Mixing a Beer 

If you are a beer purist, the kind who appreciates the subtle differences between lagers and porters, pilsners and stouts, stop reading now. Go away. I don't want you to read what I'm about to say. Besides, appreciating an extremely cold, clear beer--yes, it was my idea to start Boise Weekly's annual Coldest Beer in Boise contest despite those beer snobs who yell and scream that beer shouldn't be ice cold--I also like beer cocktails. Yes, I said beer cocktails. Beer mixed with spirits and other juices. "Blasphemy!" you say? Well, with Thanksgiving weekend upon us, I want to prepare you for the relatives who give you the evil eye as you drink your umpteenth can of beer while lazing in the La-Z-Boy in front of the big game. A drink in a glass might, just might, make them think you're taking a break on the beer. It's worth a shot. And speaking of shots, try a Skip & Go Naked, which is a glass of beer with a shot of gin, lemon juice and a dash of sugar. Of course, if you actually skip and go naked, the relatives will definitely give you the eye. If you're lucky, they might even leave. The next morning, if Cousin Teetotaler is still around, you can have a Red Eye, which is basically a Bloody Mary with beer instead of vodka. If you avoid the salad fixin's in the glass, you might be able to get away with it at breakfast by calling it tall glass of tomato juice. On the other hand, if you want the full-on dramatic "I'm drinking booze so leave me alone" effect, go full bore with the Flaming Dr. Pepper. This concoction requires a ceremonial process. Take a shot glass and fill it with Amaretto. Then you pour a dash of Bacardi 151 or similar overproof spirit and light the thing on fire. When the flames flare up, drop the shot glass into a beer. When the fire goes out--a critical step--you slam the whole thing down. It tastes like its namesake, which is pretty cool.

--Bingo Barnes

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