As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our weekly segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.
As I write this, it has been a week since Prince died. And I still keep thinking that this didn’t happen. I feel like we are all going to wake up tomorrow and there is going to be some kind collective hypnosis from which we will emerge and, boom…Prince will be here and everything that’s happened since he died never occurred.
But I don’t believe in that kind of hocus pocus. Prince is gone and Goddamn if I don’t feel sad about it. I have seen a lot of famous and influential musicians die during my lifetime. John Lennon. Kurt Cobain. Lemmy from Motorhead. The list goes on and on. And it will continue to grow: the Grim Reaper has had a field day in 2016, and there are still eight months left in the year.
Yet, with all the names who have made music I have loved, and who have died, the passing of only two has caused me to feel genuine sadness:
–Alex Chilton. If you have never heard of Big Star, then you must cease whatever it is you are doing right now and find the song “September Gurls“. Listen to it. Then listen and to it again. It is, without question, the single-greatest pop-rock song ever written. Few songs have made my jaw literally drop, and “September Gurls” is on that short list. If he had never done anything else, “September Gurls” puts Alex Chilton in Hall of Fame. Oh, he also sang “The Letter” for the Box Tops when he was 16 years old.
I don’t know how to go into it without resulting to hyperbole. Prince was great. The first song of his I became familiar with was “Little Red Corvette” (Courtesy of the late, early-80s TBS video show “Night Tracks”. We didn’t get MTV until at least 1984). And in the three decades since, Prince was one of the only musicians who, when one of his songs came on the radio, or he was on TV, everything would stop. You didn’t change the station and you didn’t leave the room. You listened and watched.
Because he was Prince. He was Prince. And he ruled.
Look at the bullets he had in his belt: In addition to “Little Red Corvette” there was “1999”, “Delirious”, “Purple Rain”, “Let’s Go Crazy”, “When Doves Cry”, “Raspberry Beret”, “Kiss”, “Sign Of The Times”, “U Got The Look”. “Alphabet Street”. “Batdance” (Yes, even “Batdance”), “Gett Off”, “Diamonds and Pearls”, “Cream”, “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World”…And that’s just some of the hits and only until the mid-90s. Nothing sounded like anything else and all of it sounded like no one else could do it.
I remember turning on VH1 Classic a few years back and there was a gang of musicians on stage playing George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne were there. Steve Winwood was on the Hammond organ. Harrison’s son Dhani was also there strumming the song’s chords.
But there was some guy playing a guitar solo that sounded like it came from Mars via the Moscow subway and chased after by a mountain lion. I really don’t know what that means, but I do know that it’s batshit crazy and so was the solo being played. For a while, I had no idea who was tearing this song apart.
And when I finally did, there was only one possible response:
“HOLY SHIT! That’s PRINCE!”
Yeah, watch it again. As my seven-year-old daughter said, “Daddy, this is the one where he wipes the floor with everyone!” And indeed, Prince did just that.
Prince always did just that.
But for as much as I have loved Prince’s music, I have to make a confession…I have never owned a Prince record. Not an album. Not a 45. Not one digital download. And I can’t for any logical reason speculate as to why. For example, “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” is probably my third or fourth-favorite song of the 1990s. It sends a chill down my spine every time I hear it. It’s thrilling and inspiring. It makes me think of my wife, as it should. And yet you won’t find it in my CD collection on my iTunes library.
I have also never seen “Purple Rain” from start to finish. Maybe I was more into “Footloose” back in 1984?
I work maybe 50 yards from the Paramount Theater in Oakland where Prince kicked off his recent “Piano and a Microphone” tour in late February. He did two shows in one night. I didn’t go to either one. It would have cost my wife and I $200 for two tickets, plus whatever a babysitter would have charged. I figured if I was going to see Prince, then I wanted to see PRINCE, with his full Purple Gang band in tow. I figured I’d catch him next time.
Then Prince died. And I have been banging my head on the table since.
Since then, I have spent much of my free time looking for Prince videos online and listening to as much of Prince’s music as I can get my ears on. His Super Bowl halftime performance from a few years ago. The times he was on “Saturday Night Live“. When he was on “Muppets Tonight“. That one episode of “New Girl“.
And I thought it appropriate to have a drink in Prince’s honor, too. But choosing something wasn’t as easy as just going to the fridge and grabbing a can of Bud (which I wouldn’t drink in anyone’s honor, anyway). Besides, Prince didn’t seem like a beer guy. Whiskey sounded too strong/southern. As much as I like good gin and tequila, I couldn’t picture Prince with a Tom Collins or a Margarita.
But there, in the refrigerator drawer, where one would normally keep their produce, turned out to be my answer. Ketel One vodka. A good reputation, for sure. And something that really only comes out a couple of times a year. That would be the basis of the cocktail.
Where to go from there? I scoured the fridge. We had some raspberries, so I thought about throwing them in a glass and creating a “Raspberry Beret”. But mushed up raspberries didn’t seem to jive with what I wanted to achieve. I looked for anything else that would make a “Little Red Corvette”, whatever the hell that would be.
And then I found a bottle of Boylan’s Grape Soda. And there was my answer. I know the name can’t be original, and that there probably are other drinks using this title, but this is my Purple Rain…
Fill a glass with ice
2 oz. Ketel One vodka
Boylan’s Grape Soda
1 Tbsp. Grenadine
Squeeze in juice of one fresh lime
Stir and drink while listening to your favorite Prince song. While you’re at it, feel free to make it a double on both the drink and the music.