So here is  the way I was told to drink the Comfortably Numb cocktail served at Union 30, a restaurant located inside the smashing Hotel Saint Louis. 

See that little bud sitting in a white dish at the side of the drink? It’s a Szechuan button flower. I was told to eat the button and then take a soothing sip of cocktail.  Can’t believe I listened. That bud packs a whole lot of OMG-hot into a nibble.

Take a bite and your mouth feels hit by lighting—as if you stuck your tongue in an electrical outlet—as if you bit into a cherry bomb…no… make that a hand grenade. You grab the cocktail and gulp, then your mouth goes comfortably numb.

Truth be told, it’s not really the drink that eases the pain. It’s the button doing the damage and then the numbing. In some circles this crazy plant is known as the toothache plant due to the eventual numbing qualities when chewed.

When consumed together, the button and cocktail are no less than explosively enjoyable, agonizingly delightful and miserably marvelous. But just as the button can numb without the cocktail, two or three cocktail can make everything well…beautifully numb without the preceding pain. See for yourself. The Union 30 bartender gave me the recipe:





Yield: one serving.

2 ounces Hendricks Gin

3/4 ounces St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)

3/4 ounce Curacao (orange-flavored liqueur)

1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce white grape juice

1 Schezwan button flower 

Put all ingredients except button in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Serve with the Schezwan button flower on the side.