By Diane Ako
We have many pets in the house, including a fighting fish named Kuzushi. Every morning, Olivia likes to feed Kusuzhi. Her hands are small and sometimes the fish pellets bounce out when I pour the allotment in. I have taken to putting it in a small container for her to then pour into the bowl.
One morning, the nearest container was a plastic martini glass that I had saved from a party. The glass is three inches tall, and it was used to serve shrimp appetizers. I saved it and took it home for Olivia to play with.
"It's a fish cocktail," I told her. "Give him his breakfast." Now Kuzushi is served from a fake-martini glass daily.
Recently, we had a fancy function at work. One of the star bartenders we partnered with was New York's famous Julie Reiner, owner of Clover Club, Lanikai, and Flatiron. I'm not a big drinker - only one glass of wine will do me - and I really don't know about cocktails. Apparently, she is a huge star on the mixology circuit.
I know this because one of the magazine writers came up to me mid-dinner to rave about Julie, Julie, Julie. "If Julie does more with your hotel, I want to know about it! She's huge! She's great!" he said excitedly.
I had to ask what makes a mixologist so special. Since starting at Halekulani, I've also learned about the King of Cocktails, Dale deGroff, and his cult following. They're both very nice people, and I greatly enjoyed interacting with them for work, so I can see why they're well-liked. I needed to get educated about their drink prowess.
This writer friend explained that excellent bartenders know flavor pairings and they make "each drink feel like a complete meal." (Um, I know people who treat each drink that way and it doesn't have to be a fancy cocktail.)
Considering that I am really feeding Kuzushi his complete meal out of a drink glass, I guess I can say that in the world of fish cocktails, I am a super mixologist!
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