One For My Baby…

Bull Shot - P. J. Clarke's

Bull Shot – P. J. Clarke’s

There are just too many days as of  late when I find myself feeling a level of post meridiem melancholy that would normally be  reserved for those wee small hours after midnight. But this extended period of  pensiveness does justify my singing the first few lines of that Mercer/Arlen classic at least twice a day now.

One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)

It’s quarter to three,
There’s no one in the place except you and me
So set ’em up Joe
I got a little story I think you ought to know

We’re drinking my friend
to the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road…

The talk around Tin Pan Alley was that Johnny Mercer worked out the lyrics to Harold Arlen’s unconventional 48 bar,  key changing melody while sitting at the bar at New York’s P. J. Clarke’s. Another famous patron would  fan the flame of this American torch standard with a version that would ultimately define tears in your beer and late night laments. And this is only fitting, since Frank Sinatra, who is more often associated with Sardi’s and Jilly’s when it comes to prominent city saloons, would always raise his last glass of the evening at P. J. Clarke’s when  socializing in Manhattan.

In the current issue of American Public House Review there is an effective recipe for a Bull Shot which this editor first discovered while sitting at the aforementioned landmark tavern on a similarly cold gray afternoon  many years ago. It occurs to me that there is just enough vodka left to make two.

So I think I’ll throw on a little Sinatra, and have one for my baby… and one more for the road. (Click the last two links to hear Francis Albert Sinatra do it as only he can)

Posted by: Chris Poh

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