Monday, June 23, 2003

DRINK DU JOUR: Maker's Mark and Vernors. I'm not a hard-liquor guy, apart from my college fascination with cognac, and certainly not a bourbon guy, but I recently succumbed to the advertising genius behind Maker's Mark and decided this was something I needed to try. I liked it as much as I like any brown hard liquor (which is to say, not all that much), but it got me to thinking about appropriate mixers. Vernors occurred to me, though I wasn't the first. I finally tried it (albeit with Diet Vernors), and my suspicions were confirmed: Mmm-mmm-good. Just as it's not clear where the gin ends and the tonic begins, the barrel-aged golden wonderfulness of Vernors is a perfect foil for the barrel-aged golden Maker's Mark. Vernors is a Detroit institution. It's ginger ale, but not the ginger ale you probably know. If you've had "ginger beer," that's more like it: not "pale dry," but crisp and sharp and, for the uninitiated, cough-inducing.

As good as it is with Maker's Mark, Vernors is even better with vanilla ice cream. (In Detroit they call that a Boston cooler, though I don't think the term is at all familiar to Bostonians.)

Runner-up drink du jour: Beer with tomato juice. "Red beer," the woman at the blackjack table at the Plaza casino in downtown Las Vegas called it, but I had had it before and whatever you call it, it's pretty darn good.

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