I think every dad needs a drink. Not literally, nor all the time. But he should have a drink that is his own, that he can order without irony at a bar and, more importantly, make himself. It’s also best if no one else makes this drink.
This takes beer out of the equation. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beer, especially an India Pale Ale, or just about anything from Sam Adams. But beer is not a “drink”. Beer is beer. Something to chug at frat parties, wash down hotdogs and garlic fries at a ballgame or give to the dog on a summer day.
And, as Ozzy Osbourne said, “Wine is fine.” But as good as wine is, fine is all that it is. And all that it should be for a dad when it comes time to knock one back, especially on the weekend. Save the Pinot Noir for date night with the wife.
No, dad needs a drink that, on the rare occasion that he gets to a bar, not everyone is ordering, and, like I said before, one that, preferably he has created himself. One that, years after he is gone and the kids are fighting over what’s left of his estate, when they speak of the old man, someone will say, “Dad used to always drink XXXXX.” And that drink needs to involve booze.
And I don’t mean it has to be something with four different types of alcohol, or various fresh squeezed juices, or something that Walter White, if he were living in the Prohibition days, might have cooked up in his lab. Now, there’s nothing wrong with those kind of drinks, and mixing more than one kind of liquor with some additional ingredients does have its place—usually in a margarita—but it’s not necessary.
I found myself in a drinking dilemma when I was recently grilling burgers on a late afternoon summer day. The coals were going and would need a while to ash over, so I determined it was time to tip one back. A cold beer would have been the standard choice. Between the Sam Adams Boston Lagers, the Redhook Longhammer IPAs and the Kona Brewing Fire Rock Pale Ales chilling in my garage fridge, the options were plentiful.
But, for some reason I can’t explain, a beer wasn’t going to do it. I wanted something a little more…and that that more was bourbon.
I should note here that I honestly can’t remember the last time I drank bourbon. I had recently used bourbon when I made barbecue sauce for some ribs, but the last time I actually drank bourbon on purpose? That reason is lost to the sands of time and an increasingly poor short-term memory brought on by lack of sleep due to a couple of early morning risers known as my daughters, Maddo and Little Sis.
But bourbon it had to be. Maker’s Mark, in particular. I took the bottle out of the liquor cabinet and set it on the kitchen counter. I knew I didn’t want to drink it straight, so I headed for the aforementioned garage fridge where I planned to get a Coke for a mixer. I opened up the fridge, and then my plans changed as I saw a mini-can with that familiar green label from my childhood:
When I was a kid, 7-Up seemed as popular as Coke or Pepsi. Maybe that’s because there weren’t nearly as many soda choices as there are today, maybe it’s because I didn’t know any better. You might actually remember the 7-Up ads from back in the day. The Un-Cola. Crisp and Clean, No Caffeine. Even Wayne Gretzky was Feelin’ 7-Up for a while.
Today, it’s the soda that gets no respect. But all I knew was that once I saw that green can, 7-Up would somehow be the Mick to the Keith that was the Maker’s Mark that I was about to pour into my glass.
I mixed the bourbon with soda, threw in a quarter of a lime, and…Daddy found a new drink. Simple, fresh, and just adult enough. And since I was enjoying it with my younger daughter playing in her sandbox, I chose to name it after her. Normally, I just call her Little Sis here, but for this occasion, I will unveil her new name along with the drink that she helped inspire. Thank me.
The Lily Rei
In a rocks glass, fill about halfway with ice. Pour in two fingers of Maker’s Mark. Top off with 7-Up. Squeeze in a quarter of a lime and add that to the mix. Done. Want it a little stronger? Use a highball or tall glass and double up the booze. Goes down best when you’re outside working the grill and/or watching your daughter play nearby.