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And the Valley Drinks: Don’t Shame My Whiskey Mixer, Bro

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Folks, there is nothing wrong with simplicity.

This much is sure: the fine gentlemen and gentlewomen (gentlefolk?) of this website have proven their splendid taste over the years. If you click the article tag above, you will find a trove of lovely drink creations and inspired food recipes that will make you want to die in a coffin of butter, booze, and grease. Not the worst way to go.

But I am not here today to fancify your tastes. I want you — yes you, the cheap-booze-swilling, hot-dog-inhaling tailgater — to know: it’s okay.

There will be no drink shaming here, dear friend, for this is a safe tailgating space.

Ever since I can remember, the Branch family has been a bourbon-drinking clan. In my early teens, I remember being at a restaurant in Baton Rouge and my father politely asking the waitress to send his cocktail back to the bar for another splash of Jack Daniels, because his drink “looked a little too light.” I stan a legend.

In the decade-plus since, that hasn’t changed. And those tastes have been inherited by yours truly. My favorite cocktail? A bourbon and 7UP/Sprite. Well, diet 7UP, because I am now #washed.

It’s a damn fine drink, whether it’s imbibed at your local craft cocktail house or in the sweltering heat in the shadows of Tiger Stadium in September. Plus, as alluded to earlier, you can always tell how strong the drink is by its hue. And yet this perfect combination is not without its detractors, who have called for my shunning, among other snooty barbs.

“You should drink that bourbon neat, or at least just on the rocks.”

“One day, you’ll grow up and drink whiskey like a real person.”

“I’m so disappointed.”

Whatever. All I know is that after downing the finest mainstream light beer for most of a tailgating day, a 4:30 p.m. bourbon and 7 gets the juices flowing before a night game at the best stadium in college football.

IF YOU NEED INSTRUCTIONS, PLEASE SEE THIS EXTREMELY DETAILED LIST:

Ingredients:

1 unit of bourbon (also do not shame my Trader Joe’s bourbon, which is a delight for $14.99 per bottle)
2-3 units of Sprite/7UP/Sierra Mist/you get the point
Ice

  1. Insert ice into highball glass, which will make the cheapest of swills feel nice.
THE FINEST OF TASTES

2. Pour said swill into glass. I always eyeball it, which maybe isn’t the best strategy, but whatever.

FILL AS MUCH AS YOUR HEART DESIRES

3. **Food Network judge voice** Pour the delicious carbonated beverage in to fill the rest of the glass, letting the lemon and lime flavors infuse the bourbon, setting the perfect balance of strong whiskey taste and comforting carbonation in one cocktail.

IT’S ALMOST READY

4. OK, fine. Have a fancy lime. Geaux Tigers.

BEHOLD THE PEAK OF MIXOLOGY