The bar at Aix was intended more as a convivial place to wait for a table than a place where you'd hang out all night. Even so, I love to sit and sip in this lovely, calming space. And when I recently stopped by for a little boisson alcoolisée (that's French for cocktail -- the only word I learned in Paris), Cyd, proprietor and master mixologist, whipped me up a marvelous Pumpkin Martini ($9) made with pumpkin purée, sweetened condensed milk, milk, Stoli Vanil and Frangelico. I listened intently as my Francophile date raved on and on about how fabulous the martini was and how, like a fine wine, it revealed layers of deepening complexity as you drank it. I simply thought it tasted quintessentially autumnal, like everything Thanksgiving should be; in fact, it would be a fabulous alternative to pumpkin pie at next month's feast. When I finished the martini, I felt like I'd just polished off a lovely dinner, and needed something a little more smoothing. The Lavender Martini ($11), made with Ketel One Citroen, Grand Marnier, simple syrup, Sprite and steamed lavender and mint, was the perfect solution. It was like a cleansing treatment for my brain, and I grew calmer with every sip. I was thinking of escaping to a spa on Thanksgiving, but now I think I'll save some money and just head to the bar at Aix.
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