The X-15: The Drink that Won the Cocktail Race

—John F. Kennedy

I’ve been watching this documentary on the Cold War. And during that part about the Arms Race and the Space Race, I rushed to the liquor cabinet and went over the stockpile of alcohol. As I was taking inventory, I imagined a Cocktail Race between America and the Soviet Union, like in the dark days of the Cold War… Word leaks out (through our network of spies) of a new drink the Russians are inventing. It is costly, with lots of booze, potent and explosive, and may just obliterate any cocktails we have in our alcohol arsenal. Damn those Ruskies! To the lab, to consult with our team of mixologists… “We want a drink that’s fast!” I say. “That might even break the sound barrier!” “What exactly does that mean?” they respond. “Something potent! Kick-ass! But none of that Commie vodka shit!” “Got it. No vodka.” “But it’s gotta be kick-ass!” “Right! Kick-ass!” they concur. “But it’s gotta taste good.” “Of course!” "I mean, we're Americans. We make drinks that taste good. Not like those godless Commie bastards." “Right. I mean, does vodka even have a taste?” “My point exactly.” “So we’ll use good old-fashioned American booze.” “Yes.” “Like rum.” “Rum?” “From Puerto Rico. I mean, they say it’s gonna be the 51st state.” “Okay.” “And Tequila.” “Tequila?” “Sure.” “But isn’t that from Mexico?” “Yeah, but we kicked their butts in the Spanish-American War. Remember the Maine?” “Yeah, but I think that was against the Spanish. That’s why they called it the Spanish-American War.” “Really?” “I think so.” “Okay. But still, I mean, like Mexico’s right down there, you know what I’m saying? It’s not like 10,000 miles away, like Russia.” “That’s true.” “And they have such good tequila.” “They do.” “So we’ll use rum and tequila.” “Okay.” “And Vermouth, sweet not extra dry…” “Vermouth?” “From California.” “Ah, good! Cuz we hate the French. Vichy collaborators!” “Of course! Who doesn’t hate the French!” “Exactly.” “And that language they speak!” “French!” “Yes!” “Ugh!” "And how 'bout some pineapple juice? Nuthin’ like rum an' pineapple juice!” “From Hawaii!" "That’s a state.” “Indeed it is.” “And maybe a fresh-squeezed lime from Florida.” “Florida sunshine.” “Sounds good. And this way we can put some of that defense budget money into Florida to keep 'em happy.” “Right, but there’s one last thing…” “What’s that?” “Well, the secret ingredient…” “Secret ingredient?” “Yes, but…” “What?” “It’s Cointreau.” “Cointreau?! But that’s FRENCH!” “I know, but…” “NO. NO WAY! This is an AMERICAN drink! We have to use something else.” “Something else?” “Yes.” “Well, there’s this…” “Triple Sec?” “It’s like Cointreau, but it’s a lot cheaper and it doesn’t taste as good. But it’s made right here in the good ol’ US of A!” “But what’s with that name? Leroux? Sounds French to me…”

“Yeah, but look, see... It’s made in Ohio.”
 “Ohio!” “Yes. That’s American.” “Go Indians!” “Okay, use that then.” “Great.” “So when do you think you can have this drink operational?” “Well, of course extensive research is required.” “Yes, yes, but I want it by the end of the week, do you understand?” “By the end of the week?” “Listen, I don’t care how much research you have to do. You can research it 24/7 for all I care, as long as the drink is ready ASAP! You got me?” “Yes sir!”

THE X-15 1 part Myers’s Dark Rum (okay, this is from Jamaica)
 ½ part Malibu Caribbean Rum with Mango Liqueur (R&D thought this

was from Southern California, but it’s actually made in Canada, which is in North America) ½ part Patrón Silver Tequila (Mexico) ½ part Tribuno Sweet Vermouth (California, USA) ½ part Leroux Triple Sec (Ohio, USA)
 1 part Dole Pineapple juice (Yikes! Not Hawaii! Product of The Philippines!) ½ part fresh-squeezed Lime juice (Florida, USA) Shake over ice, strain into a rocks glass. Sprinkle a splash of fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice on top, and then garnish with an American-grown orange twist.


"The X-15" at Fellini's #9 (Charlottesville, VA) (with a lemon wedge instead of the orange twist)

The other X-15

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