Indiana Daily Student

Creative Concoctions

David Wilkerson tosses a can of pineapple juice behind his back and catches it above his shoulder with his other hand. He pours it into a plastic cup, adds half a shot of coconut rum and melon liqueur, and splashes it with grenadine. \nThe drink is a Jamaican Crawler, and Wilkerson's favorite drink to prepare. Wilkerson is the head bartender and office manager for the Bluebird, 216 N. Walnut St., and has been working there for 18 years.\n"When people ask for a suggestion, I suggest that," he says. "It is a weak drink, but very tasty." \nHearing this, Jacob Davis, 23, an audio technology student at IU, decides to follow his suggestion. Wilkerson hands Davis the yellow, green and pink drink he has just prepared. \nDavis, a regular at the Bluebird who tends to show up three times a week, usually drinks rum and Coke or Alabama Slammers, but decided to try something new. He described it as "smooth, sweet and fruity," and something he would order again.\nThe bars around town try to captivate customers by offering extensive lists of alcoholic drinks, ranging from shots to well drinks to straight, hard liquor. Bartenders anxiously take suggestions from students as well as try to create an original drink of their own. Each Bloomington bar has something different and special to offer. For instance, Wilkerson says there is one drink he believes can only be found at the Bluebird. \nThe general manager of the bar, Dave Kubiak, threw it together when he was a bartender. The concoction consists of equal parts of vodka, gin and rum, with Southern Comfort, grenadine and sour, strained over ice. \n"He named it the Woody Hayes Maker, after the Ohio State football coach who was kicked out of the team for striking a player," Wilkerson says. \nThe reason for this name, he says as he laughs, is because it is a drink that is "guaranteed to hit you when you're not looking."\nAnother infamous drink in Bloomington is the Hairy Bear at Bear's Place, 1316 E. Third St. This powerful drink comes in a 32 oz. pitcher and is filled up with two shots of whiskey, two shots of rum and two shots of vodka, as well as cherry grenadine, sour mix, orange juice and sprite, to give it some flavor over the vast amounts of alcohol. \n"It is a convenient party drink because it lasts you a long time," says Melissa Carey, 24, a waitress and bartender at Bear's Place for the past three years.\nCarey, a senior, says the idea for the Hairy Bear came from the old college tradition of having everyone bring hard liquor to a party and dump it all into one container. Ray McConn, the former owner of the bar decided to follow up on that idea and sell it as a mixed drink. He named the drink, and the bar, for his nickname, Bear.\nThe menu describes the Hairy Bear as: "Six shots of liquor mixed with fruit juices. Makes you want to climb tall buildings." \nThe drink is pre-made and ready to serve -- the bartenders are prepared for the high demand each night, especially on Karaoke Thursdays. They sell 14 to 15 gallons of the pink potion on one of those nights, she says. \nOne of these potent drinks is usually more than enough for girls, but with guys it varies, Carey says. "Some of the bigger guys can drink up to three Hairy Bears and walk out fine," she says. Carey says she has noticed that some guys add sugar to improve the flavor, while a great number of girls stir in Sweet'N Low. \nDavis, who used to work at Bear's Place, says it is his favorite bar in town along with the Bluebird. \n"A Hairy Bear is a good get-drunk drink," he says, "but you won't ever drink it if you want something tasty."\nBear's Place even sells a t-shirt in honor of their unique drink. For $20 dollars they offer a Hairy Bear and a shirt that has their logo and the statement: "I survived the Hairy Bear."\nAfter students recover from the Hairy Bear, they can go to Kilroy's Sports Bar, 319 N. Walnut St., and try one of 25 variations of the Long Island Ice Tea or take a spin on the shot wheel. The Shot Wheel is a fortune wheel with 30 of Kilroy's favorite shooters that when spun provides people with a random shot if they can't decide on one, explains Pat Dyer, 23, a bartender and sports communications student.\nA group of five IU students gather around the bar and ask a bartender to spin the wheel. Their luck lands on Surfer on Acid, so they each grab a shot glass, hold them up in the air and then swallow them in one gulp. \n"It was fun," says Ryan Lindstrom, 22, a fifth year economics student. "But it went down so fast I couldn't really savor it."\nAs for the Long Island Ice Teas, Dyer says the Tye-Dye is the most popular and unique because "it tastes good and has visual appeal," Dyer says. "The first night I came out when I turned 21, I came to Sports and had a Tye-Dye." He finds it amusing that he now serves them to other students. \nTye-Dyes are a mixture of rum, vodka, triple sec, sour and Sprite. Its swirled appearance of red, green and blue come from splashes of grenadine, melon liquor and blue curacao, respectively.

But Lindstrom says a drink is made up by more than just its ingredients. \n"All bars have mostly the same alcohol," Lindstrom says, " but it's the bartender and how he serves that makes the difference."\nThe bartenders at Nicks English Hut are among the best, he says.\nAt Nicks (423 E. Kirkwood Ave.), the most popular drinks are the well drinks because they are the cheapest, says Jay Cotton, 28, a bartender and computer science major. The highest selling are the vodka tonics, and the most sought after are the four staple alcohols which are vodka, gin, rum and tequila, he says.\nThe bar also sells 16 oz. Nicks Specialty Drinks. They are the Yellow Birds, Nick's Slings, Blow Torches and Swimmer's Delight, and all are concoctions with a variety of alcohols and flavorings. \nCotton notices that in general, "girls go for flavored and mixed alcohols, while guys go for straight liquor shots."\nWhen it comes to unique and one-of-a-kind drinks, Uncle Festers House of Blooze has been specializing in making these since it opened less than three years ago.\nTravis Darlage, 27, a bartender at Uncle Festers (430 E. Kirkwood Ave.) since its early months, says they know how to make about 20 specialty drinks there. A good one, he says, is the Duck Fart. Another bartender at Festers came up with this Kalhua and Jose Cuervo tequila shot for Darlage's birthday last October. \n"It was intended to be a prank shot to make me sick," he says, "but it turned out to be good."\nAnother shot invented a couple years ago by a bartender at Uncle Festers is the Pentagram. He threw together Bacardi 151, Wild Turkey 101, well tequila, Tanqueray Gin, Rumpleminz and tabasco sauce to produce the bar's strongest and worst tasting drink, Darlage says.\n"There's not a worse shot in the world that you could take," he says.\nThe bartenders at Festers enjoy being creative and are constantly trying to mix up new drinks and shots. \n"We want to create new and tantalizing tastes for the delicate palette and drinker extraordinaire," Darlage says. "Then again, there is always the rule that if you don't know how to make a certain drink, pour some juice in and make it look red. No one will know the difference"

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