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Sex on the Beach, Pousse-cafe, and other incongruous beverages

Just what we need to keep the world in perspective

Sex on the Beach is a damn delicious drink
  • Sex on the Beach is a damn delicious drink
  • QUAYSIDE/iStock/Getty images plus

Dear Hipster:

A while ago, I went to a bar that has a reputation for divey-ness. I won’t say which one, because I get the sense that would be unhip, but suffice to say the place wasn’t exactly trending on the Eater Heatmap or blowing up the social media profiles of so-called local “influencers.” Anyways, I was there with a few friends who were all drinking the most basic well drinks available, and I thought it would be hilarious to order something kind of frilly and 1980s, so I said, “Let me get a Sex on the Beach, please.” Of course, Mr. Bartender kind of raised an eyebrow at me, and I’m guessing he was none too happy at having to root around for a bottle of peach schnapps. But the damn drink was delicious. 10/10 would order again. At the time, I sort of expected to catch shit from the bartender, maybe he would say, like, “Are you sure you don’t want me to just get you a beer?” but it was actually my friends who were the least impressed by my clever joke. One of them even told me I was “just being a pain in the ass.” I find that weird. I mean, maybe I misjudged the situation, but it’s not like I usually order incongruous beverages. I would have thought it was good for a laugh. So, answer me this, hipster, if I order an “Appletini, easy on the ‘tini” (Dr. John Dorian) style the next time I’m in my favorite bar, is it on me if nobody gets the joke, or do I need to school my crew on humor?

— D

I have a memory of a line of dialogue from some movie where one of the characters wanted to order a sex on the beach and a bean burrito at some restaurant or bar or something. I can’t remember the exact details, like what movie it came from, or what actor said the line. Maybe it’s a fake memory, like something I conjured up in my head so I could have something clever to riff on for this column. I wouldn’t put it past me. If it’s real, it’s so obscure that even I, master of obscure pop culture references, cannot recall the source. It’s so obscure I couldn’t even google it, which, if I’m being honest, is the lowest thing I can cop to. Among us professional bastions of obscure pop culture errata, having to google the answer to some trivial inquiry is tantamount to giving up on life.

Regardless, I like your style. That kind of randomness and incongruity is just what we need to keep the world in perspective. In Jailbird, a 1979 Kurt Vonnegut novel that touches ever so Vonnegut-ly on the Watergate scandal, the narrator-protagonist, upon his release from prison, orders a Pousse-cafe from a bartender because it’s one of the few drinks he knows of, having learned about it in an online correspondence course about bartending. I mention this so you can have something really unusual and annoying to order next time you want to drive your friends up the wall. But don’t blame me if the bartender stabs you in the trachea with one of those little plastic swords or paper umbrellas they put in the tiki drinks at Chinese restaurants. Worth it!

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