I know, you’re thinking this blog has already gone off the rails. First, he posts too much about cider. Now, he’s posting about boozing it up in a cocktail lounge. I hope you’ll bear with me and indulge for just a moment. Because that’s what we’re talking about here, indulgence.

Sometimes, it’s fun to be fancy. You put on some nice clothes, pay a bit more for your vices, and take the time to savor the experience. Cheshire cocktail lounge (the worst kept secret upstairs from Solera Wine Bar on South Avenue in the South Wedge) is a great place to lose yourself for a few hours. Cheshire hosted “Skirts, Suits and Jazz” on Thursday night, featuring great jazz tunes served up by a d.j. from WGMC 90.1 (a local member-supported jazz station), and I decided to pull on my skinny tie and doff my fedora and check it out.

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You almost feel like you’re entering a speakeasy when you go to Cheshire. You have to walk through Solera to get to the stairs that bring you up to the bar. I don’t feel bad about blowing off the sommeliers since they get a fair amount of my business, too. I climb the candlelit stairs and take my preferred seat at the bar, near the window at the far end. This gives me a perfect vantage point to watch the bartenders at work, but also scan the room for people watching amusement.

My poison preference is gin, and the bartenders do quite well with the material. You can order off menu, where some wonderful concoctions await you. I never say no to a Corpse Reviver No. 2, which involves gin, lemon juice, cointreau, absinthe, and an orange peel garnish. Every sip is amazing, and the flavors continue to morph as you get down to the bottom of the glass.

I was drinking alone tonight, not because I was sad, or couldn’t get a date. It was time to unwind, and the ambiance created by upbeat jazz paired with the excited conversations in the cozy confines of the upstairs bar was a great refresher for my mind. Rather than be distracted by the din, I was enveloped in it. I was able to enjoy each sip of my drink, and immediately dismiss all distractions. A good cocktail makes you smile.

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The bartenders offer constant entertainment. I am fascinated to watch them make each drink, using their full understanding of complex ingredients to layer and match wonderful flavors together. While it sounds like high talk, they will remake a cocktail or alter the ingredients until they get to the flavor you want. If you’re not sure what you want to drink tonight, trust your bartender to steer you towards the perfect match. Drinking a cocktail is not about choking down some noxious mix, it’s something to be enjoyed.

Check out Cheshire. They don’t have a Facebook page or a web site, but you should be able to figure it out.

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