Well, there is one thing he's firm on -- the drink is always straight up or on the rocks with salt. Oh, the frozen stuff is fun, sure, but when you've seen an entire wall of frozen margarita machines, each with its own amazing flavor, you kinda realize yeah. You're drinkin a Booze Slushie and you didn't even do the trick from college where you poured the cheapest tequila you could find into a Slurpee.
Some times, though, there ain't nothin wrong with that.
So what the hell were we doing at the Outback Steakhouse a few nights ago? Well, we weren't going for Margarita Bob's favorite margaritas, that's for sure ("those are ok as long as they remember that booze goes in there too") but the cheese fries are plentiful and it was next door to the crazy parking lot carnival, so it was close. And it was there that Margarita Bob met his match with one of the foulest drinks ever encountered -- so foul, in fact, it's the second most foul drink ever witnessed gone down a gullet, the worst being that melon/prosciutto martini in 2005 (which would have been okay, possibly, what with the idea of the saltiness and the melon flavor, but it didn't work AT ALL and the prosciutto-wrapped melonball garnish was just absolutely freakin' horrid.)
But anyway! The only thing you really need to know before you venture forth is that Margarita Bob is a reckless danger-seeker and daredevil. He's also a sucker for a bet that involves free booze.
Here's Margarita Bob. Nice fellow, isn't he? The kind of guy you'd want to give shoeboxes full of hundred dollar bills. Good guy. Enjoys his booze.
Now here comes the story. While perusing the Outback Steakhouse menu, Margarita Bob and another person who shall be known in this tale as The Bad Influence (TBI for short) discover that there is a brand-new drink on the menu. My, my! What could it be?
In case that's too blurry to read, that there's a Pineapple-Chipotle Margarita listed on the menu. A what?! Yeah. You read right. This is all because right now Chipotle is the rage. You know, chipotle, that crazy-ass smoked pepper which has supplanted the Sun-Dried Tomato as well as Gorgonzola as the Ingredient That Restaurants Are Goin' All Crazy About. Additionally, it is the Trendy Ingredient Nobody Can Pronounce Correctly.
Technically, it shouldn't be a margarita because there's no lime, but then again this is the restaurant that thinks it's fun to use outdated Australian slang for the names of dishes, so you know they have a problem with putting accurate names on things. I mean, one of their signature desserts is called "Chocolate Thunder From Down Under." Now, really.
We knew it couldn't be an elaborate joke on part of the restaurant, as the last time we all congregated there, pomegrantes were the In Thing, and at the urging of those at the table, Miss Lynn bravely ordered the Pomegrante-Red Bull Daquiri or whatever the hell it was they were serving at the time. It was pretty terrible. I think that Outback Steakhouse corporate has this cuh-razy machine what picks a random ingredient and matches it with another. Either that or they really get their jollies by creating a rotating selection of terrible drinks which should exist only to play a part in a bet.
And a bet it was. As Margarita Bob perused the drink menu he commented, with extreme skepticism bordering on outright scorn, that if anything this drink is doomed because nobody would be caught dead ordering it. And that's when The Bad Influence threw down the gauntlet:
If Margarita Bob could order the Pineapple-Chipotle Margarita with a straight face and finish the entire thing, The Bad Influence would pay for it.See how bad this Bad Influence is? Will lead you right down the rocky road to perdition, I'm telling you.
Well, when the waitress comes up, Margarita Bob took a deep breath, looked her in the eye and in the most genteel fashion, indicated that he would have the Pineapple-Chipotle Margarita, straight up, if you please.
And then The Bad Influence couldn't keep it in anymore, and burst out laughing. Then we all had to explain to the waitress what was going on, and the bet that was underway. The waitress was already leery for reasons I cannot remember, but at any rate, Margarita Bob had indeed passed the first part of the bet (and if he had burst out laughing too, would've called for an immediate disqualification on the grounds that The Bad Influence had started laughing first.)
Then the drink arrived and the game was on.
From the outside of the glass, it didn't look so bad, except for the fact that about 3/4 of the volume was taken up by a giant piece of pineapple I swear they had to fold in half to get in there. The rest was a dubious-looking almost-margarita-y substance. Oh, and a cherry on top. It was all so innocuous. Where's the hell? Where's the fumes? Where's the pock marks on the wooden table where the drink spilled? Where's the manager on duty racing to the computer in the back office and sending an email to Corporate saying "WE FINALLY SOLD ONE OF THESE, SEND US THE TROPHY"?
Margarita Bob is at first taken aback, but quickly realizes he could take this drink on and win. Especially since the bar staff isn't hanging around looking on and making side bets. (Margarita Bob takes their absence as a good sign. Was it folly?)
A quick check is made to ensure that there aren't actually pieces of chipotle peppers floating around in the drink. Thankfully, are none. Just half of Hawaii's annual pineapple export.
A prayer is said to Bacchus, seeking forgiveness for the alcoholic transgression which is about to be consumed. And also, would you mind sending some of those Rubenesque nymphs around this way? Oh, you have only Maenads right about now? Oh, okay then. Never mind. It's time to drink.
The first sip. A crucial moment in the bet.
And the tasting. No smell of almonds, no painful death in 15 seconds, okay, it's safe. Just not particularly tasty. At this point The Bad Influence asks for a sip and is given one. The verdict from the other side of the table? "Yeah, you go have fun with that."
Margarita Bob begins to ponder if this is karmic payback for making Miss Lynn order the Pomegrante-Red Bull stuff lo those many months ago.
Nevertheless, one must soldier on.
While Margarita Bob looks as if he's about to inhale through his mouth to bring out the flavor, he's not. For one, he does not have the benefit of a spit bucket and for two, this really wasn't a flavor you want to bring out. The pineapple and tequila was okay, but the chipotle was saved for the aftertaste. Oh, that's bad form.
So far the drink has been all right. It's not a very good drink, and not one to order again and again, and honestly this one was a bit light on the tequila so far -- so far? Oh, yeah! One sec, Margarita Bob!
Caution! Contents May Settle! The drink's been standing on its own for so long, what with the staring and the pondering and the chuckling n'hey, that specific gravity has begun to take its toll and the ingredients have separated. No wonder it tasted weak on the tequila. The good stuff's down there, right? Right. And as with any good drink, you really do need to take a cross-section sip, don't you? Of course you do. Thankfully, Margarita Bob The Plasmavore brought his straaaaaaaaaw.
He takes a big straw-swig from near the bottom of the glass...
...and ends up with a mouthful of strong chipotle-flavored pineapple pulp. It is quite possibly one of the nastiest substances one could ever voluntarily put in one's mouth. This is definitely payback for the Pomegrante-Red Bull. It is also the highlight of The Bad Influence's day.
Good lord. The chipotle didn't even wait for the aftertaste this time. Margarita Bob's mouth was turning peppery and he was having a hard time getting the pulp down, because there was no way in hell he was gonna chew that stuff and he had conveniently neglected to ensure there was no water chaser nearby. Or maybe he made that decision on his own. HARDCORE.
Yeah, right. Hardcore with that expression?
Finally he finishes the horrid mouthful, but at what cost? Poor Margarita Bob! Betrayed by a drink! This is his darkest hour, sitting and sadly pondering the cruelties of the bar. How could this be? How could such delicious ingredients be placed in such a jolly glass and then ruined by adding smoked peppers? Why is the world such a bad place? Who could ever enjoy such a thing? Daddy, what's Vietnam?
Eh, screw it. If you're gonna finish it, you finish it. Rip the Band-Aid off your hairy leg and get it over with.
And it's done. Finished! Margarita Bob has won! This picture is shown larger than the others so you can see that, indeed, someone has made All Gone. Margarita Bob met his match, all right (note the exhausted expression, the dazed look in his eyes) but he overcame adversity and horrible-tasting sludge and saved himself $7.50 or $8.50 or however much they had the audacity to charge for it.
Thankfully the thought of the County's Largest Garnish hadn't come up when the bet was made, so eating the fruit and the rest of the pulp was not a condition of winning. Besides, that stuff is soaked with the drink. It's Sangria Of The Damned. (Wait, is that a lime in there too? Was it placed there to satisfy the Vague Margarita requirement?)
And a final, defiant, "up yours!" to the vanquished drink. There would be a middle finger prominently displayed in this picture, but there were kids in the booth behind the photographer and Mr. Bob did not want to corrupt their tender little minds by displaying a single upraised finger. Why, that could just very well ruin a childhood right then and there and lead them down a road where, twenty-five years later, they could be sitting at a restaurant being dared to order a terrible drink.
So. Verdict time. Ready to go, Margarita Bob?
What's your final take on the taste?
Was it worth it?
It was free. You tell me.
Is it still true that all free booze tastes better cause it's free?
No, that's "all free beer tastes better cause it's free." "Beer" is the qualifier precisely for this reason.
Would you have another one?
That's like asking a Hodgkin’s disease survivor if they'd like another lump in the lymph nodes.
Even if it was free?
I don't think you have to pay for lumps in the lymph nodes, either.
Were the cheese fries at least good?
There you have it, folks. Survival of the Thirstiest. Please do not try this at home. Mostly because I don't want you to start shovin pineapples in places where pineapples shouldn't go, then adding peppers.