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Video Game Drinks
I spend at least a bit of time each day perusing sites such as Kotaku. Today on there I saw this post listing out the drinks EA came out for the EA Games Spring Break 08. Other than what I write on here (not much recently, I know), I spent a lot of time in the Scofflaw's Den, an online speakeasy that my friend Marshall and I started primarily to talk about cocktails.
I was even more amused to see this after instantly recognizing the reference to a video game in the punch drink from Monday night's dinner . Let's see what my initial looksie here has me feeling...
(Footnotes at the end for some cocktailian explanations.)
Battlefield: Bad Company: Herradura silver tequila, cointreau and fresh squeezed lime served on the rocks.
Battlefield: Bad Company got some bad press initially due to the fact that it was going to give an advantage to players who paid more by giving them better weapons. The basic concept of the game is much like Kelly's Heroes, the classic Clint Eastwood movie where soldiers basically go AWOL to go after a cache of gold. This game is set in the modern day as an FPS and seems a bit grimmer given the descriptions, so having what is basically a margarita without simple syrup  seems like an appropriate choice - though not necessarily one I'd drink.
Battlefield: Heroes: Hendrick's gin, fresh rasberry, cucumber, shaken and strained, served up with a splash of kumquat dry soda.
Unlike the other Battlefield game, Battlefield: Heroes is a more cartoon-ish game, a third person multiplayer-only free to play online game set between two sides, the Royals and the Nationals, who are having a dispute over the Olympics. It's more of a casual, have fun, almost kind of care-free killfest from what I've seen, and thus the combination of light, fruity tastes in the Hendrick's  and its companions in the drink sound quite refreshing. I'd just be careful of having too many while playing, but outside (gasp!) in the summertime I'd be all over this drink like grenade spam from a newbie.
Left 4 Dead: Fresh muddled lime wedges, mango puree, cachaca, shaken and poured over rocks.
I'd say that the Left 4 Dead cocktail reminds me of the caipirinha, or the classic cocktail of Brazil, but honestly, that's probably just due to the cachaca, as this one has no mint in it. Still, it's another fruity drink, this time named after a first person shooter slash survival horror game that emphasizes teamwork for the humans and 28 Days Later-esque "Infected" zombies on the other side, some with grotesque powers, others who will curbstomp you while you're down. Like the zombies, I'd bet this drink would pound your head into the curb if you're not careful. Cachaca can be dangerous stuff.
Warhammer Online: Oronoco rum, freshly squeezed lime, simple syrup and muddled cucumbers, shaken hard poured over ice.
Ya see, we get into a game I'm really, really looking forward to and from a company that's local here to me (EA Mythic, over in Fairfax, all of whom are nice guys and gals the times I've met them) and it has a drink that I'm a bit confused as to how it relates to the game. Warhammer Online is the upcoming PvP-focused MMORPG based off the legendary Games Workshop IP. It's grim but with a sense of British black humor (would that be humour?) to it, and given Mythic's experience with Dark Age of Camelot it should be a lot of fun - and it has been the times I've tried it. Somehow, though, the background, to me, doesn't say "rum", with what almost ends up being kind of a tiki drink here.  I'm not saying it'd be bad, though I may have to leave this one for Marshall to try out.
Dead Space: Maker's Mark, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Disaronno amaretto, served up with a cherry.
What happens if you rip a planet apart and there's something in there? That's the basic premise of Dead Space, the space-horror game that keeps making me think of the ancient ICE title from the 1980s. I'm still up in the air on this game from what I've seen - the big thing being the sci-fi background to it, it seems like they're going for a more hard sci-fi background but then you have a whole premise of mining entire planets by destroying them and a serious lack of natural resources which seems hard to justify (to me). I will admit I haven't seen the whole background story yet but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. The drink, on the other hand, looks really good to me, a variant of the Manhattan  with amaretto added. We used to sometimes add amaretto to our bourbon and cokes in college , but I do have to admit that I'm wondering if they added bitters  to this drink. If not - for shame.
And it better not have been one of those fluorescent red "maraschino" cherries that any good reader of the Den would know isn't a true maraschino cherry. Maybe that's the "horror" aspect of it if it was a fake cherry...
Rock Star: Drink like a rockstar, Skyy citrus, fresh lemon and lime, served sparkling in a tall glass.
If you haven't played Rock Star you're really missing out, it's a heck of a game. Up to four players, with lead guitar, bass, drums, and a singer, it's a great party game. I'm leaving this as quoted from the article because I'm really hoping that they didn't add that horrific "Rockstar" energy drink to the drink. I'm not a huge Skyy  fan, and I'm assuming that by sparkling they're adding club soda or seltzer water or something , but as a light drink this doesn't seem like it'd be overly bad unless you're an anti-vodka fanatic like Marshall. 
Skate It: Jameson, fresh lemon, ginger beer, a touch of blood orange bitters and pomegranate.
I'm going to be honest here. I'm not a skateboarding fan. Sure, I have a long sleeved Tony Hawk t-shirt garnered from E3 one year, and I always seem to end up covering those games at E3 even though I don't like or really understand the appeal to them, but there you go. So I know nothing about Skate It. I don't know if Irish whiskey would really be "skater"  but actually I like the idea of this drink a lot. I'd have to think the Irish will be rather subtle when coupled with the ginger beer  but this is another one that I might have to try to make sometime soon. 
Mass Effect: Fresh basil, Lotus vodka and fresh lime juice served straight up.
Bioware's RPGs have always been a lot of fun and Mass Effect really sucked me in. I've even read the novel twice and will probably buy the sequels. At first glance, a combination of basil, Lotus vodka (I've never heard of Lotus vodka - but according to its website it has a "vitamin vodka" and an "energy (drink) vodka" though the article doesn't say which is used ), and fresh lime juice seems a bit weird for the game, but the more I thought about it the more appropriate it seemed, especially for the more "biotic" characters.
So hey - at least one drink in here listed bitters. I'm betting it was the Stirrings Blood Orange bitters. If anyone out there got a chance to try one I'd love to hear how they are, and as I said, I might try to make one for myself . I just wonder if EA would get mad if I drank an unauthorized one  while playing GTA IV...
 - A benefit dinner for the Museum of the American Cocktail. If you're a cocktail nerd like I am, this was one of the events you simply CANNOT miss, and it was worth every penny.
 - Simple syrup is easy to make - simmer together equal parts water and sugar, let cool. I usually spike mine with a shot of high proof something (vodka or grain, maybe 151 rum) in order to help preserve it. Places that make truly good margaritas never, ever use prepackaged margarita mix. Using fresh lime juice and simple syrup is SO much better.
 - If you've never had Hendrick's Gin, you can't say blankly "Oh, I don't like gin." No, you don't drink gin straight, but Hendrick's is made using things like cucumber and rose petals so it has a completely different flavor profile from any other gin you've ever had. And if you're into cocktails, you know why gin kicks so many different flavors of butt in a cocktail over vodka except in some rather specific circumstances.
 - But not completely really. I mean, yeah, it's a rum drink with some of the right flavors, but I feel like you'd need some orgeat or falernum or something like that to truly make this a tiki drink. But that's just me.
 - The Manhattan is one of the all-time most classic cocktails. It's a ratio of bourbon to sweet vermouth, usually around 2:1 or 3:1, depending on the strength of the relative ingredients. However, it also has bitters in there, and if you don't have the bitters in there, it's simply just not a proper Manhattan. Cocktaildb.com might say aromatic bitters are optional but THEY ARE WRONG. I believe - I can't remember off the top of my head so don't quote me - the usual bitters were Angostura in this, but Fee Bros. Aromatic Bitters and their Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters are quite good in Manhattans, and some people, such as my friend Roy, prefer orange bitters.
 - A combination we'd call a "cherry bourbon and coke" because the combination of flavors tasted like, well, cherry coke.
 - Bitters are an essential ingredient for many cocktails and one that is just now taking back off again. You can't make a proper Sazerac or Manhattan without bitters and the original martinis also included bitters. If you live in Virginia - as I do - you can get Peychaud's Bitters in any VA ABC store, as well as often times find Stirrings Blood Orange bitters. A lot of grocery stores carry Angostura bitters, and many specialty liquor stores (like the ones in the District of Columbia) will carry a lot of the Fee's bitters. I also recommend Regan's Orange Bitters.
 - The "maraschino cherries" you buy in a store are a travesty upon nature and primarily macerated in high fructose corn syrup. If you can't find specialty brands - and don't ask me which kinds, I don't buy 'em - I highly recommend buying your own cherries and soaking them in the proper liquor. Obviously, soaking dried cherries in brandy, bourbon, Grand Marnier, or even maraschino liqueur will work. I've also soaked frozen sweet cherries in the same. Cherries soaked in a mixture of bourbon and Grand Marnier go wonderfully into a Manhattan.
 - Owing to an unfortunate incident in college...
 - It could've also been sparkling wine of some sort though usually a recipe will be clearer about pointing that out.
 - He believes it to be useless except as a preservative. His viewpoint is not unusual in the cocktail community but there are times and places for everything, or at least, so I believe. I typically have one bottle of "normal" vodka (Charodei), but I also have a number of flavored ones, from pre-made (Black Cherry Smirnoff or Absolut Vanilla and Kurrant) to homemade (horseradish-infused Fris vodka, originally for Horseradish Egg Sours but also very nice in bloody marys).
 - Then again, who doesn't like to do Irish whiskey shots? I'm not far out from doing some myself if I let it be my typical Wednesday night (yay kickball!).
 - Note that this is ginger beer, not ginger ALE. Ginger beer is not alcoholic but is typically much spicier. Honestly, once I had it, I had no interest in ginger ale again, at least until I discovered the Fever-Tree ginger ale.
 - I mention this later but the more I think of it the more convinced I am that this must be the Stirrings Blood Orange bitters. Good stuff, Marshall loves to use it in cooking, too.
 - One of the continual problems in cocktail recreations is when people use very specific products in their drinks. I've never even seen Lotus Vodka in the store though I'm betting I wouldn't have known what I was looking at if I saw it. Still, it's not tweaking my nipples enough to make me want to go out and buy yet another bottle of vodka, particularly one with energy drink stuff in it.
 - And not to mention I'd have to figure out the proportions of said drinks.
 - Can EA use SecuROM on their drinks? I bet they would...
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