It was a scorching late afternoon, and my day had been filled with rejection. I needed a drink, but more important, I needed a cool, dark place where I could enjoy one -- preferably off the beaten track so my boss couldn't find me. Hofbrau Steaks (1803 Shepherd, 713-869-7074) fit the bill perfectly. A sign behind the bar read: He left 30 minutes ago, $5; 2 hours ago, $10; haven't seen him, $20; sitting with your girlfriend when your wife walks in -- priceless! Hanging out at Hofbrau were some extremely friendly folks, both behind the bar and in front. Alcohol played a role, I'm sure; the happy-hour crowd looked as if they'd started at lunch. The guy behind me was so drunk he nearly fell off his barstool three times. You've gotta love a place that prints its house specialty drinks -- with names like the Limelight, the Buff, Brandy Cooler and Fuzzy Navel -- on the back of its menu. They get ordered so infrequently, the bartenders have to squint and read the ingredients as if they were making the drinks for the first time. But there's nothing fancy about the cocktail I ordered, just a Texas-size portion of Findlandia and a splash of peppermint schnapps in a sugar-rimmed glass. The glasses aren't fancy, and don't bother looking for a garnish. In fact, the drink was so weird I could stomach only one before going back to my Budweiser and giant plastic carafe of peanuts.
Hofbrau's Texas Lone Star: 3 ounces Finlandia Vodka
1 ounce Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps
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Pour vodka and schnapps into a martini shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled. Spin a martini glass in ice to wet the lip, then lightly coat the rim with sugar. Pour contents into glass. Shake your head at the strange combination and enjoy.