Troy Fields

Sometimes these things just write themselves...I knew it was karaoke night the moment I got out of my car at The Usual (5519 Allen St., 281-501-1478) on a recent Thursday night. There's nothing quite like the sound of drunk white chicks crucifying Motown's finest. They always go in groups, always giggling. Safety in numbers. I guess misery loves accompaniment. I settled in to watch a skinny, apparently tone-deaf biker in Buddy Holly glasses drunkenly butcher Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, complete with Old School-style f-bombs. He partially redeemed himself later with a decent take on the painfully long Bat Out Of Hell by Meat Loaf. His biker buddy assumed his best Guitar Hero stance and shredded on air guitar. Shine on, you crazy diamonds. Stardom awaits you...on Montrose. Finally, the obligatory country boy-turned-rap star took the stage and it was almost time for me to chirp out. During a pause in the microphone feedback, I ordered "The Usual," as the bartender had recommended. It tasted good. It will taste even better in warm weather, when you can retreat to The Usual's outdoor patio, far, far away from the karaoke dream team.

1½ ounces Absolut mandarin vodka

Cranberry juice


The Usual

Splash of orange juice

Fill a shaker with ice and add vodka. Fill with cranberry juice. Add a splash of OJ. Shake and serve on the rocks in a pint glass. Bring earplugs.

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