[SPIRIT BLAST is looking at poems through a bartender’s eye. —Ed]

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What’s this? Surprise by an ingredient you thought you mastered—or thought exhausted. The effect of vodka in a Vesper, for example; pushing a fine quinquina forward—I mean, pushing Tempus Fugit’s L’Aéro d’Or forward—discovering that Lillet is just a ‘kind of life’—hm. The quinquina a pair of hands. And vodka the tine, the ‘bridge,’ making cinchona boozy. Will I go too far with prep?

I admire “won’t you celebrate with me” this way. None of its words impact the palate as flavour. It is a vodka poem.

What’s the moment where I swap quinquina for Lillet, though—I’m at the bar-top—the ticket’s come in—I see it’s Shane’s table, and Shane is adorable with shining eyes. Why’s he sitting at a table? I won’t give him Lillet, considering its mildness. (He’ll never notice my love.) For Shane’s Vesper I would choose Clifton’s ‘i had no model’ just as she does, a strong declarative on the tongue to abut the kind question given me: ‘May I have a Vesper’? And I’m only thinking about the L’Aéro d’Or, never about the Tito’s or the Ice Glen, or even the gin in its superior volume; the poem goes on, though I lick all the quinquina with my eyes; the citrine-gold colour; the art deco label; (the poem is that half-part vodka, going on without me).

And of a sudden I’m peeling the orange because I prefer that oil. A server is taking it away. It is the well of ABV in the vodka that devastates as the final three lines in Clifton do, what makes Shane wince lightly at his table, me watching, sure it’s the quinquina.  A poem and a cocktail of the quiet spike, though substrate and lustre make claims.