Nights in Palermo: Where to Wander, Drink, and Dine

This is a tale of two cities, one in the light and one at dark. The Capital of Sicily strikes as a larger, more complex metropolis than what it embodies, an ancient city that has seen the perils and progress of society.

Graffiti plastered over walls like propaganda. Twisting, trash-filled backstreets that open onto crowded piazzas. Colorful markets with buzzing flies and the aroma of fried Arancini and thick cuts of Pizza. Palermo is a riot. Palermo is a clash, one side spilling onto the other. A mix between Rome, Los Angeles, and Casablanca, the city is even more. Palermo is a furious medley of class, culture, food and aesthetic.

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A cheap flight from Paris, my girlfriend and I arrive after two hours of smooth travel over an azure Mediterranean.  The Airport, small and clean, is located about 45 minutes from the city center of Palermo and gives you three options on how to get there:

  1. Rent a car
  2. Take a Bus (Prestia e Comande)
  3. Share a Taxi

The air is thick, yet arid. After a moment of confusion, we stumble onto the shared taxi line where a man is yelling at the taxi driver to let him board an already full van.  The driver departs without him. He yells something and slaps the trunk in frustration.

Here we have a big city Sicilian. A severe red tan and curly black hair, this portly man anxiously watches incoming traffic.

The next taxi arrives 10 minutes later. The man motions to the driver that my gf and I are with him in a friendly and ‘Tutto benne’ manner. We nod our appreciation and hop on board. The three of us are in the back and two others plop into the van. He yells over them to tell the driver to go. He’s not pushy or angry but welcoming. In fact, he has a huge smile and is almost joking as he directs the driver to get on the highway.

He works in Paris, but his French is questionable at best, and he speaks zero English.

The green, palm-tree covered countryside sweeps passed us, he points at a few landmarks and vigourously yells when something is lost in translation. Mafia! Mountain! Motorcycles! Through the windows, we watch, as the van is engulfed by urban life. Apartment buildings stretch down boulevards like sunny CA, white fountains, and two large Teatros.  The man tells us of a bar called Champagneria and bids us a farewell and safe journey.

The First Night: Bisso Bistrot & Bonter

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That evening, after a small introduction, our host directs us to Bisso Bistrot, a jazzy, contemporary take on Sicilian food.

Sicily is famous for its street food, which while tasty, is a reduction of its complexity. The cuisine departs from traditional Italian food in several ways: its Arab influence (Eggplant, Saffron, Mint, Rice, Apricots, etc.), and the bounty of Seafood (Cuttlefish, Tuna, Mussels, Squid, even Sea Snails). I once saw Cous Cous with Fish!

Bisso Bistrot is packed, full of Palermo Street Style (something I will talk about later). We take a glass of wine and drink outside.

Let go of the plane flight, I think. I take another glass of wine–it’s only 2 Euros. 

We set it off by ordering two starters, and a main dish. A Calamari Milanese dressed in parsley, capers, and caciocavallo; Roasted Octopus Salad with greens tossed in oil,  and lemon; and a Pici (Pasta) with Mint, Aubergine, Tuna, and Saffron. It was world class. It was 7 Euros. I am in f***in heaven.

Elegant but stripped down, the industrial walls, and minimal furniture filled with well-dressed urbanites yammering about philosophy over wine, and I enjoyed every second.

Bonter

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For some reason, I’d forgotten the Italians do cocktails so well. To me, the Negroni is arguably the greatest drink of all time.

Bonter Bar, however, showed me a thing or two about a good G&T.  If you know me, you know my thoughts on the Gin-Tonic; it’s a basic-ass drink somehow elevated to a cult-like Martini status.

The bartender prefaced this Gin-Tonic with an introduction to their ‘special’ tonic water…oooooohh. Then, he brought over two dark, mysterious bottles, the Gin de Professor-Madame et Monsieur (Italian Gin!!!!). He asked, ‘do you prefer a subtle gin or an aromatic gin?’ Pause. OK, at this point, I’m starting to buy the hype. Unpause. Then, the guy was like, ‘ here’s this custom made platter thingy that’s only for this drink. Oh yeah, and don’t forget a slice of cucumber and juniper berries. JUNIPER BERRIES?!?

The nerve!! I was rattled by this titan of a drink that rested on the pine before me. I sniffed it like I worked for Le Guide Michelin. I paused. And finally, I took a sip.

Yeah, it exceptional, smoky, yet refreshing. I recommend the bar, however, for the ambiance. No one needs all of those dramatics! In the background, they had a folk band playing with a great harmonica soloist.  The crowd was lit. The bartender seemed offended when I asked if any of the owners had been to East Nashville. Right, people don’t like Americans because of him.

Visual Interlude

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The Second Night – 30 Mazzini Taverna & Frida

After sightseeing, we return to our flat. I read online about this place that serves really, really good pizza. That sounds like something I’m interested in, I thought. I ask my girlfriend and we agree, it’s something that we’re really, really interested in. As we leave the Airbnb, I see my host, and we start talking. I ask her about Champagneria, as I’d heard it was good from this cool ass guy in our shared taxi.

She says, ‘no, if you want a really good cocktail, you must go here–30 Mazzini.’ No need for arguing, so I say ‘Tutto Benne.’ She insists on making reservations for us, and she adds that she’s friends with the owner.

So, we head out. Down the boulevard, we pass the two Teatros and enter a…posh neighborhood.

30 Mazzini Taverna

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The bar is elegant and has that style composed mostly of dark tones, except for ridiculous neon lights behind the bar. We see the hostess and she directs us to a table out front.

Sitting outside feels bizarre. It is a world apart in only a few avenues of difference. The grit and raw beauty that up to this point had defined my time in Palermo have been manipulated into something resembling a ‘Europe proper.’

It’s not a bad thing. There is still beauty, but it is of a different, manicured kind.

I enjoy a Gin Fizz (pictured) and later, I take a Negroni.

Out of a car pops two men holding glow in the dark trinkets. They have dark, brown skin, and look as if they come from a foreign land. They pass and plead that we purchase the trinkets. I don’t carry cash, so I apologize and we let them on their way.

At a table next to us, a man has purchased one for his baby, who is there in the stroller at the moment. We gaze over. The man turns, makes eye contact with my girlfriend, and stands. He is a rather dapper middle-aged man, he paces over to our table and introduces himself in a broken language. I am the owner of this bar, he manages to say. A warmth flows from his smile as we tell him who our host is, and once again, we are back in Sicily.

Frida

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After our drinks, we are hungry, so we decide to try for Frida, even though it is past 10pm. No matter for Italy. When we arrive, there’s a 20-minute wait. The place is full and we stand about, waiting for our table.

The street style in Palermo is distinct, and Frida (named after Frida Kahlo) is a place for the stylish. Striped slacks with tucked, over-sized dress shirts, suspenders pulled up, and earrings curve through like moons. Tans, breezy cloth and oversized skirts, high heels and jewelry, it’s a cross between luxury and vintage, between beach and city.

When we’re seated, I order the spectacle above. A four cheese pizza with soppressata and mozzarella tucked into the crust. It’s the original stuffed crust. And it might be bold to say, but this pizza rivals the best in New York.


The Short List

  1. Bisso Bistrot – Via Maqueda, 172a, 90133 Palermo
  2. Bonter – Via Orologio, 43, 90133 Palermo
  3. Mazzini 30 –  Via Mazzini 30, 90139 Palermo
  4. Frida Pizzeria – Piazza Sant’Onofrio, 37/38, 90134 Palermo

Bise,

Alexander

 

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5.26 The Blue Notes: Champion’s League Final

May 26th, 2018

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The Setting: 30 minutes before the 2018 Champion’s League final, Real Madrid vs. Liverpool with a growing fervor for the upcoming World Cup.

Two friends have invited us to a local’s bar in Denfert Rochereau, a small, cool, but not quite a chic hub, which separates inner and outer South Paris. The bar is one of those you go to get decent priced drinks, and although they don’t have a good Gin Fizz, and aren’t highly rated on La Fourchette or even Google, the mojitos are average and thus satisfying.

In the air, an essence wafts that all French flock to on a sunny evening. The bar is nothing special, or distinct, but lifts you into a good mood, and leaves you buzzing for hours.

From Porte D’Orleans, a messy pocket of Paris where nothing is cute, nothing is fancy, nothing shines except the occasional clean bus window.  We speed-walk north on Avenue General Leclerc to get there. Brick, mortar, and stone bâtiments are painted in vermilion colors from the sun’s departure, it’s 9pm.

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Subway map confusing AF, but you will notice Porte D’Orleans circled at the bottom.
Denfert Rochereau is where we are headed.

Porte D’OrleansOne of the many bus terminals of Paris, signified by its name ‘Porte,’ meaning door.  Like any bus terminal, it’s not a place you choose to spend time. Unfortunately, we live on the opposite side, and to enter Paris, you must use a door.


Underneath a red-tiled roof rests a flower-filled window sill, and above spreads an indigo sky. The ground level hosts a bio (organic) grocer, a brasserie,  a small magasin for chachka. As we pass Alesia and close on Denfert Rochereau, clothing retailers, and perks of France become more apparent. Boulangeries with sprawling displays of brioches, baguettes, and biscuits.

A man spits a fat loogie on the street. Disgusting;

“C’est dégoûtant!” my gf Cece yells at him.

He is a hulking man. The sleeves of his brown hoodie look like cigar leaves, stuffed to the brim with tobacco. I haven’t been to the gym in months. ‘Attention!’ I yell. We accelerate and cross the street at the next intersection.

Almost hit by a scooter, ‘putain,’ the rider curses at me as he whizzes; ‘pardon,’ I yell back. So far, it’s been a fantastic night.

Disoriented, lost, moving to a new country has reintroduced me to these old friends of mine.

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A brief existential interlude:

  1. What am I doing here?  2. Why am I so opinionated? 3. Who the f*** am I anyway?

I ask myself these questions every day. We all do, I’m sure.

  • Irrefutably, I moved to Paris for my girlfriend. Though we might dispute if it was the best move, after three years in a long distance relationship, a relationship where nothing is certain, especially not the ‘where,’ I jumped on the quickest route: a year-long Visa and a one-way on Norwegian Air to CDG.
  • I’m opinionated because currently, I’m adrift.  Those who know me see a serene person on the outside. But I brood! I’m a brooder, not a bruiser! And my opinions form from this ego, they funnel from a place that seethes with these emotions and wishes to express them, but in futility (and maybe fear?) I pander, and joke, and supplace my truths with sarcasm.
    • Note: Alexander, you will work on this throughout the year. 
  • Once I was told that everyone needs family, needs community. This was in response to the feeling I was suffering from the distance with my own. That I was failing because I felt distance from my own. I was failing to keep in touch with them. But family helps form identity, they said. Family grounds oneself. The cliche goes, you don’t choose your family. But family chooses to change while you’re away, and act like things are the same when you return, family makes mistakes, and you must forgive family or else larger problems will follow you along your travels. Who can you forgive, if not family? Choosing to create new ‘families’ is a decision made out of love, not of rejection of your origins.

I ask myself these questions every day. We all do, I’m sure.


In Paris, warm weather drives people to the streets like the first week of Pokemon Go. Except, instead of breaking into private property or stumbling upon dead bodies in the river, Parisiens long for a streetside table, and a straw chair.

Along with an Aperol Spritz, a packet of cigarettes, their ego, and maybe some olive tapenade, they sit, watch and talk, inhaling and exhaling smoke in their OH SO dignified way with three cigarette-free fingers waving and controlling the conversation like a Maestro on his podium.

We pass an Indiana Café, a Mexican-American French bar chain, and head to a different bar chain–Café Oz.


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Cafe Oz — Denfert Rochereau

The Land Down Under now cares about Soccer, Neopolitan Pizza and has ‘Surf Bars.’

This installment of the Australian bar chain is top. And by top, I mean the best of its kind.  A massive outdoor beer garden supplemented by cheap Fosters and decent pizza makes it the fucking JAM for Futbol matches. Plus, when the sun’s gone down, the dj turns up, and the crowd gets wild. It’s top-40. It’s Calvin Harris. It’s LMFAO. It’s more Belle Eclasse (Beautiful Trash) from Australia.

Setting: the Champion’s League final, Madrid vs. Liverpool.

We’ve made it. The place is elbow to elbow. Squeezing past a viewing area indoors, we find our friends at a spacious beer garden out back called the Surf bar.

Small thought: the French must equate the two geographically large anglophone countries with terrible, cheap beer because that’s precisely what you find at these bar chains. Maybe they’re right?

We’ve joined two French guys, and one of my gf’s friends, a wonderful spirit, who seems to lack an unfunny bone in her body. I’ll call her Zara.

She once leaned over with her cigarette in hand and simply whispered ‘I met Cece partying, and we became friends.’ Like that’s the process. 1. You meet someone at a party 2. You become friends. Another time she told us of a guy who texted her at a late, late hour–presumably another friend from another party. Her response was, ‘just because I’m Brazilian, doesn’t mean there’s a time difference.’ Effectively shutting him down, and making a joke out of it. Her frizzy hair and huge smile takes up the as much room as her personality, and I’ve had many great moments watching her antics. C’est énorme meuf.

Her guy Max is a genuine Gosling, an extremely nice dude with puppy dog looks. I try with my French to get to know him, but the crowd is too loud, and often you can find out more about a person, just hanging around them. He’s surprised to find out that I like soccer. I’m surprised to find out that he lives in Versailles. Memories of the sparkling marble floors and twisting stairwells come to memory. But, apparently, people who live in Versailles don’t live in the actual castle.

Mo Salah, Liverpool’s star is injured and carried off the field. An injury that we will see affect his performance in the World Cup. So far, it’s been an even match, but this is a huge loss for Liverpool.

I turn to the scene; an eclectic crowd has gathered.

The first table to catch my eye has two elegantly aged women sitting with a bottle of Rosé on ice. One strikes me as beautifully out of place at this rowdy sport’s bar; dark lipstick, her hair is up; she wears a blue sundress, cigarette in hand, smoke envelops, and she’s shrouded from all excitement in the match.

The table next to them hosts a group of well-groomed 20-somethings with expensively cut white-T’s, designer sunglasses and recently trimmed hair, a girl with spaghetti string top joins them. She’s wearing striped bell bottoms that blossom in the way that is at once fashionable and ironic because it’s unfashionable.

Behind them, next to us has a table of guys that Cece calls racailles, or ‘the uneducated.’ This is a term that I will return to. Personally, I dislike the term and find it marginalizing and classist. I, however, have not had the experience of being catcalled by a large group of them, followed down dark alleys, and cornered for my wallet. These guys wear Lacoste joggers, jerseys, tanks and pull their hats low. They’re a bit louder than everyone, point at women, use improper grammar, pour pitchers and toast. The table has done nothing harmful to me, they seem to be having a good time, and still, these supplanted thoughts creep into my head.

Boom, Madrid scores right out of the half. It’s Karim Benzema, king of racailles, whose stunts curbed him from Les Bleus at this World Cup. Then, out of nowhere Liverpool equalizes. The Surf bar goes wild. Red jerseys are lifted into the air. It seems as if the bar is more than 50/50.

We order two pizzas, and I grab another drink. One of the guys from the table next to us ushers his crew to the bar. They use elbows. I patiently turn to the screen. The match is closely contested. Then, Gareth Bale is subbed in.

Out of my periphery, I notice a group of West Africans in Yellow uniforms. They look to be a part of some crew, not watching the game and instead huddled in a small circle, one yelling to the others. When I look back, the game is out of hand. The Welsh footballer has a monstrous 30 minutes, scoring two goals, and leading the heavily favored team to a win.

After the game, the lights turn low, and the DJ tries to shift the mood. I’m wearing Doc Marten’s, aka an impossible mood to shift. So we leave it at that and depart for home.

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Bise,

Alexander


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Paris Isn’t Much of a Jungle, But There’s Always Tiger

I’m telling you–it was another misty winter night in Paris, same as all the others. Accompanied by sneakers and patterned socks, flowing overcoats and black-brimmed hats with pluming feathers, we arrive. It’s never so cold in Paris to not dress with elegance; life is never so challenging to not act with the same sentiment. Tip the bouncer. Hold the door for Mlle. Remove your garments. Fold them over your arm.  Send a signal from the entrance to the bartender. Here, this is the way to do things, but maybe, and finally, that’s changing.

IMG_4251Location: Saint Germain des-Pris, 6th arr.

The atmosphere on Rue de Princesse, a small stone road in St. Sulpice, is enchanting. People spill into the street, chatting, buzzing, percolating with energy. (Later, I found out this street is considered touristy, but personally, I believe that any street with greater traction than locals is considered touristy by French definition.)

In blue cursive, a neon sign illuminates the word ‘Tiger’. The banker looks excited. She turns to me with big eyes. ‘It reminds me of New York,’ she says. But I’m not as easily impressed. We push open the heavy wood door.

Tiger labels themselves ‘the first (or premiere) Gin bar in Paris,’ and WorldsBestBars.com labels them ‘not a normal cocktail bar.’ Phrases like these are tricky and distracting. They’re nothing but marketing tactics that convince you how you’re supposed to feel about a place before walking in.

Vibe: Trendy, Colorful, Rowdy, Modern

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When we walk in, it’s packed. Orbs of light dangle overhead, ferns, and potted plants line the walls and nooks. A DJ spins near the entrance, dance hall. We thread through the vicious crowd, bobbing to the cramped space near the bar.

A flamboyant man behind us becomes impatient as all six of us order.  He’s opulently chubby, salt and pepper hair, red-faced wearing a black turtleneck, and thick directorial glasses. ‘Attends!’ I yell. It diffuses the situation.

We head upstairs to the nook area.  People are laughing and chatting, a great vibe rings throughout. It’s loud, the good kind of loud. A loud where you can’t hear the people across the table, but encourages yelling, shouting.  One of the girls in our group climbs on the table and starts dancing. Two others stand on the booth to join her. I chat with the hotelier.  She speaks of how the France is in freefall, and how the young president might not be up for the task. Politics aren’t faux-pas yet in this country. It’s a nice change. The waiter asks if we’d like another drink. Sure, why not?

The price, of course.

Drinks: Gin-Based, Aromatic, Flavorful, Expensive

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In spite of appearances, Tiger takes Gin seriously. 6 types of Gin & Tonic, more than what would ever be necessary.  They use a soda stream method, spraying the tonic from afar, and cascading into the goblet. I had never seen such a technique until now. The bartenders are young, friendly, but they are showmen. The drink prices reflect a bar that takes itself ‘seriously,’ but a showman should never be taken seriously.

My girlfriend orders a gin-take on a bloody mary. It’s sumptuous, full, really an outstanding cocktail. I order a gin, mezcal, blood orange, honey drink. At 16 Euro, I have one-shot and it misfires. The drink is average at best, tart, smokey, but overall not what I had hoped. Two of the other Mlles order a gin-cranberry-lavender drink that doesn’t far surpass a good Capecodder.  The last two had one of the six Gin-tonics.

I’d say I loved the place if it wasn’t for the price, but the bar was packed, so I guess…they can get away with it.

Con Amor,

Alexander Cohiba

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A blurry pic of me trying to look French.

ig: @tigerparis_


Suit The Occasion:

Scotch
Scotch & Soda – $undefined
Chevignon – 195 €

 

Everlane – $135

 


Drink Like the Bar Owner:

Sipsmith
Sipsmith Gin – $40
Drumshank
Drumshanbo Gunpowder – 32£

 

Bobbys-Gin
Bobby’s Gin – $46

 

 

Peru’s Celebrated Cocktail, the Pisco Sour

Lima, Peru–Pisco Sour, Pisco Shower! Sang the two French women. We were happy to be going out, finally. After long flights, an uncomfortable first night at our hostel and a long wait outside of a Mcdonald’s in a modest, Peruvian chill, our couch-surfing host arrived.

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Lima, Peru

Miguel Angel was a man of many languages, but few words. When he finally arrived we tossed our backpacks into the trunk, and hopped in his little Fiat, which swung around the roads of Lima, past the endless coastline at night with illuminated crosses off in the distance. Miguel struck us as awkward. A man of home improvement, he was planning on constructing his own bar, dj booth, and living room.

“You sure you’ve done the measurements?” I thought as I scanned the little room, which could barely hold the four of us.

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My hands ran across the smooth tiled floor. A clang struck our ears as he presented a bottle of Pisco, and four shooters. “What was this? Pisco?”

The national drink of Peru, a Liqueur distilled of Grapes, similar to a French Cognac, but colorless like Vodka.

“Salud!” The four of us took the shooters. Disgusted, the girls made faces, but I could handle it, I can handle it, I swear I can handle it, though I admit, Pisco burns. We exchanged stories about our pasts in three different languages, and I couldn’t help but feel a mixture of nausea and, what was it..displacement.

At the first bar, honestly more like someone’s kitchen than a bar, we tried the drink. “Pisco Sour!” The cocktail that puts Peru on the map, as mythical as the Andean condor, or ruins found in the overgrowth. The drink sat on a dark wooden table, fresh as a mojito, but dense from whipped egg white. Bitters like sprinkles on frosting. Like snow on a mountaintop.

After we consumed the drinks, we headed to a Salsa bar.

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Arequipa, Peru

Feet of fury, I believe that’s what they say when someone can’t stop dancing, and Miguel wouldn’t sit down. The man pulled at one of the women, and it was all fun and games–at first. Truthfully, I wanted another Pisco Sour, so my attention was diverted. I walked to the bar. Tried to order in Spanish. Turned and looked with a smile. No smiles in return. Far too aggressively, our host was spinning and turning one of the women, the other was trying to interject. Sorry, I said to the bartender, and walked back towards them. One of the pitfalls of drinking. I inserted some American improvisational dance moves, (an advantage) and put on a mask like I was having a good time, but to be frank, none of us were.

Mr. Angel slept in a solitude on his mattress upon the floor, while the faucet dripped, and the three of us just sat there, pondering what to do next. Later in the trip I purchased and read Garcia Marquez’s book, which somehow left me feeling sympathetic for this man.

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This experience is to take nothing away from the drink, it’s exotic, desirable, succulent. With its lime accents added to the strong liqueur, and the fizz restraining the drinker from being to hasty, this drink deserves a crown: The ideal drink.

-1 ounce of Lime juice

-.5 ounce of Simple Syrup

-2 ounces of Pisco

-1 egg white

Vigorously shaken, completely emulsified, and strained into a chilled glass. And there we have it–The Pisco Sour.

Con Amor,

Mr. Cohiba

 

 

Our brief history with Rice Whiskey–Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos

Somewhere in Northern Laos–The first experience I had with the stuff, was hardly into our first day. And it wasn’t optional. Our boat rested at the rickety wooden docks of a small village with huts that dotted the lush greenery of the Mekong riverbank.

A welcome committee to us Westerners, as we were allured into a restaurant with a sign advertising free whiskey, and a free shot given to us at dinner, and pretty much a free shot anytime the waiter passed our table. But no, scratch that, my first experience was our guest house at the moment of our arrival. We were basically forced to take a shot every time someone signed papers. I looked at a table surrounded by a bunch of smiles that said ‘get me outta here,’ and fake nods when she offered us more shots. It seemed innocuous. But after each of the six of us finished off an entire bottle with our host, our stomachs were burning and centers of gravity shifted. We decided to grab dinner to quell the burn, but couldn’t escape it, and I had the feeling that this ride had only just begun.

View of the Mekong River

I’m joking, free alcohol is never too bad of a thing, maybe dangerous, but in this case I appreciated the gesture, I just didn’t want it to get sloppy when we had another day of boat travel ahead. Nevertheless, it was the friendliest welcome, from the most unfriendly whiskey I have ever tasted.

Views from the Pak Ou Caves, Laos

A chorus of roosters broke the spell on the dawn of the following day, and we were off. The last leg of our journey to the idyllic Luang Prabang. Emerald waters flowed smoothly, and the Dutch backpackers decided to take the lead, and get plastered while we dozed off in the back of the boat to the sound of riverwater and paddling oars.

The days in Luang Prabang were fruitful, serene and site-driven, often with a bottle of rice whiskey in hand.  Draped in orange cloaks, the monks paced about with no need for hurry.

Relax, enjoy the aroma of french bread at dawn, and the lights and sounds of the night market at dusk as the Mekong river slowly slides by.

Downtown Luang Prabang

On our first night we discovered that a 750 ml bottle of the drink sells as low as $3 American.  Some drink journalists say that in Vientiane, the nation’s capitol, and in other, less touristic cities it is the cheapest hard liquor in the world.

Dare I say that we over did it, one of my buddies passed out on the front steps of our guest house. We slapped him a couple of times, and luckily he rallied. Somehow, someway and after some amount of time we ended up at the local bowling alley, putting up strikes, and beating Dutch backpackers in our Californian past time–it was their King’s Day too, so the victory was twice as sweet (I’m kidding guys, I swear). Afterwards, we decided to search for something a bit more clandestine and potent, and I’ll stop there. One of the few times a drink got the best of us.

The upper caves

This Whiskey calls for a specific ratio of Whiskey Coke mix to make it palatable. As most versions of the well are poured at a 3:2 or 3:1.5 even, Lao Lao (its street name) deserves a generous pouring of Coke at a 4:1.5 ratio. Or, if you and your coterie feel the need to put some hair on your chest, go ahead, take it straight, and tell them Mr. Cohiba recommends it. 😉

Con Amor,

Alexander Gittleman