Olga’s Nightcap


After the first week of our blog, you might think we would run out of things to write about. But actually, it’s surprising how much we’re not telling you.

Take yesterday for example. I am not telling you about our Pilates class in the morning at Alvin Ailey dance studios. I am not telling you about our visit to a farm in Clinton, NJ in the afternoon where we met a dog trainer. I’m not even telling you about the great concert we heard at Carnegie Hall last night.


I just want to tell you about the drink we had. Not the first drink we had after the concert with our musician friends. But the last drink we had.

Passing by the window, we agreed that Bar Basso looked inviting. We didn’t really want another drink, but we did want a bathroom. Well, I wanted a bathroom and John wanted the loo, which is the funny word that people from England call the bathroom without acknowledging that it is a funny word. We turned ourselves around and walked in. We’d use the loo (haha), and stay for a nightcap.

We scanned the list of cocktails, and both decided to try something that we’d never heard of before, the Caramel Espresso Martini. We loved it instantly. So, we complimented the bartender and asked how the drink was made.

She explained that she did not have a precise recipe, because she did things more by intuition. Mix some Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, with Godiva Caramel, and Kahlua, shake over ice and strain into martini glasses (the caramel being the smallest portion).

We liked her instantly for telling us how to make a great drink, and liked her even more for telling us some of her story.


Her name is Olga. She is from the Ukraine. She moved here 5 years ago when she was 19 and has never been back home. She always wanted to come to America. She said there is not much to do in the Ukraine, and there are not many opportunities. She learned English in high school and came to the US with a program sponsored by McDonald’s.

She speaks to her family almost everyday. It took 4 years for her family to get set up with internet access and skype. She has skyped with her 92 year old great-grandmother (who worries that Olga is not eating enough). Her Dad fishes, and knows a lot about mushrooms and forages for them in the wild. People visit their house for the great food that her mom cooks.

Olga is studying to be a nutritionist. She said she already gives people advice, and they listen to her. She thinks a lot of it is common sense.

John related his growing up on a farm to her growing up with a father who lives off the land by fishing and picking mushrooms. He wondered if that is why she has such good common sense (which John does too).

We told Olga that we’d like to have a drink with her again, and she smiled. Getting to know her was a nice surprise at the end of a good day.

Well, almost the end. I’m not telling you (or our new nutritionist friend) what we did next…


live. enjoy. repeat.

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