Millionaire's Coffee

Cyrano's, 603 East Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves; 314-963-3232.


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Each day we sleep until eleven in air-conditioned heaven, kick at the covers for another hour, often drifting through a recurring dream involving fresh vegetables and Vincent Gallo. It's a hard-knock life, that's for sure, rolling in the millions, dreaming the morning away. Tony the Butler quietly enters the master bedroom like clockwork at the first sound of movement, bringing with him the bar-on-wheels and the smell of freshly brewed coffee.

"Yah want some cauwffee, sir?" he asks in his most sophisticated Bostonese.

"That would be excellent, Tony the Butler. Make it a millionaire's coffee." He then sets to work concocting a little pick-me-up/pull-me-down drinkee drinkee to start the day off right. Millionaire's coffee, created for those of us whose only job is to spend money: Kahlúa coffee liqueur, Bailey's Irish Cream, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, Grand Marnier orange-flavored liqueur and coffee topped with enough whipped cream to lather a Tijuana Brass album jacket. Good morning! See you later!

We like our coffee like we like our socialites: drunken and sweet. We gulp millionaire's coffee until we're bloated and pasty, and still we feel fantastic. Coffee at noon, where's the harm in that? After all, Reggie the Chauffeur's doing the driving, and Ted the Bodyguard long ago perfected the art of gracefully leading a drunk through a fancy restaurant without causing a scene. We're good. Real good. By evening, we're positively beaming.

Back in our youth, Momsy and Papa would spring for Cyrano's at least once a week. Way back then, the suave dessert-and-drink place was at the corner of Clayton Road and DeMun; we'd park the limo out front and stuff our pie holes with whole pies. Pops would down Cognac like it was Coca-Cola; Momsy may as well have been snorting her Champagne.

Our youth died when the original Cyrano's shuttered, and we set to drinking. What a mess, those lost years. The crack! The whores! The crackwhores!

The place was reborn in Webster Groves in 2003, and a large part of St. Louis continued exactly where they left off: indulging themselves with sugar and booze until both the belly and the noggin wobbled. The good life, indeed.

The new locale has pink walls, framed pictures of desserts and high ceilings. Candlelight does most of the work, and a single rose graces each table. Yes, it's romantic, if you're into that sort of thing. Their millionaire's coffee comes in a jumbo cup, which is good. You can't see the brown for all the fluffy white on top. Suck it up, wipe the whipped cream off your nose, and drink.

There's an inherent tension at the heart of all coffee drinks: the battle between stimulant and depressant. Which will win? Usually it's the depressant (of course), but that's fine, because the exquisite taste of the drink — earthy, nutty, creamy and rich — will lift the spirits like a bullish stock market. Irrational exuberance? Who the hell cares? We're drinking a dream. May we never wake up.

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