Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Shifter

People ask me all the time, what do I drink? The honest answer is everything. As much as I like not serving Bud Lite, I enjoy a cold Rainier, Oly, PBR, or High Life. And as much as I nudge and wink at people who scoff at shots, I do them. With probably alarming regularity. Probably more than I drink anything artisanal.
So, here's what I'm drinking tonight: starting with Liquore Strega and a luke-warm, half-full Henry Weinhard's private reserve. Why am I drinking a crappy beer in such a condition? Because I paid for it and it's the last one. One of my roommates, ahem: K, drank the rest. And also, frankly, because I don't care. I'm not squeamish about beer and I spend enough time in "flavor country" that I don't need my beer to be a taste explosion in my mouth. Besides pop-rocks, I probably need few things exploding in my mouth...
I'm drinking the Strega straight because it's tasty. And I'm tired. Yeah, I could break out the bar gear and whip up a tasty cocktail, but then I get to do dishes. And my shoulder is already sore from whipping up tasty cocktails for 6 hours. And I'm tired. And, finally, I like to taste, feel, experience, whatever I am drinking. For instance, up next is a glass of Wild Turkey 101. I want to feel that. The burn, the lurch, the physicality of it. Not always, but at 3 am when I am just off after negotiating screaming, shuffling, intoxicated masses and life's rich pageantry that constantly presents itself in Hilltop, I want a shot and a beer and I want to feel it.
To circuitously get the meat of the question, here's what I drink: sidecars, sazeracs, and negronis. I seriously love these cocktails when done right. They all help me get a lay of the land. I never order any of the aforementioned cocktails in bars that don't stock the ingredients. Once I've established that the bar has the necessary ingredients, I'll order the appropriate cocktail, each of which is a fantastic measure of the kind of bar you are in. Sidecars, sazeracs, and negronis are all classic cocktails with origins that tickle the tongue of any raconteur. In my humble opinion, these are the types of drinks that bartenders love to make. Simple recipes that need to be executed with care to create cocktails that stop conversations. Cocktails that dance across the palette and challenge bartenders to come up with something better. These are the drinks that are personal classics. You could throw in Old Fashions or martinis, but really, why? Only to be disappointed...?
Anyway, here's me after a long night. I don't actually have black eyes, but I might as well. I'm dog-tired and not wanting to mix much of anything at this point. That's why it's shots and beers...

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