In recent years, New Mexico has taken away some of the movie production limelight from Hollywood. Between the state of the art sound stages, tax incentives and ability to travel from cityscape to a desolate landscape in under 15 minutes- industry magazines have knighted us Tamalewood. With more movies come more film crews, and with more film crews comes star-studded thirst at my bar.
I’ve waited on many a celebrity. Some I’ve enjoyed, some have made me go home and throw away every DVD that they are in. Yes, I’m talking about you Jessica Alba and Tommy Lee Jones. The Avengers recently wrapped, and as we said goodbye to that crew, we welcomed another: The Lone Ranger.
Now, ladies- you know what this means. Not only is there Army Hammer, but the ever-lusted over Johnny Depp. However, I have yet to see either. So as I wait on the co-stars, director, the producer, the director of photography, the lighting crews (both first and second unit), the prop crews, the make-up artists, the craft crews, all the way down to the bloody interns- I subtly tell them to relay a message: (Hammer and Depp’s) long-lost muse awaits behind this bar, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. I get a giggle and a great conversation out of it.
As with previous film crews, I’ve become close with a few members from this crew. Naturally, they’re the rowdy ones who enjoy a good cocktail (or five) and end up closing the bar with me every night they come in. Just this past week, my usual suspects bellied-up to the bar and had their usual drink: a Pepino Chilaca.
The Pepino Chilaca is a signature drink at my bar. It is in essence, a bloody mary for the tomato hater. Muddled cucumber, lime juice, a hint of simple syrup and chipotle infused vodka, shaken into submission and poured into a salt-rimmed colins glass. Refreshing, spicy and violently addictive. The Lone Ranger crew, though, added a brilliant twist: serving it “up” in a salt-rimmed martini glass. Total genius. As a result, we’ve coined the Pepino Chilaca “up” as Lone Ranger Style. A bar term and an inside joke with some new friends.
A few nights ago, a couple sat at my bar to dine. They started with wine, had dinner and ended with cocktails and strangely, ordered the Pepino Chilaca “up”. As this drink is a bit labor intensive to make, I struck up a conversation with them as I muddled.
“You know, it’s funny that you ordered this drink, up-” I began.
“Yeah? It just sounds so good that way, we thought we’d give it a shot!” replied the woman.
“Well, you and the film crew in town share the same cocktail pallet,” I responded.
“Which film crew?” asked the man.
“The Lone Ranger crew. They come in all the time and order this drink, this exact way.”
The couple looked at each other and laughed. I prepped the next step for the drinks and looked over my shoulder.
“What’s so funny, you two?” I asked.
“We’re on the Lone Ranger crew, too!” they giggled.
“How funny!” I responded, “Well, I’ll let you in on the code for how to order this drink then. Since so many of your crew have come in and ordered it this way, we’ve coined it the Pepino Chilaca, ‘Lone Ranger style’.”
“Perfect! Now we know how to order our next round-” replied the man, “two more Pepino Chilicas- Lone Ranger style!”
I handed off their drinks and within moments, I was muddling their second round.
As they were now “in the know”, the inevitable conversation of “so, who do you know?” began. I listed off my new regulars and relayed the same message to them, as I have to the others. They giggled and promised to deliver the urgent news: the long-lost muse had been found. We chatted through their second round and into their third.
I was getting ready to close up when they signaled for the bill. I printed it and walked over to them.
“Well, it was a pleasure,” slurred the woman.
“All mine, I assure you!” I shmoozed.
The two were near ready to leave when the man left to the restroom, leaving the woman and I to gush over the leading men of the movie. We reminesced stares and stills from previous movies, arguing over which was better. We compromised on Don Juan de Marco. The man returned and the two gathered their things. As they left, I reminded them of their new sole purpose in life.
“Don’t forget to tell the Loin Ranger, that his muse has been behind this bar all along!” I called out. Just as quickly, I could feel my face begin to flush a hue of beet.
First silence, then thunderous laughter. In attempts to manifest my destiny as a celebrity’s muse, I instead named Larry Flynt’s new blockbuster.