Wednesday. Hump Day. Congrats, you've made it halfway through the work week! Unfortunately, you still have two days to go. Dunno about you, but in order to survive the midweek blues, we're going to need a drink. Which brings us to our Wednesday Gut Check feature: Gut Check's Hump-Day Cocktail Suggestion! Each week we take you to one of our favorite St. Louis bars (and, oh, the list is long) for a drink (or two) we -- in consultation with the bartender -- highly recommend.
There's a brand spanking new cocktail menu at The Crow's Nest (7336 Manchester Road; 314-781-0989), and bartender Al Swacker (who also serves as DJ for KDHX's "Greaser's Lunchbox"), who just returned from vacation, has yet to make single one of them. But that's okay, because Swacker knows what he's doing, so we pick from a long list of...wait for it...1980s-movie-themed drinks (with the curious exception of "Tombstone" -- 1993). Not only is this pretty awesome, but it matches the 80s punk décor covering the walls.
The list, concocted by general manager Dan Claicott, includes pretty much all the classics, including "Red Dawn" (Makers, Triple Sec and cranberry juice). No, not the shitty remake, the original, with Swayze. But the drink that caught our eye was the "Better off Dead," starring a young John Cusack -- not the one where he holds a boombox over his head, that's Say Anything, duh -- but the one where he skis and tries to get over the cool girl who dumped who for the jock skier and winds up falling in love with a French exchange student...the 80s, man.
Anyways, Swacker assures us that the drink is appropriately named, as it, "will knock you off your ass," and afterward, he suggests, "you might want to take a nap." It turns out that Swacker is dead on: combining Grand Marnier, Chartreuse, St. Germain and absinthe, topped with champagne, makes for one stiff drink. But it sure is tasty.
The licorice sweetness is quite strong, but mixes all the variables nicely. It's meant to be enjoyed in small sips over an extended period of time -- shoot at your own risk, and if you do, well, you're most likely Better Off Dead. (P.S. If you're wondering, Cusack wins a daring downhill skiing race and, when faced with the opportunity to take back his former girl, he instead goes with true love and chooses the French exchange student).
Continue for the recipe.
"Better Off Dead"
½ oz. Gran Marnier ½ oz. Chartreuse ½ oz. St. Germain Combine first three ingredients, followed by a quick pour of absinthe, another quick pour of champagne and lemon juice, served on the rocks.