Sitting at the bar on a quiet night at the Big Easy (5731 Kirby, 713-523-9999), it feels like you're a one-armed dwarf and an exotic dancer away from being in a Tom Waits song. Something about the music, empty space and Mardi Gras lights gives it that shore-leave-gone-wrong flavor. Behind me, a couple of regulars are listening to the seasoned Howard and Art ("The coolest guys on Kirby Drive") stroll through a set of instrumental blues numbers.
I ask bartender Hamilton to make my buddy and me an interesting drink. He can't remember the name of the thing he wants to mix, even after calling a couple colleagues, so he settles on Origo Malum. The deep-brown concoction he presents in pint glasses looks like pure evil, and it tastes like weird root beer. It's a challenge to finish. My friend Chaser, an ex-Marine and illegal-knife enthusiast, calls it "a little rough." Another friend, Mills, shows up halfway through the round, and we ask him to guess the ingredients: "Drano, Uranium-235, dead babies..." All right, it's not that awful, just sort of harsh. The drink actually imparts nice lacing. And some of the best bonding is done over bad decisions, right? Keep telling yourself that.
1 ounce Jägermeister liqueur
1 ounce Sunny Brook whiskey
10 ounces Tecate
2 ounces cola or Saint Arnold root beer
Pour the Jägermeister and whiskey in a pint glass, followed by the beer and the cola. Repent.