It all happened quite by accident. I was sitting at a committee meeting for the 2005 Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair/U.S.1 Better Living Showcase, when my mind wandered. Just for a moment. I started thinking about something tall and cool, a pretty color – yes, a martini. That’s just what I needed. And before I knew it, I blurted out, "Let’s have the Westin make up a special martini just for the breakdown party." Suddenly all ears perked up. Oh my God, they were buying it. I had to keep going. "Yeah, yeah, we could call it the, um, the Chamber-tini!"

Kristin Appelget, president of the Chamber, said, "That’s perfect! Let’s make it orange, for Princeton."

Before I knew it, I had invented my first cocktail, which will debut at U.S.1’s breakdown party – a big cocktail party with live music, Thursday, September 15, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the close of the trade fair at the Westin.

I may have invented the idea and the name but sure don’t know a thingabout mixology. Luckily the Westin’s Peter Barricella, food and beverage manager, and Andy Kalupi, food and beverage director, came to my rescue. In a special tasting session – attended by me; Appelget; Joanne Meehan, special projects coordinator of the Chamber, and Westin catering sales manager Eddie Rouse – Barricella pulled out all the stops, mixing up no fewer than five combinations for us to try.

Feeling much like Goldilocks – this is too sweet, this is too strong, this is not orange enough – we finally agreed on what Parricella called "the triple threat," a heady-but-not-too-strong-for-happy-hour combination of Stoli orange vodka, Liquor 43, and triple sec, garnished with an orange. Just the right tang of orange, just the right kick of alcohol.

Join us on Thursday – and taste a Chamber-tini for yourself.

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