Cocktails & Lent

I hope everyone survived any Mardi Gras adventures they may have partook in yesterday. I had a very enthralling day working both of my two jobs, so no fun celebrations for me.

On days when I have to work both jobs back-to-back, I like to celebrate my hard work by rewarding myself with ice cream. I mosey on over to Chick-Fil-A and get myself a cone (they have the best ice cream) and then eagerly scarf it down before I have to get back to work. Last night, I took a little extra time to savor my cone as I have decided to give up ice cream for Lent.

The Last Cone (please excuse my chipped post-Valentine's Day nails...)

All forms of frozen, sugar goodness will be withheld from my belly until Easter…40 days and 40 nights of woeful repentance. This includes, but is not limited to, ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, and perhaps most agonizing, my beloved frozen yogurt. I can feel myself starting to twitch already…

"I will not enter these doors until April 9th" (breath and repeat)

Unlike John, who enjoys giving up such indulgences as peas or oft-eaten liver, I try to give up something every year that actually feels like a sacrifice of sorts. Not because I am particularly religious, but simply because Lent doesn’t have the finality of, say, a New Year’s resolution thus making the time limit far more manageable.

Last year I gave up fried foods (surprisingly difficult – everything is fried now-a-days) and discovered that after my allotted time was up, it really wasn’t something I particularly craved any longer. I’m hoping for the same reaction with this whole ice cream bit – Menchie’s is starting to put a dent in my wallet.

Broke Swan

Be advised: For any of you extremists who decided to give up alcohol for Lent, well that’s just silly and you shouldn’t read any further. For everyone else, please continue…

Lately, I’ve noticed a resurgence of speakeasy-type bars in Knoxville and decided to investigate further by heading downtown to the Peter Kern Library – a speakeasy located inside The Oliver Hotel opened amid 1920’s prohibition secrecy. The Oliver, a landmark gone unnoticed by me for years, is located just outside of Market Square on Union Avenue.

Pass the lobby entrance you will find a large sliding door, formerly the hotel’s actual library (hence the name) hiding the bar from prying eyes. Upon entering, however, you are surrounded by dim lighting, the soft crooning of 20’s jazz, and a gas fireplace at the far wall beneath a mantel containing a plethora of old books and portraits. Behind the bar, several bartenders – decked in the finest – worked tirelessly creating amazing hand-crafted cocktails.

The cocktail menu, cleverly hidden amid old encyclopedias, contains three pages of hand crafted drinks all named after literary characters. The Jabberwocky, Mr. Darcy, & Holden Caulfield just to name a few. I had a hard enough time deciding what to get, and finally settled on the Windmill (from Don Quixote). A slurry of tequila & berry puree complimented with a jalapeno slice (yup), and a sugar/cayenne pepper rim. This drink was delightfully sweet, and hot, and refreshing all at the same time. I couldn’t get enough.

Alas, avoiding the Elliot Ness types comes at a price. All cocktails are $9. I, for one, do not find this unreasonable as many of the cocktails contain more than 4 ingredients (some even contain real egg whites – nice), and are all prepared with care by knowledgeable bartenders.

I would highly recommend The Peter Kern Library for a before or after dinner/movie/show cocktail – a great place to unwind, or get your night started, with a very original and relaxing atmosphere

Cheers and Happy Hump Day!

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6 thoughts on “Cocktails & Lent

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