Wednesday , February 28 2024
Cocktails before and after the theater.

Vintage Cocktails: Buffalo and Beyond

Like No Reservations' Anthony Bourdain, who dines on exotic cuisines so you don't have to, sometimes I have to down a cocktail against my better judgment so that YOU don't have to. Well, not that you would necessarily drink an Aviation Cocktail in the Jet Blue Lounge of JFK International Airport, but just in the slight case that you would, I threw myself in front of that bullet for you.

Notice the paper cup. That's so you can take it on the plane with you — against airline policy, you see.

I learned to do this after a conversation with an airline steward. Steward? Is that the right word? Anyway, we brought Bloody Marys on board after a particularly grueling visit to Haiti. Can you blame us?

Steward: You can't bring those on board with you!

Me: The bartender told us we could.

Steward: Well, of course HE would say that.

The Aviation Cocktail: Hendrick's Gin, Maraschino Liqueur, fresh lemon juice. Dreadful. If only I had listened to American Airlines.

Speaking of Anthony Bourdain, we made a special trip to Schwabl's this past weekend. It was featured on Bourdain's No Reservations last January, and upon seeing the show, I experienced great pangs of guilt at never visiting it myself… considering it is three miles from the family home!

Schwabl's was founded in 1837 by Sebastian Schwabl, making it one of the oldest restaurant lines in the country. Originally on Broadway in Buffalo, New York, it moved to its current location in West Seneca, New York in 1946. Then time stood still. The waitresses wear vintage uniforms, and the roast beef is carved in the dining room. It is all retro but in a genuine way. No irony here.

Here are my dining companions, the lovely Jack and the lovelier Caroline.

At Schwabl's, justly famous for its roast beef on a kummelweck roll, Columbus Day falls between its two signature cocktails. The Ebeneezer Punch is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the Tom and Jerry — featured on the Bourdain segment — is served from Thanksgiving Eve to St. Patrick's Day. The latter is a hot rum and brandy concoction which I will return to soon.

Bad timing for a cocktail visit, but the food was wonderful, and the glass of Peter Brum Riesling was a nice consolation.


About Kate Shea Kennon

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