Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Battered Beaver

Yes, that's actually the name of a bar. And yes, I have actually gone there... several times. Each Thursday, the Mixoloseum holds what we call Thursday Drink Night, where we select an ingredient, style of drink, etc. and come up with original drinks based on our chosen theme. There are even small (but very good) cocktail related prizes to be won. I make it a point to show up to this chatroom boozefest pretty much every Thursday, even when I'm out of town. Though, when I tune in from out of town, I'm more of a spectator than usual as I generally am far from adequate ingredients to partake. The evening's libations often contain things as uncommon to the average person as rhubarb bitters, cinnamon syrup, and bitter liqueurs flavored with artichoke. Heck, the average person hasn't even heard of the theme ingredient for this past TDN, the South American brandy known as Pisco. While my home bar is happily stocked with these items, most other places I might be caught at on a Thursday night do not.

This past Thursday, I was visiting my parents in the town I grew up in, Oakdale, CA, which proudly claims itself to be "The Cowboy Capital of the World." No, I'm not kidding. My usual bar when in town is even called The Cow Track, and no, I don't know what a cow track is. "The Track" as it is affectionately called by its regulars isn't the type of place you order a martini or an old-fashioned, but the whiskey is cheap and the beer is cheaper. The vast majority of drinks go for well under $4, so it's not a bad place to have a beer and enjoy some (often live) music.

Recently though, I've been more and more attracted to another local bar called The Battered Beaver. This is partly due to the name, but mostly because it's within easy walking distance from my folks' place. While complaining to the TDN crew that I couldn't join in on the fun, I briefly mentioned The Battered Beaver and was promptly instructed that this would be where I consumed my booze that evening, and that I needed to post pictures on my blog (likely to prove to them that a bar with such a name existed in my charming hometown of Oakdale).

While many consider me to be a cocktail snob, I actually opt for cocktail geek because a snob refuses to "slum it up," which is something that I rather enjoy doing now and then. Hey, we all have our guilty pleasures. So, I saunter on down to the Beav' and I order up, you guessed it, a light beer. While I enjoy my non-snobby beer, I notice mere feet from my pint glass none other than Angostura bitters. WHAT?!? I try to deal with my excitement mixed with confusion. Why in the world would the Battered Beaver have bitters? I say a quick prayer of thanks and frantically debate in my head what to order next, a Manhattan, or my favorite, an Old-Fashioned.

I decided that while they might not know how to make either, they've certainly at least heard of a Manhattan... and we have a winner. The first bartender asks another bartender as I insist I can lead them through it (in fear that the other bartender might have been taught how to make a poor Manhattan). Eventually, I'm able to walk one of them through making me a passable Manhattan. Next, I teach a different bartender how to make an (almost) equally passable Old-Fashioned. No, neither was what I would call well-balanced, but both had all the right ingredients in roughly the right proportions, so it was much better than I expected to be drinking before I walked in.

I ran into an old friend there and she insisted that I try a drink called a Mind Eraser, which she informed me had something like kahlua, vodka, citrus vodka, and 7-up. Despite being served in a double rocks glass filled to the brim, she also informed me that the drink must be consumed all at once from bottom to top via the given straw. Well... when in Rome. Apparently, on Thursdays, they have a buy-one-get-one-free deal so long as a lady is involved. So my lovely bartender and I erase our minds together, and I become convinced that the name is quite apt. This is clearly a drink designed to get as much alcohol in without the alcohol burn. Needless to say, I opted not to repeat the erasure. And when all is said and done, I'd say it was a pretty enjoyable Thursday Drink Night.


DJ HawaiianShirt said...

bitters in a bar also makes me do a double-take.

well done!

Chris said...

Now, when I heard about the revival of your blog, I certainly didn't expect to see an article about The Best Dam Bar in my Hometown. :)

Gratz on getting passable drinks here, bro.