We are taking out all the stops today. Going hell-bent for leather and riding off into a cultural reference sunset. This drink has everything. Well, not everything, but it has got a lot of stuff and it is topical. People love topical things. So we are gonna work around National Coffee Day, biblical quotes, The Big Lebowski, the second most famous Thor and even the impending great debate. How are we going to fit that all in to one drink? Well, if you want to find out, won’t you please join me as we stand and make Donnie’s Element.
This drink was created by Chris Day at Oakland’s famed Kon-Tiki bar. I have not yet darkened their door, but someday when the world is open again, I will be there. I had a book about Thor Heyerdahl and the voyage of the Kon-Tiki when I was a wee lad, so I always get distracted when I hear that name. Little boy dreams of crossing the Pacific in a boat made of reeds flash back, but luckily the adult me lifts a huge cup of no to that particular adventure. In all honesty, I am not a huge fan of small boats on big water. Anyway, this is a unique tiki-esque drink with a Big Lebowski reference in the title. Let’s get it made and then we can break down why it is a great drink for today.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of Spiced Rum, I went with Corsair because it is the best I have found; 1/2 an ounce of coffee liqueur, St. George NOLA, for us; 1/2 an ounce of banana liqueur, I went with Giffard’s Banana du Bresil; 1 1/2 ounces of coconut cream and 2 stabs of Doctor Elmegirab’s Orinoco Aromatic Bitters. Add some ice and give it a good shake to the beat of “Hotel California“, but not The Eagles, man; try the Gipsy Kings. Pour over pebble ice into a lovely example of the tiki vessel genre, maybe something with some Dude-esque shades, and garnish with grated cinnamon, Kona coffee beans and pineapple fronds, maybe one of those cool handblown bamboo glass straws from Surfside Sips, just for kicks.
This is lovely, isn’t it? Smooth and balanced, nice coffee flavor, a little sweet, a little boozy. That banana really pulls the drink together. This one could be dangerous. I mean these could sneak up on you. Kinda like Donnie in the back of the scenes in the Big Lebowski, this drink is pretty unassuming. Donnie doesn’t really affect the action, but a few of these cocktails would definitely make a change in your game. Speaking of Donnie, did you know that there is a fan theory that he is, actually, the ghost of one of Walter’s buddies who died in Vietnam. Yeah, seriously. It kind of checks out too, there are only two times that he is actually acknowledged by the Dude, and both of those could be explained away.
Walter, on the other hand, talks to him all the time, mostly to yell the quote that gives this drink its name, “You’re out of your element, Donnie!“ We use that one at the office all the time. Seriously, all the time. If you miss the tiniest reference or walk into a meeting late, you are called out for being out of your element. We even have a shorthand version, where you can just refer to anyone as Donnie, the cluelessness is implied.
There you go a lovely coffee based tiki drink for National Coffee Day, the Dude would approve, or at least he’d abide. Did you know that line about the Dude abiding is yet another nod to Ecclesiastes. Seriously, it’s the surprisingly nonpreachy book of the Bible that just keeps giving, it is also my favorite, if any reporters out there care. That is not too personal for me to share. Anyway, it is right there in Chapter 1, Verse 4 “One generation passes away, and another generation comes: but the earth abides forever.” I guess the Dude can be a metaphor for the earth here, nothing wrong with that sentiment. It would be kinda great to see him in the presidential debate tonight, just chilling, making sure that this aggression will not stand. Instead we get the best our country has to offer these days, a couple of crusty old dudes about as far from the Dude as you can get. Maybe they’ll have a substantive discussion about their views for the direction our country should go and their plans on how to most effectively get us there. Maybe they’ll just yell a lot or fling some poo. My money is on the yelling, a bunch of “alternative facts” and blaming other folks. Yeah, Donnie will be right in his element. I don’t care who you like in the election. I want you to vote, no matter who you prefer because for democracy to work we all need to be involved. Let’s not have another election where “did not vote” actually won both the popular vote and the electoral college. That said, isn’t it a shame that of all the folks out there, about 230 million of us who are old enough to run, these two guys are the best choices we have? That these two old men best represent the people who make up this vibrant nation. Yeah, I’m not buying it. I’d have more faith in the Dude, taking it easy for all us sinners. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.