Sunday, March 4, 2012

Le Mixeur Sharky Menu - Sidonie Rodman: Pretty Mouth And Green My Eyes

"I start thinking about--Christ, it's embarrassing--I start thinking about this goddam poem I sent her when we first started goin' around together. `Rose my color is, and white, Pretty mouth and green my eyes.' Christ, it's embarrassing--it used to remind me of her. She doesn't have green eyes--she has eyes like goddam sea shells, for Chrissake--but it reminded me anyway ... I don't know. What's the use of talking? I'm losing my mind. Hang up on me, why don't you? I mean it."

The gray-haired man cleared his throat and said, "I have no intention of hanging up on you, Arthur."

Le Mixeur Sharky: Nine Stories is Sunday, March 11, 5-10pm, at Inner Chapters Bookstore & Cafe, 419 Fairview Ave N, Seattle. Tickets are $25 (includes 3 cocktails) and should be pre-purchased here:


Sidonie Rodman is the only Sidonie I've ever met, but there are others out there. If you look the name up, you'll find all sorts of gifted artist-type ladies, such as Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, noted French author of Gigi and many other works, Sidonie Villere, accomplished painter and sculptor, Spanish rock group Sidonie, and Portland-based fine artist Sidonie Caron.

I'm a little jealous. Look up the name Ted and you'll probably just find serial killers, alcoholic dead senators, and washed up sitcom stars.

Sidonie belongs in that group of gifted artist-type ladies. There is definitely an artistry to her drinks, which in my experience lean towards the simple, elegant, and refined. She has an impeccable knack for taking familiar ingredients and formulas and twisting them slightly yet definitively, creating something new that feels, looks, and tastes like a timeless classic.

That's the arts and crafts portion of the bartending profession, as for the hospitality portion, Sidonie's a notably warm, engaging person with a vibrant personality both behind and away from the bar. She is brimming with passion for what she does, and can get really worked up when talking about it. It's inspiring to witness.

So naturally, being a twisted degenerate, I assigned Sidonie the story in the book that dwells on people who seem to be victims of their own passions. Adultery, heartache, betrayal abounds. But perhaps it's more the dispassion with which these characters have pursued their passions that has lead them astray. Sidonie would never do that.

When I first met Sidonie she was working at Mistral Kitchen. From there she moved on to The Four Seasons. I tried to go visit her there but there was no way security was letting a reprobate like me into a swank joint like that. She then had a stint at Golden Beetle, bounced around a bit, and now finds herself splitting time between Belltown's Rabbit Hole and The Sexton in Ballard.

Sidonie created just the sort of drink I imagined she would: a spiritous, brown, simple drink that makes sense as soon as its recipe is read, and does exactly what it should once it's in your hand. I don't normally geek out too much about the drinks themselves (which is another way of saying I don't have much of value to say about them), but I will say that this drink discovers some sort of very special relationship between Peychaud's bitters and grapefruit peel.


2 ounces rye (originally created with Rittenhouse 100 but works with Bulleit as well)
¾ ounce Cynar
¼ ounce maraschino liqueur
3 dashes Peychaud's bitters

Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass over ice.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with grapefruit twist.


Originally published in the New Yorker in 1951, Pretty Mouth And Green My Eyes is the only story in the collection that involves only adults. In a related note, it is possibly the most unrelentingly grim and dark story in the collection. In Salinger's writing, the adults are mostly hurt, twisted, and spiritually lost. It's only the children that convey any ray of humanity to the scenario.

The story is basically a phone conversation. A gray-haired man and a woman are in bed together late at night at the home of the man. The phone rings, he answers it, and it is a younger colleague from his work. They were both at a work party earlier in the night, along with the younger man's wife. Now he's home and he doesn't know where his wife is. It's the last straw he says, she's done this too many times before.

As the conversation continues it becomes harder to deny that the younger man's wife is the woman in bed with the gray-haired man. As this unsettling notion becomes evident, the dialogue between the two men - with the silent observations and subtle movements of the woman - becomes a striking and depressing deconstruction of the politics of masculinity, the calculated and measured way in which we communicate, and the common failure to find genuine compassion and empathy for the people in our lives.

Who else could use a drink? Sidonie has created one that captures that sense of longing and desire that has lead these three people astray, but that twists it into something beautiful and optimistic. No, I'm not kidding. And she's confirmed to be joining us on March 11, and she's bringing her bar tools. Rose my color is, and white, Pretty mouth and green my eyes. Soon, you'll know in your heart what this means.

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