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July 11, 2008 - Eric Paddock
Once upon a time, I was a bartender. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t see a career in it, but as a temporary, part-time endeavor, it wasn’t a bad gig. Most of the time I was schlepping draft beers and shots of this or that to people who like to consume things in one or two gulps. With some regularity, however, people would ask for a new fad drink. Usually they were some combination of liqueurs or aperitifs with some fruity syrup or chocolate or heavy cream guaranteed to stimulate a gag reflex -- if not immediately, certainly by the end of the night. There was one, however, that I didn’t mind fixing for myself (when I was off-duty, of course). I haven’t had one in a long time and haven’t heard one ordered for an even longer time, although I’m sure they are still being drunk somewhere. They’re called Dr. Peppers. Here’s the recipe: Start with a beer mug, preferably frosted. Add just a couple ice cubes. Pour a shot and a half of your favorite 151-proof rum in the bottom of the glass. Two shots if you want to end your evening early. Follow it with enough beer (doesn’t matter which kind -- although I’m pretty sure that Old Milwaukee from a can will ruin just about anything) to fill the mug about three-quarters full. Top it off with cola (DO NOT USE DIET) Then a gentle stir just to mix. It tastes like -- you guessed it -- Dr. Pepper. And thus, an important consumer warning: You may be tempted to chug the thing. Resist that urge. Dr. Peppers are one of those insidious drinks that sneak up behind you and rob your sense of moderation. So, why mix up a drink with a bunch of other stuff when you could just spike some Dr. Pepper with grain alcohol? What would be the fun in that? After all, the whole idea of this drinking thing is to live better through modern chemistry. Concocting a new cocktail is either alchemy in which mundane ingredients are mystically converted to ambrosia, or just another failed experiment. That great newspaper man and drinker, H.L. Mencken, with the help of a friendly barkeep, once attempted every combination of top shelf booze in a Baltimore pub in an effort to arrive at some scientific conclusion. When the experiment ended and he was once again able to speak coherently, Mencken proclaimed all of their concoctions drinkable, “though some were better than others.”
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