The Redhead in Bed, 25 Degrees, Huntington Beach, California:
Ingredients: Ketel One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, sparkling wine.
I’ve yet to have a Redhead in Bed anywhere (honestly) but if I did it would be in Huntington Beach.
How to: Mix One Citroen vodka, strawberries, lemon juice, and sparkling wine for an added kick.
For those who like to drink their dessert, 25 Degrees offers four spiked shakes, mixing vanilla ice cream and your choice of Guinness, Maker’s Mark, Kraken Black Spiced Rum, or Kahlua among other sweet milkshake additions.
No, I’m not complaining about the fare I’m being served up here during lockdown… I’ll leave that to the Son and Heir.
It’s just that my dog-mad extended Irish and American family have been preparing for the reopening of restaurants by flagging up how their pets have been coping in lockdown.
Well, is the answer if Harry and Coco are anything to go by.
Few are as barking about their pooches as the Americans and the Japanese but where they lead (sorry) the way we have followed.
So here’s my five top of the pups (there’s more of this!).
New Bark, New Bark
The Wilson NYC, New York: And where I first encountered puppy pampering and pedicures down on the block on Rockville Center in Long Island when I first visited the Big Apple in my first summer after school.
And only in America as they say because puppies never got their nails painted in Glasgow!
I’m glad to say that the New Yorkers still treat their pets as Top Dogs.
And Halloween gives them the perfect chance to dress their pups up as Superman, Batman and other superheroes down on Battery Park.
This Chelsea favourite sees the maitre d’ (for dog) put your pet up at the high table and treat them to a distinct dog menu.
With fancy options like a 16-ounce grilled ribeye steak for $42, pan-roasted salmon for $28, and grilled chicken breast for $16.
And Sadie, you’re going to be the one that saves me.
Oasis are belting out their pub standard and I’m putting my own spin on it.
Of course, it’s not the actual Gallagher brothers themselves, but three hipsters who make up the house band, and one of them is on a banjo!
And it’s not a mega stadium, but just off the Liffey.
‘Cause after all, this is Temple Bar.’
And it’s Valentine’s Night so every tune is a rousing anthem.
While you and your loved one may have been gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes in your favourite Italian restaurant last week, and maybe even in a restaurant in Italy, I had taken my beloved to Dublin’s party hub
Obviously hoping to spend it in a sports bar… Celtic were playing that night.
Now before I have the massed regiments of womenkind taking up arms against me, we did do the romantic dinner bit.
With an eight-course tasting menu at the Morgan Hotel before we went out on the town.
I had arrived from the office with seconds to spare for our sitting, after working up to the wire.
All overheated from a lower walk from my work in Ballsbridge, three and a half kilometres away.
Herself? She was as fresh as a daisy.
The refurbished Morgan is sat plumb on Fleet Street, next to the Hard Rock Cafe, but is a haven from the throb of humanity that populates Temple Bar, day and night.
Like much of Temple Bar itself it’s multi-national and its staff are bursting with life.
All the world is here
I joke with Spaniard Sonya at reception when she tells me that my wife is upstairs and I ask if she is alone.
And then there’s our waitress Anastasia who smiles patiently as we dither over cocktails…
A special Valentine’s frothy concoction just whets our appetite for another with ‘Mother Gin’ Herself trying out a Ruby made from Ha’Penny Rhubarb Gin, apple, lime and lemon juice with a basil leaf.
All on medicinal grounds you understand… as she was quick to point out that it had said on the drinks menu.
Now, clearly we don’t go in for tasting menus at home… because somebody’s specified chores are dish-washing.
Catch of the day
But there is something particularly civilised about taking small portions, and your breath, between dishes.
The dishes at the Morgan restaurant, 10 Fleet Street, are beautifully created and almost too good to eat.
But eat we did, mackerel, salmon, duck, roast pork cheek, and king scallops and bream, and even the Baby Beet Salad they slipped in there when they didn’t think I was looking.
Glowing from our cocktails… and with some credit in the bank from giving Herself my uninterrupted attention for once at dinner time I went in search of my football match.
Surprisingly though, for all that Temple Bar is Party Central my attempts at finding a pub with the game on were proving fruitless.
The Temple Bar hostelry was jumping, but not with rowdy football supporters but good-natured music-lovers, cooing couples and young people just there for a good night out.
The best bar none
And while I half-expected the playlist to be all diddly-aye music, the band’s set was rockier.
They are an eclectic bunch in the Temple Bar tonight…
We share holiday reminisces with Amsterdammer Sandor until he either tires of my attempts at engaging with him on the Ajax game the previous night.
Or because he is diverted by a pair of brown eyes.
Now Temple Bar isn’t cheap and it is wise to pace you drinking with a pub crawl perhaps the best idea.
It also helps you clear your head.
Buskers, our next stop, strikes me as a little too modern for our lining… and what do you know, the singer is only playing Wonderwall.
Hat’s not fair
The Oliver St John Gogarty is perhaps the best-known pub in Temple Bar and for research purposes we end our night there…
Probably because to go on would have meant having to sell a vital organ to afford another drink.
It’s busy, yes, and loud, ditto.
But the Temple Bar revellers are mostly good-natured, although if a fatter ‘Phil Mitchell’ tries to meet your vacant gaze by the side of the stage then it might be best to find another place to stand.
That, or be prepared for a delicate spot of diplomacy to get your hat back.
Perhaps feeling guilty at the prices of their drinks they did hand out little bowls of chips and a sausage roll.
Because eight courses back in the Morgan was never going to be enough.
A sweltering hot summer in Boston after Aberdeen University, three jobs, and a thirst on me like a blindfolded man in the desert.
And a party of office workers unwinding in Quincy Market with a jug of Strawberry Daiquiri.
I was in… and from that moment the slushy, ruby-red rum cocktail has always ben my go-to.
It doesn’t have to be a cruise ship although here I am again…
I’ll bring you more Jocktails from around the world as I go but here’s the recipe.
And you might be surprised to hear that I’m the one who makes them around Casa Bandana while the Scary One is the one who devours them.
5 cracked ice cubes
1 measure of white rum
A half measure of strawberry liqueur.
A quarter measure of lime cordial
Garnish with a strawberry.
Jocktail tip: Stick some strawberries in the blender too for extra fruitiness.
Method: put the rum, strawbs and lime liqueur into the blender for 30 seconds. Pour into a margarita glass with the cracked ice in it and decorate with a slice of strawberry. Oh, go on, stick in a cocktail brolly and stick with a couple of maraschino cherries on it.