So, that happened.
Purdue football is back and we've chased the disappointment of another loss with the moral victory of no longer looking completely out of place against other D1 teams. Make no mistake, this will be the 2015 season: slow and steady improvement, quarters of competency, moments of glory, and then a slow crawl back to another deficit on the scoreboard. Somehow, we've gotten to the point where this is hope and a step in the right direction for the program. But that's all very negative, and rehashed in every bar on both immediate sides of the Wabash, so let's get to the more fun thing we do in bars - drinking.
We play host to the FCS Sycamores, the fighting Terre Hautes, the college that could only hold the Ultimate Warrior for a year, and Larry Bird's alma mater. They are not good at football.
First off, we're going to win. This is a time of celebration. Purdue looked solid up front, on D and O, and should be able to control things like a bully in the lunch room. That pang of fear we've had in our bellies the last few years when playing lesser teams can now be snuffed - there is such a thing as a sure thing for the Purdue football now.
So break out the sausages, grab your grills, snatch back your smiles, and, of course, get your booze on.
The one thing I tell anyone starting out bartending is that the easiest part of the job is making the drinks. They look at all the bottles, think of all the combinations of drinks, and think they'll get overwhelmed. More often than not, if someone orders a mixed drink the names of the ingredient come in it. Jack and Coke's are far more prevalent than Manhattan's, and if you do get a customer who wants to go in depth on your muddling technique or your preferred rye whiskey, he's most likely just looking for you to agree with his already very distinguished taste.
So, we're gonna keep it simple here. It's one thing to order a six-step drink at a bar where alcohols and mixers are already there, but when you're tailgating or at a party or sitting in your living room, you don't want to have to do a lab experiment to get the right color to your Moscow mule.
Drink of the Week:
1/2 domestic light beer/ 1/2 Coney Island Hard Root Beer
Online inquiries towards the 'Cincinnati' drink has been less than helpful. Google mentions a drink of half beer and half soda water, but this comes my way through my buddy Famous Frank, who runs a brilliant food truck and knows a thing or two about good flavor. The original Cincinnati is a Buffalo, NY staple that his father drank with birch beer instead of hard root beer.
The problem with most hard root beers - less so with Coney Island's than Not Your Father's - is that the bottles are just too sweet. It's almost impossible to drink more than one of them. Mixing the root beer with a domestic beer of your choice cuts the sweetness, giving the drink a nice, subtle sweetness that comes off almost chocolate. The head is thick - grow up - and there's something pleasantly thick about the mixture.
It's a nightcap beer, to be honest, but I find those drinks easiest to finish the night with are also the ones easiest to start your day with.
The best part? You can actually find Coney Island Root Beer in your liquor store and you'll only need the two beers and a cup to combine them. I've found even non-beer drinkers are enjoying the mixture. It takes all bitterness and harshness away from the beer. Also, as a heavier beer flavor, it will go nicely with the cold weather and possible rain coming our way.
So here's to Frank and drinking your father's drink and not drinking Not Your Father's. And here's to chasing your drinks with a win.