I'm in the bar again. I don't normally drink after dinner but in
this hotel they think you're strange if you drink before dinner.
So at 10 P.M. I'm having a martini. More or less.
The first night I came in here I said to the young bartender:
"A martini, please."
He reached for a bottle of Martini & Rossi vermouth and
poured a glass full of it before I could scream WAIT A MINUTE!
"Would you put the gin in first, please?" I asked.
"Oh!" he said. "You want a gin martini."
He got the gin bottle and a shaker, and I said:
"Would you put some ice in the shaker, please? I like it cold."
"Right-o!" he said. He put an ice cube in the shaker, poured a
jigger of gin on it, added half a cup of vermouth, stirred once,
poured it out and handed it to me with a flourish. I paid him and
shuffled over to a table telling myself sternly:
"Don't be like all those American tourists who can't adapt to
another country's customs, just drink it."
Nobody could drink it.
The next time I came in it was dinner time, the bar was
empty and the bartender and I got chummy; he said Wasn't I
the writer? and told me his name was Bob. I said Did he mind if
this time we used my recipe instead of his and he said Right-o,
just tell him exactly what I wanted.
I said First could we start with four ice cubes in the shaker. He
thought I was crazy but he put three cubes in (he was short on
ice). He poured a jigger of gin in the shaker, and I said:
"Okay, now another jigger of gin."
He stared at me, shook his head in disbelief and added a
second jigger of gin.
"Okay, now one more," I said.
"MORE gin?" he said, and I said:
"Yes, and lower your voice."
He poured the third jigger, still shaking his head. He reached
for the vermouth bottle, and I said:
"I'll pour that."
I added a few drops of vermouth, stirred vigorously, let
him pour it out for me and told him it was perfect.
Now he makes it by himself but he never can bring himself
to add that third jigger of gin, he thinks he'll look up later and
see me sprawled face down on a bar table sodden drunk.