November 18, 2004

Taste Matters

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If you were wondering, the Long Island Iced Tea I spoke with last week still “looks like Jersey shit,” had a prelim in Human Bonding and wants to know “who the hell spilled caramel f-ing latte on my Juicy Couture coaster? It’s vintage!” That’s too bad. So we learned roughly where the Long Island came from, what was in it, and that I talk to inanimate objects when I drink. Why are Long Island Iced Teas so popular? Why not? Do you have to ask? They’re like that little Asian kid in the Mighty Ducks 2, or that professor you think is too old to be anything but a pushover, but boy is he a dick. In other words, they’re unsuspecting. Count how many shots the bar tender puts into your glass. One, two, three, four, five, six? Seven? Eight? Nineteen?!? Hold on. It’s really more like five. But still, that’s like five shots, which could cost you a good fifteen bucks at anywhere but Dunbars. Think of the savings you could amount over time.

I like to drink. I also like to write. So, I combined my two interests and did a little field-test to search for the best Long Island in Collegetown. Remember, this is completely subjective, but then again, I’m always right, so you kind of have to believe me. No, no. I kid, I kid. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion concerning Long Islands. I simply judged them on overall taste — did I feel like I was drinking a Long Island Iced Tea, or a huge glass of death? Also, was the drink worth the money, or was it like M. Night Shaymalan’s last two films? These are serious questions for a serious drink. This is no cranberry and vodka, and it’s not your mama’s Valium and scotch on the rocks, hold the rocks. It’s the dopest drink this side of West Hempstead.

I made a timeline of my night to help this story unfold, but I must warn you that my sense of time all but vanished after a while.

9:30 — It’s been dark for exactly fourteen hours. I sit in my room, going over my notes in my head, visualizing myself sipping drinks, making small talk and once in a while, using the bathroom or the entrance to 407 College Ave.

9:31 — I set up my tent, with sleeping bags, tarp and hopefully enough rations outside of the Palms, so I can get in. Remember, kids — the early bird gets the worm!

9:35 — I begin my journey early enough so I can get back in time to go to the Palms and then be able to say that I was there.

9:50 — I start from the edge of Collegetown and work my way in. Rulloff’s is the first. Founded in honor of a murderer in 1977, Rulloff’s is probably the nicest bar in the area. The inside has a very old and warm feel to it, from the polished wood to the dim, personal lighting.

9:53 — After I was able to make it past security checkpoint A, which was a Navy SEAL armed with an assault rifle and an extra large can of whoopass, I made it to checkpoint B, which was a huge laser field, impenetrable by mortal man, and only deactivated with an ID that scans. The Long Islands there are $4.50! And served in a pint glass. Great deal, and a great drink — it was sweet and sour, but not too much. I already started to feel it.

10:15 — I head to BB Mazoo … just kidding. Stella’s is my next destination. I walk in and I could have sworn I was in the basement of McGraw Hall. My TA’s were all hanging out, but it looked like no one could understand one another. I thought the basement was pretty empty, but it turns out that everyone was ducking under his or her table, and I think they were cleaning up some Sweet and Low or powdered sugar that fell on their makeup mirrors. The Long Island there was $7.00, and again served in a pint glass. It was also made well, and made me more drunk.

10:30 — I walk down to Dunbars to beat the line.

10:30 and 30 seconds — I walk out of Dunbars because the only patrons inside were two chickens and a shopping cart. I realized that it wasn’t Wednesday, and headed back up the hill.

10:35 — I get down to Dino’s, and face the bouncer. I thought we were staring at one another for a while, but then I realized that he was actually eye-to-eye with the third floor of 312 (he’s tall).

“Here’s my ID … ” He takes it and crumples it to check the authenticity.

“Thanks.” I head to the bar. “Long Island,” I say, when all of a sudden, everyone rushes up and starts asking me which town I’m from. “Uhh, Freeport.” They all slowly back away. The Long Island was $7.00, and definitely had a little too much tequila in it. I know there’s no such thing as too much tequila, but the taste was a little overpowering.

11:00 — I walk over to Johnny O’s … or was it Dino’s? But wait a minute. I could have sworn I was just in Dino’s. The sicketating beats of DJ iPod fill the room, as I realize that I can’t move, and won’t be able to for a while. While I wait, I am forced onto one of the booths, where I proceed to inexplicably dance like an idiot. Slowly, I reach the bar, but only because I am propelled forward when some guy at the other end of the bar knocks into another person, and starts the chain reaction. “Did you say $4.00??” I yell to the bartender. “No,” he yells back. “That’s for half a Long Island. A full one is $8.00!” Wow. I shell out the cash, and grab my drink. It’s again served in a pint glass, which is good. The drink is definitely strong, but there is a lot of sour mix, which overpowers the rest of the stuff. I am, for the first time, disappointed in the taste and especially the value.

12:00 — The big moment — every under 21 Cornell kid’s dream — entering the Palms. Someone kicked my tent over and ate my pork and beans, but I don’t mind. In fact, by this time, I can’t feel anything.

12:45 — I finally get in the door. The Palms is crowded, and is definitely not Dino’s. People have their collars up instead of their hair. I get to the bar, and I don’t remember how much I paid, but uhh, the Smurfs called, and they want their cups back. It was smaller than the rest, and cost me at least as much as the Long Island at Rulloff’s. So I downed it, and went to the jukebox to play something. It said my selection was currently playing, but Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” kept playing, over and over.

3:00 the next day — I wake up somewhere on the Arts quad, with a bunch of architecture students trying to build stuff on me. I leave and run home.

My winner is Rulloff’s. It’s cheap ($4.50), tasty and full of booze. Thanks again, Long Island, you made my night.

Archived article by Jon Rich
Sun Staff Writer