Exp Bar Rises to Our Video Game Cocktail Challenge

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A little bit back I explored the best of the video game-inspired cocktails, and that's how I made the acquaintance Joe Fronczek of Exp Bar, based out of Lewisville, TX. It turns out that there is a huge community of gamers who are also mixologists. Folks like Fronczek and the people behind The Drunken Moogle run fantastic websites that perfectly blend alcoholic brotherhood with gaming camaraderie.

"The nerdy cocktail community is actually quite large," said Fronczek. "We are almost two years in and we have been pushing along and the community has been blossoming and growing larger and larger. It's much bigger than I ever fathomed."

Fronczek began his enterprise at an E3 party for Gears of War 3. He met Carlos Ferro, the voice of Dom, and wanted to have a drink with him. Fronczek knew that the people at Drunken Moogle had already crafted a Gears of War cocktail, but the bar didn't have all the necessary ingredients to produce it.

Undeterred, Fronczek invented a new rum-based concoction on the spot he calls the Domfather. Pleased with the result, he sent it to Drunken Moogle for review, and the success he had with it and other drinks he developed eventually led him to start Exp Bar on tumblr.

Fronczek is actually TABC-certified, and formerly tended a bar in Oklahoma. He doesn't currently work as a tender anymore, preferring to let drinking ramp up his gaming hobby instead.

"I feel that drinking extremely enhances gameplay when playing with friends, said Fronczek. "Nothing is more fun than playing with a group of friends and getting smashed."

After he saw my initial article about nerdy cocktails, he sent me a very nice email thanking me for featuring his God of War cocktail, and for making sure to credit and link to the original source (Note to bloggers and writers: You make a lot more friends this way than just uploading and not shouting out). Fronczek also invited me to make a drink challenge. I had only one character in mind.

My favorite game of all time is Final Fantasy VI. It's got steampunk before that was even cool, a huge cast of characters, great music, one of the last great character class-based battle systems, great graphics, just everything.

However, my favorite character in that game is one who is almost universally reviled. Umaro the Yeti is a secret character found in the second half of the game. You have to beat him in a fight, but once you do he is a loyal and powerful ally.

Umaro is best classed as a berserker. He is uncontrollable, and most of his equipment can't be swapped out. He has three attacks; a regular attack, an ice spell that requires a special relic to use, and he can throw allies at enemies to cause damage. That last one has the added effect of being able to cure sleep and confusion, and Umaro will always show preference for those conditions.

Plus, he comes with the highest attack strength in the game, and one of the best armors automatically equipped, Why don't people love this awesome and adorable character? Because his stats can't be improved on like the other characters. That means that he never really gets any better at all, while as you level up you can make your other party members unstoppable.

Always struck me as a silly way to play, personally. You can easily beat the game at Level 60, where Umaro is perfectly balanced, so why bother tweaking every little stat until you have the RPG equivalent of big-headed nuclear weapons? No, I love the big furry lug, and here was his chance to get a drink named after him thanks to Fronczek.

"Now for the Umaro idea we tinkered around a bit with the idea of drop shots and all sorts of things, but settled on a blended drink," said Fronczek. "He was the biggest character in the series so it had to be massive, and he had a strong blizzard attack so we went with kind of a cool mint, but it actually blends really well."

1.5 oz - Rumple Minze

1.5 oz - Vanilla Rum

1 Cup - Milk

1 Cup - Ice

Splash of vanilla

Place all ingredients into a blender

Blend on high until liquefied

Pour into a tall glass

I was surprised, honestly. I expected vodka for a yeti from the frozen fields of Narshe, not rum. Certainly I didn't anticipate milk, though as he is covered in white fur I most definitely should have.

So with a little reticence I tried out my Umaro. It's got a unique kick, no doubt, to match the yeti's unorthodox attack style. The mint really does mix quite nicely, though you should drink the whole thing pretty rapidly to avoid losing the icy tang. All the vanilla keeps it sweet, just as Mog kept Umaro in line after he tried to beat the party down for stealing his magicite. Thank's Exp Bar, for bringing my yeti to alcoholic center stage!

Jef With One F is a recovering rock star taking it one day at a time. You can read about his adventures in The Bible Spelled Backwards or connect with him on Facebook.

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