03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Boulder's James Lee of Bitter Bar: The Art of the Cocktail

Picture 2581

The other night I went to Happy Noodle House in Boulder, Colorado, for the first time in awhile.

When Happy first opened up some eight months ago, it fast became a favorite ... I hosted a few parties there, and hung out in their "Bitter Bar" many a night.

Then, for some reason (summertime, and my being a workaholic, perhaps) I fell off the Happy wagon. But a few nights back, I went back, met my longtime bud Michael Ramsey and was treated to an incredible cocktail via James Lee, one of the better bartenders in Boulder -- and the whole of the U.S. of A.

The experience reminded me that mindfulness -- doing the right thing -- living a good, meaningful life and helping others -- what elephant is all about -- and alcohol can intersect.

Leave behind the red Solo cups, the cheap crap alcohol and the swilling and bingeing ... make a proper drink, mindfully, and it can be an incredible way to relax, to breathe out the stress of the day, to enjoy your evening and the company of a friend and your community.

It might seem obvious to my friends, reading this, that alcohol ain't necessarily a vice -- but too often in the yoga and Buddhist worlds that I grew up around, and in, peeps tend to regard alcohol, understandably, as a dangerous thing.

It is. But done mindfully, moderately, with proper attention and enjoyment, it's the kind of vice we all can get behind.

Happy Noodle House "James Lee" bartender Bitter Bar Boulder