It was the first warm evening after a long Boston winter. And the first date with a handsome man armored in a dark and perfectly tailored suit, his pocket square forming a crisp white crest on fine gray wool. The cab stopped at 60 State Street in Boston - 509 feet of gleaming steel and glass towering above the crooked streets that surrounded it. The elevator ascent was fast and silent, its doors opening onto the 38th floor. Before I could take in the beauty of the room with tables wrapped in thick white linen, topped with sparkling crystal and flowers fragrant with the promise of the coming spring, I saw this historic city laid at my feet. The view, punctuated by the clock face in the Custom House Tower, rivaled any in the city.
It seemed fitting that I would savor my first martini in the heart of Boston's financial district, surrounded by serious executives in unforgiving suits. Both men and women dressed in the uniform of their quarter. Aside from the blooms on the table, my pink silk dress seemed to be the only color in the room.
The cocktails arrived exactly as ordered: two bone dry Bombay Sapphire martinis, up, with three olives. They were perfect, so dry we knew the bartender merely whispered the word "vermouth" as he prepared the drinks. He called it a "see through" as we raised our glasses to each other.
The first sip was fire and ice, at once chilling and startlingly hot, leaving a trail of heat as I sipped. The effect was almost immediate, a slight lightening of mood, a suffusion of well-being, a dampening of the cares of the day. The beauty of this almost magical elixir resides in its simultaneous simplicity and power.
I learned early on that one must use this power for good and not evil. Caution - and restraint - must be exercised when deploying the martini's authority. One learns quickly that there is a fine line that separates a martini's angels from its devils.
There have been many martinis in my life since that fateful meeting. None, however, has quite captured the magic of the first.
Cheers to unzipping the weekend. Click here for the Perfect Martini recipe.