Tuesday, April 15, 2008


One of the great scenes of the old Mary Tyler Moore show is when Mary invites her boss, Lou Grant (Ed Asner) to her apartment for dinner. Mary, of course, is nervous and wants everything to go right.

She offers Lou a drink, he says “bourbon on the rocks,” and follows Mary into her little kitchen. Mary puts ice in a large glass, then pours some bourbon into a shot glass slow and careful because her hands are shaking.

Lou grabs the whiskey bottle out of May’s hand, saying “That’s not how you make a drink… here’s how you make a drink.”

Lou pours directly from the bottle until the large glass is about half full, and exclaims, “THAT’s how you make a drink.”

Mary is non-plussed. She looks at the nearly-full shotglass in her hand and asks Lou, “What about this?”

Lou looks at the shotglass, grabs it from her hand, and knocks it back.

And Mary does a comic take.

Because it’s more visually complex, movies tend to portray boilermakers (shot and a beer) as depth-charges (shotglass in the beer). But, as I learned as a kid, and as Wikipedia points out:

Classically, the liquor is drunk in one gulp and chased immediately by the beer.
Then after a brief discussion of delivery methods, (sidecars, depth charges etc) Wikipedia states clearly:

Guides differ on the preferred technique, but all agree that speed is the essence of this drink: one generally aims to drink a boilermaker quickly.
This is fairly common knowledge among American working-class drinkers.

Because it’s a working class drink, and a heavy-drinker’s drink, boilermakers usually include well whiskey and draught beer (the cheapest).

So yesterday we see Hillary, full Deerhunter mode, doing a barroom photo-op attempting to drink a boilermaker.

We see Hillary sipping at the shotglass, reportedly filled with Crown Royal, a Canadian whiskey, which costs a lot more than the bar’s well-whiskey.

Then we see her sipping at a beer mug (full pint).

It’s wrong in so many ways.

This shows that Hillary isn’t just elitist, her entire staff is elitist—not one of them could tell her how to drink a boilermaker.

When it comes to booze, an American presidential candidate need remember only four words:

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

As jazz is to the world of music, so Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is to the world of booze--a uniquely American contribution.

Maybe there’s some local Penn. custom of drinking Crown Royal, that imported Canadian is superior to American stuff, with the crown and all, but this would be self-loathing and shouldn’t be encouraged.

And the beer should be served in a straight-sided glass that holds maybe eight ounces, not in a big old sixteen-ounce pub-style mug. The whole idea is down-the-hatch, and, after a hard day in the coal mines, who has the energy (or breath) to chug sixteen ounces?

Also, what kind of a working-class bar would allow a woman her age to drink standing up? Working class men would have offered their seats to her and refused to sit while Hillary remained standing.

The cameras would have enjoyed Hillary’s thigh-flesh draping over the sides of a barstool, like a real working-class woman.
Not gonna happen.

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sfmike said...

Great deconstruction of The Boilermaker and the inauthenticity of Ms. Hillary's mingling with the common alcoholics. Check out the "Daily Show" clip where they do their own deconstruction, including taking a bottle of Crown Royal out of its purple velveteen bag. "Crown Royal? Could they have picked a gayer Scotch for a shot?"

Jerry Jarvis said...

or when you are looking up AA meetings that you never make it to.