The Warren Column: End-of-the-world drinks

02 March, 2017

Jan Warren asks what his bartending friends would choose as their final drink in the event of an apocolypse

One of the first rules I learned as a young bartender was: “No politics, no religion.” It is also our duty to talk about current events and the fears and worries of our guests. Sometimes these two responsibilities can seem contradictory. For instance, there isn’t an American who isn’t talking about politics right now. In my liberal, New York City bubble, the pervading sentiment is dread. Many of us are actually contemplating the possibility of nuclear war. In that line of thinking, I thought it might be fun to find out what people would like their last drinks to be, so I asked a few friends: “What would you want your last drink to be in the event of a nuclear apocalypse and why?”

Michael Olsson, 1656, Copenhagen

Michael had a few conditions. If he was parched, he wanted a thirst-quenching Corpse Reviver No. 2. If he had just had a big meal, he would go for a Negroni. Thinking further, he settled on a French 75, because gin, lemon and champagne are three of his favourite things, and it might feel a bit celebratory.

John deBary, Momofuku, NYC

John was nice enough to supply a quote in an incredibly professional manner, so I’ll just copy and paste.

“If I knew the world, as well as my own life, was coming to an imminent end, I would certainly want to drink something large and communal with my loved ones – a garbage pail-sized Zombie Punch for a self-induced oblivion before actual oblivion. On the other hand, if my survival was a possibility, I’d want to steel myself up to survive the post-apocalypse. A big pot of green tea would help keep me alert. And who knows, the antioxidants might even ward off any radiation damage?” Forward thinking and wise.

Lacy Hawkins, Monkey 47 gin ambassador, NYC

In an incredibly specific display of wishful thinking and fantasy she’d “totally have a Gibson as my final cocktail”. She adds: “Monkey 47 gin, a heavy hand of dry vermouth, some pickling brine – and if i’m lucky it’ll get served to me by Ana Navarro and garnished with Meaghan Dorman’s cocktail onions from Dear Irving.”

Johan Evers, Penny & Bill, Stockholm

Johan said he’d have a Better & Better – not because it is one of my originals, but because he thought maybe a nuclear apocalypse might make the world better.

Jessie Duré, Chumley’s and Nakazawa, NYC

In what was a very cute answer, she says: “If it were to happen right this moment I’m fixing for a Virgin Piña Colada with a touch of blue curaçao because I want something colourful, fun and sweet before I go.” Not exactly virgin, but close enough for the end of the world.

Chris Bostick, Half Step, Austin, Texas

Chris chose a Margarita because: “Margaritas are the comfort beverage of the loose and fun folk of Texas. Can’t break tradition. It is, after all, the first cocktail I learned how to make. Simplicity in its basic form. All these clowns love the Daiquiri (I do too) but the Margarita – well, tequila will always have my heart.”

Karin Stanley, Dutch Kills, NYC

Karin decided on a double Absinthe Frappé, specifically on shaved ice, not pebble, for its combination of cooling power and alcoholic potency.

Geoffrey Canilao, Balderdash, Copenhagen

He had a hard time deciding, but went with a natural wine, “Riffault Sancerre with an amazing rum on the side, or sake with a side of Taketsuru 21”, and described the question as “damned difficult”.

Sam Ross, Attaboy, NYC

Sam wasn’t sure what he would have, so I’ll presume to answer for him. He’d have a Penicillin. It is a tremendous drink. So good – maybe the greatest drink of all time. It’s been trending big league all over the press. Any stories about it not being the greatest, not the best, most amazing drink of all time are fake news.

What would I have? Gimme a vanilla malted milkshake. Extra malt. Nostalgia. Childhood.

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