From the moment the sizzle spread across my lips leaving behind the sweet saucy burn, I knew I had officially grown up. A grown up complete with the understanding of man’s furious draw to the slick juice that I had poured a hundred times, but till now never ‘understood.’
Perhaps that is just part of growing up, even if that growing up happens at age 43 and at the bar of the then hip new place in St. Louis. The bar at Olio was cut out of an old gas station garage and service center. The bartender, whose name is lost to memory, recommended Four Roses upon my request to sample what at the time was the resurgence of the now still exploding bourbon craze.
They say you’ll never have another time like your first time, but in fact I’ve had bourbon and whisky before, but usually mixed and heavily iced. This time I learned to enjoy the simple pleasure of what sophisticated gents meant when they ordered a drink “neat.” No ice, no mixer, just bourbon the way it was intended.
To say the experience was transcendent may be too much, but the first sip, the first burn – did do something to me. It made me appreciate an art, a liquid art, that I had never considered before. I’m grateful to that bartender from Olio, whomever he was, and wish that everyone has a “Four Roses” experience just once in their lives.