The bartender started by shaking in a hearty dose of Tabasco, and as I sat at the bar, I had to wonder what in the world I was in for when I took my first sip. The drink was called Mexican Candy, the location was Steve’s BBQ in Uptown Whittier and the students who filled the bar stools around me were eager participants in the most recent Drinking Privileges Program (DPP) event.
On Thursday, April 17, for just $10, students with a DPP sticker got a closer look at how to mix some delicious drinks: from favorites like the Old Fashioned and the mojito to new concoctions like Lavender Lemonade and Mexican Candy. Not only did students taste test five miniature mixed drinks and two of the bar’s draft beers, but they also sampled a handful of Steve’s appetizers, which all arrived steaming hot from the kitchen.
The atmosphere was lively, with students gabbing with each other as they bounced back and forth between the tables. Plates of food appeared at regular intervals and the bar was busy with presentations where students could watch mint pressed for mojitos or margaritas being stirred. As the bartender mixed drink after drink, she walked us through the steps, making the experience educational as well as exciting. “I think the event was a good way for people who just turned 21 to get an introduction to mixed drinks and drinking culture,” said senior Samantha Ettinger.
The most interesting (and spicy) mixture was the Mexican Candy. The combination of ingredients that make up this novel drink — a shot of tabasco, rum, pineapple juice and a rim lined with Tajín and sugar — really give it the flavor of tart mexican candy, complete with the kick that doesn’t hit you immediately. “They are like fun drinks,” said senior Clara Rempe, “not just your standard.”
My personal favorite, however, was the Lavender Lemonade a beautiful purple drink which tasted just like drinking a flower. I feel it would be the perfect beverage to take on a long walk in an English garden.
Steve’s BBQ did not disappoint when it came to food, either. Each dish of appetizers reached students piping hot and smelling divine. There were apples wrapped in bacon, polenta with mushrooms and marinara sauce, cheesy tater tots and my personal favorite, beer-battered grilled cheese with a tangy jalapeno aioli dipping sauce. My only disappointment was to find that a plastic wrapper had accidentally found its way into my tater tot. Every other bite I had, though, was delicious.
A good time was had by all, including Assistant Dean of Students Intern and senior Andrew Lara, who coordinates the DPP programming at Whittier and spearheaded this event. “We already had a connection with Steve’s BBQ. They are one of the discounts you can get through the DPP,” said Lara, “so I called them, we set up a mixology event so they could show students how to make mixed drinks [therefore] they can safely drink mixed drinks without putting too much alcohol in their drinks, having just the right amount so it’s flavored well but at the same time they don’t get too drunk.”
Lara is a strong advocate for safe drinking events such as this one and sees them as the most efficient way to educate his fellow students. “Events like this are important because people don’t really know how to drink safely. A lot of people don’t like to find out how to do that through really boring processes like online tests, so we provide these fun ways to learn how to drink safely and avoid overconsumption of alcohol through events like this.”
If you missed this event, stop by Steve’s BBQ on Greenleaf Ave. to get your own taste of Mexican Candy or other delectable concoctions. Also be on the look out for more fun and exciting events put on by DPP.
“We have another event coming up that we want to have in the next week and a half before finals approach because we don’t want people to worry about studying and going to events like this,” said Lara. “The next one is going to be sort of a political debate discussion dinner to get people, in this open environment, to discuss sensitive topics like politics and religion.” This event will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday April 27 at the Harley House. Students with a DPP sticker can sign up in the Dean of Students Office.