Several times now I've used this space to trumpet the many new features on Gut Check, the Riverfront Times food blog. This week, I'm especially pleased to introduce you — or, rather, reintroduce you — to one of the paper's most popular columns, Drink of the Week, which is published on Gut Check every Wednesday. Following in the footsteps of Drink of the Week's founder, Randall Roberts, and his successor, Kristie McClanahan, is Alicia Lohmar.
In this passage from her debut column, Alicia considers what makes a drink a Drink of the Week and imparts a suggestion:
"A few years ago, I was sitting at the bar at the Cheshire Lodge with my friend Juan. He was having Red Bull and vodka; I was drinking dirty martinis. Somehow, we got to talking about the ethical implications of bullfighting. Being from Bogotá, he was trying to explain how Americans who get wound up about cruelty to the bull don't understand the sport's cultural significance — that the battle between the matador and the bull is a metaphor.
"He grabbed his empty can of Red Bull. 'Let's say this is the bull. He is like the animal side of us.' He reached for the little plastic sword on my cocktail napkin, which had impaled my olives. 'This is the matador. He is not stronger than the bull. But he knows the bull will respond to the red, to the cape, because he has no choice, he only knows instinct. The matador is intellect. When he wins, the people are happy because the higher side of our nature has won out over the animal, but they are also sad for the bull.'
"He held a can with an image of a bull on it in one hand and a green plastic sword in the other. That is a Drink of the Week — even though the drink itself was unremarkable. Sometimes the drink makes the story; sometimes the story makes the drink.
"...I would like to suggest having a signature bubbly, one that you go to for every occasion. It should be a little bit special, but not prohibitive. Doing so takes advantage of that mysterious thing called 'sense memory' — why the perfume White Linen will never smell like anything but my mom to me and why even the first sip of White Star makes me giddy."
Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail email@example.com. And check out this column's virtual doppelganger here.