After dinner at Searsucker, our original plan was to proceed to Mandarin Bar for cocktails with a view, but we finished dinner late, and Mandarin Bar was about to close, when we arrived, so instead we went to Chandelier at Cosmopolitan.
Susan suggested that I ordered The Verbena, which is supposedly one of the most popular drinks at Chandelier. It wasn’t listed on the menu anymore, but the bartender said that he could make one.
“Why not?” I thought and ordered what looked like a vodka lemon with a dried flower on top. “You have to chew the flower first” I was instructed “and make sure to pass it all around in your mouth”. The flower tasted like you would expect a dried flower to taste, that is, not very good, but after a short while all the fun began. It started with a tingling feeling on my tongue followed by a weird sensation of numbness.
I took a sip of my drink and my mouth exploded. Or so it felt like. I regret that I didn’t have Susan record my facial expression, as I’m sure it would have been very entertaining to watch.
It was like my mouth had jumped out of my face and into another dimension, where it was now throwing one hell of a party for my taste buds.
The flower causing my mouth’s out-of-body trip was the Szechuan button, which is also known as buzz buttons, electric buttons and the more boring name Acmella Oleracea. Apparently, a substance in the flower intensifies and twists the flavors.
The drink’s zesty lemon taste was soon transformed into something, which is best described as donkey kicks and shooting stars, and the sensation was overwhelming and lasted throughout the drink. In fact I got a bit worried that my mouth had entered some kind of permanent, rave-on condition, but within half an hour, I was back to normal.