With apologies to those who had legitimately rough childhoods, the Houston Oilers damn near scarred me for life as a kid. I've actually blocked out some of the more traumatic episodes from my memory. Grim hospital visits, dead pets, divorce — all that stuff is clear, but I couldn't tell you how I reacted to their 1992-93 wild card loss to the Bills, because despite being nine years old, I don't remember. (Apparently it wasn't pretty.) That's why nowadays I try to take in big match-ups — like the Texans' Monday night game versus my former team, now the Tennessee Titans — surrounded by the calmative influences of friends and booze.
Ernie's on Banks (1010 Banks, 713-526-4566), with its clubhouse-like upstairs room, is perfect for these occasions. My group staked out a table by the balcony, and I tried to relax. After Texans kicker Kris Brown missed his first field goal, it was time for a shot. Bartender Jenna recommended something she and bar back Herman developed, a nameless variation on a Washington Apple. It wound me down a bit, and a second round helped me repress the familiar bad feelings after Brown missed yet another kick and cemented a close Houston loss. An irate Texans fan and a young dart player in a rugby shirt nearly got in a fight over Noam Chomsky's theory of transformational grammar, or possibly over whether quarterback Matt Schaub is a pussy. Either way, I wasn't the angriest person in the room, and the shot was nameless no longer.
3/4 ounce Ron Rio rum
3/4 ounce DeKuyper Sour Apple
Splash DeKuyper Watermelon
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Splash Red Bull
Splash cranberry juice
Shake over ice and strain into a shot glass. Goes well with heartbreak.