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Dear Drink: Monte Cristo

An open letter to the Monte Cristo cocktail at Hotel Murano

MONTE CRISTO: Is there a sandwich in every glass? Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Dear Monte Cristo,

I confess. You weren't my reason for dropping by the Hotel Murano Thursday. Two launch party buffets were on my radar. Upstairs, husband-and-wife team Erik Hanberg and Mary Holste introduced their new Side x Side Creative company specializing in publishing, marketing and social media for nonprofits and small businesses. A wise move would be to stand on the "x" between these two awesome people and hold on for dear life. In the lobby, the Hotel Murano toasted the release of Collection, a beautiful book highlighting the artwork of more than 45 artists who have graced the hotel's hallways and rooms. And lo, it was a good noshing night indeed.

You came into my life, Monte Cristo, after Murano Lobby Bar bartender Deborah heard me speak the all-important words: "I'll start off with a Monte Cristo, please." Of course, it's probably obvious to everyone, including you and Deborah, that I've "started off" a long time ago - like around 1980 - but that's beside the point, isn't it? She seemed quite pleased with my order as she trotted off to create you.

I must also confess I don't completely understand you and your place of residence. Typical, you see the following scene at fancy hotels: Perfect Cutesy Head Flip lounging on purple pillows next to Charles With A Giant Dead Polar Bear On His Flat's Floor chatting with Tattooed Yoga-loving Urbanite Intellectual Who Loves A.S. Byatt And Red Meat while Savvy, Sexy, Hyper-intelligent Hipster Dude and his Sleek Geeky Babes drink colorful potions against a velvet wall.

This scene plays out every day in environments that look a hell of a lot like your Hotel Murano dear Monte Cristo. Just look at the Murano's lobby: exposed concrete, expansive glass, high ceilings, and terrazzo floors made with chips of glass that provide the perfect backdrop for the modern '70s fireplace, a glass chandelier by Venetian artist Massimo Micheluzzi and backlit front desk glass panels by Orfeo Quagliata.

Yet, unless swanky launch parties, or any party for that matter, gather in Murano's lobby, this beautiful hotel can be on the quiet side. A shame, really.

All that said, my true confession is ... I don't get you Monte Cristo. What the hell do you have to do with a sandwich? You are Absolut Citron Vodka and Grand Marnier, shaken and poured into a martini glass. Fried ham and cheese between French toast slices you are not. The sandwich's inspiration, the French croque-monsieur, would lift its nose at you. You are sweet, Monte Cristo, and the only thing cheesy is your name. And maybe this column.

I guess I really don't need to understand you Monte Cristo as there seems to be a lot of alcohol in you. And when I say, "There seems to be a lot of alcohol," that means that you are strong, and that also means that you are good.


Ron Swarner


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