Monday, October 13, 2008

Mixology Monday- Guilty Pleasures

So this month's MixMo subject is Guilty Pleasures. Hosted by Stevi Deter over at Two at the Most, this subject has already gotten Jeff Morgenthaler to admit to his secret love of vodka, and a number of other great bartenders and bloggers are probably about to make similarly embarassing admissions.

Before I start teasing anyone else though, I have a bit of an embarassing admission to make myself. I used to live the thug life before I reformed and started making more respectable cocktails. Sure, I wasn't slinging rock on the mean streets of Oakland, nor have I ever once sported colors, and any gang sets that I have ever thrown are more likely the result of a hand cramp than any actual serious attempt at those contortions. That said, I have worked in some of the finest hip hop clubs in California, slinging drinks to the rich, the poor and everything in between. I've used a bottle of Galliano as a baseball bat during a riot in a club, seen police panic and release their dogs on an unsuspecting (although rowdy) crowd after we've locked the doors after hours, and been downwind of more pepper spray than I'd like to admit. Back in the day, it was just part and parcel of the game.

Y'all gon make me lose my mind
Up in here, up in here
Y'all gon make me go all out
Up in here, up in here
Y'all gon make me act a fool
Up in here, up in here
Y'all gon make me lose my cool
Up in here, up in here
- DMX, "Party Up"

While I did work in some of the finer hip hop establishments on the west coast in the mid 1990s, unlike most videos you see, we didn't exactly sell lots of Cristal and Louis XIII. Instead, the middle class hip hop afficionados preferred strawberry daiquiris, the ubiquitous gin and juice, and of course, the subject of tonight's post, the Hennessey Separator.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Separator, its essentially a white russian (vodka, half and half and kahlua) with brandy or cognac standing in for the vodka (Sorry Morgenthaler, I don't think you'd like this one). Now, in my experience there are only two ways to make a Separator. The poor mans way is just to ask for one and you'll get something nasty like E&J Brandy, or there is the playa's way, which is to walk up to the bar and order a Hennessey Separator. I swear, in all the years of slinging drinks in hip hop clubs, I never once made a Courvosier Separator. True gangstas understand that while Courvosier is a nice cognac, only Hennessey is the proper choice for a well made Separator. It seems to be some sort of unwritten rule in the clubs, one that I personally agree with.

Separators were a mans drink back in the day. Delicious, strong, creamy and sweet, Separators have enough punch to be effective, and yet enough sweetness to cut the fire of VS level cognac. I developed a taste for them early on in my career, and drank them through my entire club career.

I rarely drink Separators anymore. I've never made one at home, nor have I ever ordered one in Oregon. It seems like this is a drink that isn't just a guilty pleasure for me, I need a certain set and setting to truly enjoy one of these. I need to be in some divey California club, where the glasses are sticky, the crowd rowdy and the doormen just ready to snap from roid rage. I don't end up in places like this very often, but when I do, nothing like a Hennessey Separator hits the spot.

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
Feedin the poor and hepin out wit they bills
Although I was born in jamaica
Now I'm in the us makin deals
Damn it feels good to be a gangsta
I mean one that you dont really know
Ridin around town in a drop-top benz
Hittin switches in my black six-fo
Now gangsta-ass n**** come in all shapes and colors
Some got killed in the past
But this gangtsa here is a smart one
Started living for the lord and I'll last
- Geto Boyz "Damn It Feels Good to be a Gangsta"


SC said...

Wow, I had no idea about your sordid past. I am really impressed. And watch out, I am going to order one at your bar.

Jeff Frane said...

They order Hennessey because it's easier to pronounce, especially after a couple of drinks. Same reason Bud is so popular. No matter how drunk you get, you can never mispronounce Bud.

Dr. Bamboo said...

Sold! I just need to snag some Hennessey.

Akio said...

Jeff - No way. Hennessy is simply further up the ladder in hip-hop culture and has been for quite some time. Get your knowledge right, son! If you're going to be a player you can't do it halfway.

Now, if you want to talk hip-hop drinks, one of my friends will order an Incredible Hulk at any venue that would potentially recognize the request. That's 1:1 Henny and Hypnotiq. Consider my mind blown.

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