Published in Westword, following a spill of toxic waste into the Animas River in southwest Colorado.
Colorado governor John Hickenlooper recently demonstrated the purity of the Animas River by slurping from a bottle of river water (with an iodine back). In 2013 he told a U.S. Senate committee that he once drank fracking fluid while meeting with Halliburton executives, describing the experience as "almost ritual-like." In honor of our governor's background in brewing and his thirst for our state's poisons, I'd like to propose the following Colorado Cocktails:
Atomic Mai Tai With renewed interest in uranium mining in the red-rock badlands around the Dolores River, despite the dozens of abandoned and still-dangerous mines in the region, this tropical drink goes down smoothly on a sweltering day in Uravan. 2 oz. rum Juice of one lime Half-ounce curacao 1 oz. Uranium-mine waste slurry, half-life of 4.5 billion years Shake with ice; garnish with deformed sagebrush.
Carcinogen Cosmopolitan Parachute Creek on the Western Slope is dumping dangerous levels of benzene into the Colorado River from upstream oil and gas drilling, but who cares when oil companies are raking in record profits? Talk about trickle-down economics! This timeless sour cocktail will go over great at the next shareholder soiree. 1 oz. citrus-flavored vodka Half-ounce triple sec Half-ounce cranberry juice Half-ounce Parachute Creek water, glistening with a surface rainbow of toxins Shake with ice; strain into chilled glass. Serve with poisoned brown trout.
Ranch Runoff Old-Fashioned Cattle ranching is a tough business, and it calls for a man's drink. The tough men of the South Platte Valley can't be bothered with fruity frou-frou drinks or with preventing the flow of nitrates, E. coli, and cryptosporidium bacteria from overcrowded feedlots into one of the state's primary watersheds. Set down the cattle prod and reach for this manly cocktail. 2 oz. bourbon or rye whiskey 1 sugar cube 2-3 dashes bitters Splash of manure-darkened feedlot runoff Splash sugar with bitters, add whiskey and feedlot juice; stir. Serve with growth-hormone-infused steak.