My mom is a woman of simple, classic tastes: she’ll always order the Prime Rib, goes for the Vahlrona chocolate cake if it’s available and orders a Grey Goose and tonic whenever we’re out at dinner. Besides the fact that it’s down the street from my house and Mom’s a huge fan of their burger, Highland Kitchen was my first choice because of its menu conjured from classic, no-fuss flavors capitalizing on comfort and good taste—and that extends to the drink list, too.
DRINK 1 (BARTENDER’S CHOICE):
THE DORCHESTER ($7)
Mayra, one of my favorite servers at Highland Kitchen for ages, takes all of two seconds to come up with a perfect recommendation for mom: the Dorchester, a light, vodka/triple sec/pink lemonade/cucumber concoction that goes down dangerously smooth. Mom loves lemonade (as long as it’s real, which at Highland, it is) and her drink of choice is vodka, so Mayra’s right on the money.
DRINK 2 (BARTENDER’S MOM’S CHOICE):
BAILEY’S AND KAHLUA ON THE ROCKS ($7)
I tell Mayra that my next round has to mimic exactly what her mom would order, and she bursts out laughing: “NO. I CANNOT LET YOU DO THAT. IT IS AWFUL.” Amused and slightly terrified, I beg her to bring it over—and she hands over a milky tumbler filled with Bailey’s and Kahlua. Mikey puts his head in his hands. I gulp and pray a little bit.
DRINK 3 (DRINK THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR CHILDHOOD):
BEEFEATER AND TONIC ($7)
A drink that reminds me of my childhood has actually way less to do with Mom than it does the men in my family on both sides, who all drink Beefeater (either on the rocks or with tonic). It’s probably why it was my first drink order once I came of age. I go with the G&T and wonder what kind of chemical havoc the Bailey’s and Beefeater are duking out in my insides.
DRINK 4 (YOUR MOM’S CHOICE):
GREY GOOSE AND TONIC WITH “EXTRA, EXTRA LIMES” ($8)
My notes literally say “I AM DRINKING A PRODUCE SECTION,” because there are at least six lime wedges served up on a plate alongside my vodka tonic. I couldn’t get mom on the phone—she goes to bed early—so I ordered her usual. My friends and Mayra tease me for the plethora of limes, just as I’ve done with my mom a zillion times over.
DRINK 5 (YOUR CHOICE):
MAKER’S MANHATTTAN ON THE ROCKS ($8)
There’s vodka, Bailey’s, Kahlua, gin, a cucumber, like 12 limes and a shot of Fernet (Drink 4.5) sloshing about in my stomach at this point, so my usual’d fit right at home, right? Ugh. At this point, the karaoke guys set up and I somehow wind up belting out “Proud Mary” (Tina, not Creedence). Complete with choreography. I should be less surprised about this than I actually am.
150 HIGHLAND AVE.
Read some more 5 Drinks … if you dare.