I have a habit of watching bad late-night TV, especially when it involves sets of 87 knives for the low, low price of $99. They almost hooked me during a Krazy Katana special, but I opted to spend my money at Kay's Lounge (2324 Bissonnet, 713-521-0010) instead. I've been coming here for years, but they've only recently started pouring liquor. It's no coincidence that the crowd has changed too; much like a new sushi restaurant in Midtown, the introduction of Red Bull and Jägermeister to a beer bar attracts a certain breed of young, Texan pseudo-professional. After squeezing through the throng of impatient Vuittonites, I ask the busy bartender for Three Wise Men, a surprisingly palatable combination of whiskey and bourbon that helps to mute my surroundings. As I wonder where the normal weekday crowd is hiding, a guy to my left strikes up a conversation, later offering to go in the back and make me a pizza. My new best friend Scott is the kind of regular who answers "Do you work here?" with "I don't not work here" as he casually pours himself a drink. He'd been sitting by the door with Tim, another patron, who tells us he used to work elbow-deep in tomato sauce at a rural Illinois Pizza Palace, circa 1988: "We mixed the sauce with our forearms...I had to be careful about open sores because the tomatoes would make them sting." Though no longer hungry, I stick around for a few yarns about Scott's friend, celebrity chef Bobby Flay. A few hours and 30 stories later, the crowd is gone, the pace slows down and the only whining at the bar is from Merle Haggard's guitar just the way it should be.
1/2 ounce Jim Beam bourbon whiskey
1/2 ounce Jack Daniels whiskey
1/2 ounce Johnny Walker Black Scotch whiskey
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Pour over ice, swish to combine.