A Free Spirit?

Well, it looks like another contentious election year, and the American people have just a few weeks left to decide which of the two presidential candidates they’re going to vote against. Plus there are additional state and local elections that are being hotly contested. But what really bothers me is when some unknown puts a sign in my yard without my permission. I mean, who is this guy, “Foreclosure”?

And with all the tension surrounding these elections, I think it’s totally understandable if people just want to unwind and have a cocktail. I also believe it’s no coincidence that this month’s issue has an article on the best libations in town.

But I’m curious about something. When you’re at your favorite establishment enjoying a drink, have you ever wondered when the very first cocktail was actually served? Me neither. However, you may not know this, but alcoholic beverages existed around 10,000 BC. They even had “designated drivers” back then. Of course, they didn’t actually drive. But because the wheel had just been invented, somebody had to be sober enough to roll it home after an evening of cave-hopping.

Now according to historians, the very first cocktail was conceived by Sir Francis Drake back in 1586, while his fleet of ships were stranded near Havana. He and his men had just wrapped up a very busy year of plundering villages for gold, and it was time to head back to England. Unfortunately for Sir Francis, his men were too sick to sail and were certainly in no shape to fight the locals, who were visibly upset about their stolen Rolexes. Drake quickly came up with a remedy consisting of mint, lime, rum and cane sugar. It worked. In fact, his men got to feeling so good, they decided to plunder a few more villages before taking off. These days, they call that particular concoction a Mojito, which is now considered a “specialty” drink.

Most restaurants and bars around Fort Worth pride themselves with their specialty drinks, and some of them can be very expensive. A few will run you up to a hundred dollars. It’s understandable that many of you might think it’s silly to pay that much for libations. Just a big waste of money. But truth is, I’m a big fan of specialty cocktails. So how much am I willing to spend on one? No more than 10 minutes.

Okay, now that I have enlightened you with the history of cocktails, let me offer a few suggestions before you belly up to the bar. Try to avoid the high-calorie cocktails that will pack on the pounds. These include Long Island Teas, Pina Coladas and Mai Tais. Surprisingly, guys drink more of these than women, but, fellas, it’s time to stop when your belt buckle starts facing the floor. Next, if you’re bound and determined to blow your inheritance on a specialty drink, let me suggest two of the most expensive in the world.

The first one is a Winston, named after Winston Churchill, who just flat loved himself a good drink. As articulate as he was, there were two words he could never understand. Last call. The Winston features two jiggers of Croizet Cognac, Grand Marnier, and some bitters. It will set you back about $12,000. The second one really got my attention. It’s called a Ruby Rose Cocktail, which consists of Hangar 1 Vodka, grapefruit juice, pomegranate and a splash of rose water. It’s yours for $40,000. Granted, you could get the same drink anywhere for about 10 bucks. But did I mention it comes with a four-carat ruby? It’s only available at some bar in Maine.

Finally, you need to keep your bartender happy. This can be easily accomplished by not ordering a cocktail that takes most of the evening (or morning, if you’re from New Orleans) to make. They really don’t like spending 10 minutes pounding mint leaves. Also avoid ordering Cosmos or Manhattans. Every bartender makes them differently and doesn’t need you barking specific instructions. And remember to tip for each drink, or they will definitely remember you. Might explain why that second frozen margarita was hot.

By the way, if you ever decide to order a Winston, call me. We need to become friends.