I've been in Lancaster for just over two years now. For the past six months I've been searching (well, hoping to find) a Raspberry Martini. I hadn't realized what a difficult search it would be. I was at a pub the first time I asked for one.
"I've never made one but if you tell me how to make it, I can do," the bartender said.
I don't actually know how to make one; I just know how to drink one.
I was at Greaves Park the next time I tried.
"Let me see what I can do," the bartender's enthusiasm was a bit disconcerting.
He poured "Martini" from a bottle, dropped in actual raspberries and began smashing the berries. The result was a pink, pulpy mixture that looked "like baby vomit" according to a friend and tasted like pencil according to me (yes, I tasted it).
I sloshed it around a bit when he gave it to me. I edit my words but not my facial expressions.
"You can have that for free."
He read my mind.
A few weeks ago someone told me about a place in Lancaster that served the elusive Raspberry Martini. The Apothecary. I read the menu online. There it was. I called to be sure: "yes, it does have that on the menu," the person said.
But do you have it? I wondered.
A few days later some friends and I went down to find out.
"ID, please," the bouncer said.
We laughed. It's been decades since I've needed a fake ID.
"He was probably checking to make sure we aren't too old," a friend laughed.
Maybe she was right.
I placed my order. A few shakes and stirs later, the bartender handed me two ice blue cocktails. They were pretty, but they weren't what I ordered.
"Not what you were expecting?" The bartender asked.
"No. Those aren't Raspberry Martinis."
"The guy who makes the menu likes to put Martini after everything," he explained.
I re-read the menu. Unlike the version online, the in-bar one says something about their own twist to it.
"It usually has candy floss in it."
I've never been the age where I would order or drink a cocktail with candy in it or on it. But cotton candy in a drink? I'm too old for that. I was ready to leave.
"I'll try again."
More mixing, shaking, stirring, actual smoke drifting into the air and a sugar cube later...
"That's not it."
It was time to go.
"Try one of these," a woman at the end of the bar said. She pointed to a concoction of berries and alcohol, "it's really good."
It was fine. The service was great, the atmosphere was promising and while they don't actually have Raspberry Martinis, the Apothecary has spirit, at least the try and try again kind flourished with a smile. The DJ came out and I'm pretty sure a disco ball did too. We left for the night.
Will I be back?
Not likely. I don't have a lot of free time and like to get what I want. If the menu promises it and the service doesn't deliver it, I have to find someplace that does.