Thank you, Zane Lamprey

Now, I've never met Zane Lamprey, Pleepleus, or Steve McKenna, but as anyone who has watched Three Sheets or Drinking Made Easy, I feel as though I know these fine fellows (and primate). They've done things in bars most of wish to do, and Steve has drunk more than I think I can ever dream of consuming in my lifetime. And being able to sabre a champagne bottle? That's just badass.

Whenever we travel to a new city, we do our research - we yelp, we google, we go old fashioned and ask our friends. We also consult the masters of the local bar - and we Lamprey it.

For my 30th birthday, D decided to take me away for a weekend. We've been meaning to visit Montreal for some time, and coincidentally their annual lights festival fell around my birthday. So, we booked a hotel, I updated my passport, and we took a scenic 5ish hour drive from NJ to Montreal.

For a moment when we approached the Canadian border, I was pretty sure the border patrol guy thought we were smuggling something and was going to ask us to open our trunk, but we were let through without issue. As soon as I pulled through, I went through the wrong lane in got stuck, had to turn the car around, backtrack toward the border stations, and find my way out into Canada. Why I wasn't instantly surrounded by 10 Dudley Do-Rights is beyond me.

So, Montreal. It's cold, and it's constantly snowing, yet everyone is walking and driving with not a single apparent concern regarding the frozen precipitation falling from the ground (take note America!). I won't go into a full summary of our time there, because you're not my family and you're not being held hostage by a photo slideshow set to cheesy music at some holiday gathering, but suffice to say that it was a wonderfully nice time and I can't wait to go back.

What I do want to tell you all about, is La Distillerie ( La Distillerie is a true bar - no food to be had, plenty of drinks to be drunk. If it were in NYC, they would tell you that the bartenders are mixologists and the drinks would come in ridiculously fancy, yet small glasses, and they'd cost $30. But lo, this is Montreal. The happy hour special is a large giant mason jar:

They do not play around. They measure, shake, and serve out of mostly mason jars. And these are not your normal cocktail. These are some of the best drinks I have ever tasted.

So, our intent the day we visited La Distillerie was to stop in and have A cocktail. One. Then we'd head back to our hotel to relax for a bit (we had been out and about all day in the cold), and then get ready for a romantic birthday dinner.

Here's what actually happened. I got completely McKenna'd. When the place opened, there was already a line, but D and I were the only 2 people who sat at the bar vs tables. We ordered 2 drinks (small, not the whopper size above), and started chatting with the bartenders (as we are apt to do). While chatting with one, the other started mixing a cocktail, which she poured into a martini glass and set in front of us. The recipe had been in her head for a while and she wanted to try it out. Free booze? Yes please!

This should have been our first sign that our well intentioned plan was well, completely boned.

After our first round, we put round 2 in the hands of the bartenders, telling them what we liked (me - gin, sour/tart, not too sweet; D - tequila, spicey) and got some even more amazing drinks.

Yes, those are hot peppers. Yes, D ate one - only because the bartender joined in. Yes, they were very hot.

I lied, there is food - yummy yummy goldfish. That's a gin mojito. Fuck off, rum, you're not needed here.

Somewhere between round 2 and 3, we did shots with the bartenders. One of them wrote down a recipe for me and a list of other good area bars. We bought t-shirts. Eventually we realized we had to leave, and said a fond "see you next time" and stumbled out into the cold.

Somehow, we managed to walk back to our hotel. While D pushed back out dinner reservations, I found a second wind and sobered up in the shower.

Dinner was amazing, but I still think our time at La Distillerie was the best part of our visit to Montreal. And for that, I thank Zane, Steve, and Pleepleus.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 18, 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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