Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Best Daiquiri in Shreveport?

The Orange Creamsicle at Chicky's Boom Boom Room.
I'm naturally predisposed to be mistrustful of daiquiris served in fancy stemware. Something about it smacks of desperation and seems to undermine the casual nature of daiquiris, which, to me, long to be consumed out of anonymous styrofoam cups on hot days in all manner of places where the consumption of alcohol is formally prohibited.

So, it takes a special daiquiri to drive me to carry around a big, precious piece of gaudy stemware. It takes a profound, life-alteringly good daiquiri to make me consider such an unfortunately-appointed drink my new favorite drink in town. The Orange Creamsicle daiquiri at Chicky's Boom Boom Room (205 Texas St., downtown Shreveport) is such a daiquiri.

I am guessing it contains orange liqueur, vanilla vodka, orange juice, and who knows what else. As served normally, it's already tasty - a near-perfect replica of the taste of the cream-filled orange popsicles that I loved as a kid. But ask the bartender to add a shot of real cream (which he'll happily do) and this drink goes from better-than-average to something really, really special. Once I'd added the cream, the taste of the drink went from being refreshing to nostalgic; it simply tasted exactly like the orange creamsicle popsicles I consumed by the boxful when I was young.

A word of advice: If you're looking for a great excuse to try this daiquiri, try to make it to Chicky's on a Thursday night. They have a 20+ piece orchestra - Bill Causey's Constellation Orchestra - who play swing and big band tunes, only on Thursdays. An older clientele shows up to dance, and the douchey, Affliction shirt-enshrouded masses tend to be put off by the classy spectacle that is dozens of elderly couples cutting a rug to an orchestra. It's a fun night out. The orchestra plays 7-10 every Thursday night, which is also ladies' night, so the gals get in free.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Swamp Water" from Cajun Blenders in Abbeville

Cajun Blenders in Abbeville, LA.
I recently had the opportunity to drink some daiquiris in the parish seat of Vermilion Parish, Abbeville. There are a handful of great little places to get daiquiris (most of which are drive-thru) in this beautiful, old city, and I sampled several drinks from a few different spots. My favorite, by far, was Cajun Blenders, a daiquiri shop housed in a small mobile building on Highway 14, a four-lane highway that runs the length of the city.

I try to avoid hyperbole whenever possible. People are always saying "That's my favorite song" or "greatest ever," etc. I get cranky about that kind of language. Maybe I'm just getting old and crotchety, but I genuinely appreciate sincerity these days. So please know that I am being completely sincere when I say that the "Swamp Water" from Cajun Blenders may be my favorite daiquiri ever. It tastes of lime, Chartreuse, and pineapple juice, and it'll put hair on your chest. Best of all, it's unique, just like the city itself.

There's something about daiquiris from shops in the area of Gueydan, Kaplan, and Abbeville - the texture's different. They're thinner, slushier than most North Louisiana daiquiris I've had, and may have actual ice in them. You don't get the sense that they've been whirling in a machine for days, being kept from freezing. They're also absurdly strong. If you're accustomed to drinking daiquiris from elsewhere in the world, I'd say go a size smaller than your regular order when you're drinking in Cajun Country.
The Orange Crusher

I also had the "Orange Crusher," which was basically Orange Crush and Everclear, and was, frankly, too strong to drink. Cajun Blenders has an absurdly large menu of 100+ flavors, so there's lots to experiment with here.

Honestly, this just kind of feels like the type of place that won't be around in 10 years. There'll probably be a T.G.I. Friday's standing on this land some day. If you love daiquiris, you must visit Cajun Blenders.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Meth Zombies Make Crappy Daiquiris

"Let's just steal a bunch of straws from Denny's."
I should have known that there would be a problem when I realized that the new owners of the former Corner Daiquiri (at the intersection of Stoner Avenue and Centenary Boulevard), which was known for a rare orange daiquiri simply called "Orange Drank," had re-named the business by nailing a sign to the front of it, changing the name from "Corner Daiquiri" to "Corner Daiquiri Factorie." That's what dad would've called "half-assed" (he also would have mistrusted the bastardized spelling as possibly being French in nature), and it should have been a big, red flag waving in my face.

But I'd just had tacos from La Michoacana, and I was in that happy, charitable, post-taco headspace, so I thought "What the hell, how bad could it be?"

Let me tell you how bad it could be.

To get inside of this building, I had to fight my way through the meth zombies scattered about the parking lot. I felt like I was playing Fallout 3, I kept fighting the urge to search their corpses for bottle caps. Once inside, I was confronted with a pretty sad reality: about four daiquiri machines, mix jugs just sitting out on the counter, and a beer cooler filled with Boone's Farm and Thunderbird. Nevertheless, it was two-for-one Happy Hour, so I got a Hulksicle and a Mango. I mean, you don't see a lot of Mango.

These drinks. Were awful. The flavors were that odd, generic daiquiri taste that just tastes like frozen, sweet, anonymous fruit mix, the drinks were weak, and...wait for it...the straws. The straws were stolen from a Denny's. The drinks also weren't anywhere near frozen, they were kind of melted and syrupy and thick.

If you're looking for a ghetto daiquiri that will reaffirm your faith in humanity, just go to Hollywood Daiquiri out by the Airport, as previously reported here. Get yourself a Goose n' Juice or an Ecstasy, a $3 strawberry shot, or even some adult films. But avoid Corner Daiquiri "Factorie." If they actually did make daiquiris at Denny's, this is exactly what they'd taste like.

Sorry for all of the bitching lately, hopefully we'll get a lucky draw at some rad drive-thru in the near future.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The 'Cajun Curse' and Cajun on Youree

Who's the bottom in this relationship?
If you drink daiquiris (I do, obvs) and live in Shreveport (71105), odds are you're already familiar with the abomination to the right: an enormous crawfish and a bi-pedal alligator sharing a daiquiri of unholy size and color, presumably somewhere in a radiation-shocked, post-apocalyptic swampland. This lovely work of art greets those weary souls who drive through the Cajun Daiquiris on Youree Drive, home of the dreaded "Cajun Curse."

The "Cajun Curse" is, in my personal opinion, the strongest daiquiri in north Louisiana. The flavor is somewhat reminiscent of a margarita, but kicked up with a lemonade tartness. Truth is, drink a large (44 oz.) and you will not be able to remember what the damned thing tasted like. This drink could be used by battlefield surgeons in lieu of morphine. Do not step to the "Cajun Curse" unless you are ready to go off the rails, entirely. I asked my friend Kathy, who also cottons to the frozen daiquiris of Shreveport, about this drink. "That stuff made my husband howl at the moon one night," she said.
I hate to give anyone the impression that I consume Jell-O shots, but Cajun also serves about 60 flavors of Jell-O shot, including one called "Dragon's Fire" that is, essentially, Scotch Jell-O. It is the only Jell-O shot that one can feel manly for having drank (ate? slurped?). It put hair on my chest.

I'm not gonna lie: There's some disappointing stuff about this particular location of Cajun Daiquiris. Specifically, one of their specialty Mardi Gras drinks (only available the weeks of Shreveport-Bossier City's Mardi Gras parades) is terrible, and they suspend happy hour specials during Mardi Gras parades. This is Louisiana, guys - we really shouldn't be suspending happy hour on parade days. It should be happy hour all day long on parade days. They make two Mardi Gras specialty drinks, the "Throw Me Something, Mister" and the "Taste of Mardi Gras." The "Taste of Mardi Gras" is pretty tasty, a mix of the Vodka Freeze and the "Cajun Curse." However, the "Throw Me Something, Mister" didn't make me want to throw beads. It made me want to throw up. Faintly chocolatey, faintly grapey, faintly trash juicey...a bad scene, altogether.

But, at the end of the day, Cajun on Youree can be counted on to deliver potent, skull-numbing concoctions that are a good value for the price.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hollywood Daiquiri is Crazy as Hell

Hollywood Daiquiris (4144 Hollywood Avenue), located in west Shreveport near Shreveport Regional Airport, is one of the more gonzo daiquiri buying and drinking experiences I've had in North Louisiana - or anywhere, really. It's a small shop that only offers about a dozen flavors. There is no entrance to the shop - there's not a public entrance. Customers may either drive through or walk up to a window. Drivers and walkers have separate windows, which makes for an experience that feels more like buying a snow cone than an alcoholic beverage. 

But once you get to the window, you realize this ain't no snow cone stand; it's a booze and porno stand. Right there in the walk-up window, you're confronted with a large selection of African American porno DVDs and bootleg hip-hop CDs. This unexpected element is made even stranger by the fact that two middle-aged women run the shop, and they're both incredibly nice, friendly, and customer-oriented.

Hollywood Daiquiri offers 2-for-1 drink specials all day long, so the drink prices are kind of misleading. The medium size, weighing in at 20 oz., is $8. But you're really getting two drinks, so medium drinks are $4 each in practice. You can mix-and-match flavors, so you can walk away with two different 20 oz. daiquiris for $8.

And, oh my goodness, let's talk about the flavors. What I LOVE about this shop is the way it flips some of your expectations and surprises you, while conforming to other stereotypes and expectations. Just from looking at the photo above, would you expect to be able to get a pomegranate daiquiri, mad using real POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, at this store? They make one. It's called "X-Tacy," and is the only pomegranate daiquiri that I am aware of in Shreveport-Bossier City.

Hollywood Daiquiri offers a few other unique choices. The "Goose & Juice" daiquiri is cranberry juice and Grey Goose vodka, and is as good as it sounds. This was an idea whose time has come! The "Call a Cab" is a watermelon daiquiri, and is the store's most popular drink. Trying not to look directly towards any of the porno behind them, I asked the nice ladies working the walk-up window why it was so popular, and the younger woman mentioned that she thinks the "Call a Cab" is the most popular frozen drink in town among older African Americans. One drink on their menu that surprised me is the "White Cherry" - I haven't come across more than one or two white cherry daiquiris in town.

The consistency of these drinks is worth mentioning. They're more like slushees than frozen daiquiris, a trait that reminds me more of South Louisiana daiquiris than Shreveport daiquiris. They're thin, sweet, and go down easy. 

So far, I've had the "X-Tacy," "Goose & Juice," and "White Cherry." My only criticism is that these drinks aren't all that strong. If you're accustomed to more potent drinks, you may be disappointed in these daiquiris. But if taste is what you're after, the "X-Tacy" is, in my opinion, an honest contender for the best daiquiri in town. I honestly did not expect to encounter a drink like the "X-Tacy" at this modest shop.

This Saturday, I'm heading to Alexandria, so I'm hoping to grab a non-Shreveport daiquiri somewhere along the way!

By the way, thanks for reading and telling your friends about Drink More Swamp Water - I've gotten tons of great feedback about the blog. I promise to have a video posted soon, as several readers have asked if that was in the works. Mardi Gras is on the way, so anything is possible!