Every time I walk into a mixology bar, I’m overwhelmed by a sense of the uncanny. It took me a while to place it—I’ve never mixed anything fancier than a whiskey and soda in my life, at least so I thought. But that changed after I babysat my nephew David T., a third grader from Saginaw, Michigan, whom I caught adding mustard to his sister’s Kool-Aid.
That’s when it hit me. There’s nothing new about creative drink mixing. It’s been popular in school cafeterias since the first Hawaiian Punch was poured into a carton of chocolate milk. If you really want cutting-edge innovation, you’re not going to find it in some trendy bar. You need to hit a public school lunchroom.
Here are a few of David T.’s favorites:
1. Spicy Kool-Aid. “It can be any flavor. It can be any Kool-Aid you want, if you want green, it can be green. We don’t have green or blue. So it can be red. I like to put mustard in it at the bottom. And then you have to mix it up. No, like this. But it doesn’t mix up too good. That’s why you have to give it another squirt. And you have to shake it or you just get the juice.”
2. The Suicide. “I’m supposed to call it mixed-up drink, but at school, other kids, everybody calls it the suicide. Mom doesn’t like when I use that word. But it kills you! Well, I don’t know anybody who died from it, but if you don’t die you can still get poisoned. It’s all the flavors of Kool-Aid together, which is very dangerous. It’s very dangerous because it turns brown or purple.”
3. Water with Pickle Juice and Milk. “I like to start with water and then pickle juice is added later. Water is a good start because you can always drink it. Then, um, then you have to add milk. Like this. Then stir it up more. This was my dad’s cup, but I like it best now. See? Okay, I don’t know what else to do. This is gross. I’m sorry.”
4. Toilet Water. “Okay, do you know what this is?”
“Did you just get that in the bathroom, David?”
[Hysterical laughter for, like, 15 minutes. We temporarily take a break from the interview.]
5. Cologne and Milk. “We still have all these. I found them under the sink. It’s good if you want the milk to smell a certain way. I like it because…I just do! I like the way it smells. I’m not supposed to spray it around the house. That’s why we have to be outside for this, because if Mom smells it she gets mad. Also you can’t drink the milk after this, but that’s why I sometimes call it my evil doctor drink. This is a good one for poison.”
6. Hose Water and Sugar. “This is best with the hose water because it tastes more cold to me. Here, look, the hose is a snake! Ahh! Now it’s biting you! Ahh! Wait, no, stop! That’s not how you do it. You can’t put it around your neck like that. Stop. I want to go back inside.”
7. Brain Potion. “I have potions I make, too. I use this pot but I can’t put it on the stove, even in pretend, so I do it here. I know a lot of good potions for your brain. Give me, no, yes, the milk. I use a lot of milk in brain potions. Some are good when you want to be really smart, like, Oh yeah! I know the answer! Some are good if you just need to remember stuff. I forget a lot. Well, like school stuff a little, I guess. And what people look like. It’s hard if you don’t have a picture, because, people are faces! So I make brain potion to remember. I know it’s just pretend, though. So, maybe I will forget. I never made a potion for that, but maybe I will. A forgetful potion, completely forgetful. But I guess that would be pretend, too.”
Photo by Rainier Zenz (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Senf-3.jpg) via Wikimedia Commons.