You know this is going to happen sooner or later, this being a column entitled “Thursday Night Loaded,” after all: I’m going to go out some Thursday night, get loaded and completely forget about writing this column. It very nearly happened tonight as I went to the prairie dog office for a writers’ meeting this afternoon, the falling action of which played out on the O’Hanlon’s patio…

“What day is it?”


“Oh shit. I don’t have anything written for Thursday Night Loaded.”

An actual quote from earlier. Now, at that point, I confess I didn’t even have an idea of what I would write this week and if I hadn’t the willpower to tear myself away from that patio, I wouldn’t have written anything at all. More: if an idea hadn’t presented itself to me while there, I’d likely still be on that patio.

Here’s how it goes.

You probably noticed that this is one of the few really hot days we’ve had this summer. Perfect for a certain range of refreshments. Tall drinks come to mind, obviously: The Pimm’s Cup, for one, it being The Official Mixed Drink of Summer in Regina 2010, after all; a gin and tonic, for two; a Tom Collins, for three; even a Bloody Caesar if you’re still thirsty and open to a fourth. More likely, though, the Canadian palate being what it is, beer will be called for.

Our Stephen, however, after murdering one Bloody Caesar, proceeded — as “a pick-me-up”, he said — to order a series of coffees with Kahlua Bailey’s.

Hot coffee. Room-temperature Kahlua Bailey’s.

Well, drinking hot drinks in hot weather put me in mind of a scene from what was for a very long time my favourite television show (and was, for a very long time, arguably the best thing on television), Homicide: Life in the Streets. This bit is from the first season closer titled, “The Night of the Dead Living,” and all of the episode’s action takes place on an oppressively hot day in the police station while the air conditioning is on the fritz:

Pembleton [walks over to Gee, dipping a teabag into a paper cup]: Gee, tea?

Gee: Take that tie off. I’m sweating just looking at it.

Pembleton: What happened to the dress code?

Gee: Temporarily suspended.

Felton [at his desk]: He’s drinking hot tea. What did he have for dinner? Soup?

Pembleton: Let me ask you a question. What’s the hottest place on earth?

Lewis: I give up.

Pembleton: The desert. What do they drink in the desert?

Lewis: Nothin’. That’s why it’s the desert.

Pembleton: No, tea. They drink tea in the desert to stay cool.

Bolander: I’ll stay with coffee.

Pembleton: Well, coffee’s hot, too.

There you have it, the sum of my wisdom on the drinking of hot drinks in hot weather. Personally, I will stick with a Pimm’s Cup when at home, a Grasshopper (the beer) when out. But if you feel like trusting the wisdom of desert nomads and one newspaper editor, be my guest and take your Kahlua Bailey’s with hot coffee on the patio and never mind the staring.

If, however, you are looking for a pick-me-up that isn’t so piping, might I suggest the following?

Makalle Cocktail
1 1/2 oz Galliano
1 oz vodka
1 oz coffee
1 dash Angostura bitters
Shake well with ice. Strain into a prechilled cocktail glass.

Wikipedia lured me into believing briefly that this was named after the town of Makallé in the Chaco Province of Argentina. But some additional searching revealed a more likely source. It would seem that in 1896, at the end of the Italo-Abyssinian War, a major in the Italian army, Giuseppe Galliano, was trapped with his forces in the garrison town of Makalle (aka, Meqele, aka Mek’ele). They held the fort for nearly two months but the siege was brought to an end when, after long negotiations with the Italian government, the Emperor of Ethiopia, Menelik II, allowed Galliano and his men to leave.

So, there you have it. A cocktail to honour a conflict that ended much more peacefully than it could have. And, I would argue, it is a far more peaceable way to stave off a besieging heat than any steaming mug could hope to be.

CORRECTION: Stephen informs me that I misremembered his drink order. It was Bailey’s and coffee. Not Kahlua and coffee. A stupid mistake on my part. Did I mention I’d had a couple Grasshoppers?