Texas is unforgiving country. This giant slab of stone uses every resource it has to chase us off, deter us, or kill us. Fire ants scavenge beneath our feet. Scorpions hang overhead. Black widows and brown recluses hide in the domains of the dark. Moccasins swim in the roots of river-reaching trees, while rattlesnakes wait in the nooks of broken rocks. Then there is the paradox of floods and droughts, forest fires and hurricanes. The sun schemes to sear us into dust. The trees turn our bodies against us.
A man can lose his mind in this heat. The AC of my truck breathed its last icy breath long ago. I seek escape before delirium sets in. These are the months of madness, when those soft-spoken souls step out into traffic, when bums shout obscenities at no one. It is the perfect time for a visit to the Brooklynite.
I’m greeted by some sort of wild boar or pig guarding the entrance. Further inside, the scene develops into a decadent Alice in Wonderland trip gone badly in the best possible way: purple walls, red curtains, silver ceilings, and dangling, dim chandeliers. And while no libation is labeled “Drink Me,” that is what must be done. Rob Gourlay tends the bar. He moves and speaks in quick bursts and then is still. Perhaps seeing me covered in sweat, out of breath, and eyes a little wild, he offers: “The Six-Demon Bag.”
Jack Burton: Hey, what more can a guy ask for?
Egg Shen: Oh, a six-demon bag!
Jack Burton: Terrific, a six-demon bag. Sensational. What’s in it, Egg?
Egg Shen: Wind, fire, all that kind of thing!
– Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
The Six-Demon Bag
1/2 ounce pisco
1/2 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
Shake with ice and one blackberry, top off with champagne in a small wine glass. Garnish with a blackberry wrapped in a lemon rind.
The drink is refreshing and tart. If you don’t have Pisco, a Peruvian brandy, you can use another brandy. The Aperol, a Campari-like aperitif, might be hard to replace though. It is a nice respite from a spiteful sun.