Ethan showed up for his construction industry job at 8 a.m., got laid off at 9 a.m. and, 12 hours later, went to go get drunk with me. After some Irish calisthenics (shots of Tullamore Dew) at his efficiency apartment, we went to nearby Maple Leaf Pub (514 Elgin, 713-520-6464) and sat at a table next to the big windows facing Smith Street. He seemed to be taking the hit well, probably because he's pessimistic enough to feel validated when bad things happen to him. While he talked about his prospects, the best of which seemed to be an ex-girlfriend's couch in Salt Lake City, I listened and observed the Maple Leaf's weeknight milieu. There were two Asian guys sipping whiskey at the horseshoe bar; a long and lean brunette rubbing herself on a fellow yuppie to a Jay-Z song; and a girl in a Misfits shirt playing darts across the room with a couple of unseen opponents. And, this being a Canadian place, there was hockey on TV; hockey jerseys on the walls; that old-school foosball-style hockey game in the corner; and an actual penalty box with a table and two chairs for when you're acting up, or for when you just want a private place where you and a friend can talk about how much you fucking love hockey. I'm indifferent toward the sport, but I do enjoy drinking away negative feelings, so I told Ethan I'd get him something special from the bar. Bartender Mario came up with a drink using orange juice and a spirit the Maple Leaf just got in, a French vodka flavored like whipped cream. He called it a New Creamsicle, and it did taste like the frozen treat it's named after. Ethan told me it was too girly. I told Ethan the first rule of unemployment: Never badmouth free booze.
1½ ounces Pinnacle whipped cream-
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¾ ounces Stolichnaya vanilla vodka
1 ounce orange juice
Shake over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.