The Harlem Car Bomb

If this primary season is showing the Democrats anything, it's that they're suffering an embarrassment of riches of sorts: Should they back a charismatic first-term senator from Illinois whose greatest claim to fame before winning the Iowa caucus was a barnburner of a speech that kicked off a soporific general-election campaign in '04? Or would they be better served by an overly scripted junior senator who'd have us believe that (presumably via osmosis) she has eight years of White House political experience? Or are the stars aligning for a one-term senator who has already lost one presidential campaign and whose populist message hits a sour note every time he gets a haircut?

Yes, the Democrats have some momentous decisions to make, pondering, as is their wont, not whom they most admire, but rather who'll run best against a Republican foe who A) believes that Pakistanis are flooding our Southern border but that evolution is a myth, or who B) may well believe that the Garden of Eden is located in Western Missouri and wears a onesie under those navy-blue power suits, or who C) is a mean-spirited serial groom who, during his tenure as mayor of New York City, used the city's police department as a personal taxi service for his then-mistress (now wife).

On second thought, maybe the Dems' dilemma isn't so profound after all.

But while the rest of the country is embroiled in questions of character, vision and policy, my concerns are somewhat more provincial: Namely, do I want my buffalo wings hot or cold?

Now, some questions — such as, would I prefer a nationalized healthcare plan or would I rather continue paying my insurance company $400 a month for spotty coverage? — occur naturally. Others are presented.

Such was the case a few weeks back when I received an e-mail from one Nick Newlin, an international man of mystery who turned me on to the next great cocktail craze: The Harlem Car Bomb, the drink that's also a meal.

Nick discovered the Harlem Car Bomb — a politically incorrect riff on the venerable (and politically incorrect) Irish Car Bomb, which consists of a pint of Guinness stout fortified with depth charge-delivered shots of Irish whiskey and Baileys — while drinking just east of Mitt's Eden, in Columbia, Missouri. "On the last stop of the pub crawl, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a fellow coworker dropping a cold chicken wing into his cup of fine domestic lager," wrote Nick. "I presume it to be cold for two reasons: one, he was carrying that plate of wings from stop to stop for close to thirty minutes and two, it just sounds like it would be better that way."

Like Obama's stance on Iraq, Nick's argument is consistent, and I'd like to say that the only reason I used a hot chicken wing in my own HCB had to do with an aesthete's concern for poultry bouquet.

(In truth, though, I was using a frozen package of Tyson Hot 'n Spicy Chicken Wings and the thought of a chicken wing ice cube just seemed, well, against nature — sort of like Hillary's cackle.)

In the oven, my Hot 'n Spicy wings turned hot 'n greasy as they formed a chemical seal with the baking dish. It took a bit of prying. Once free, though, the wing dove into my pint of Anheuser-Busch Hurricane High Gravity Lager malt liquor with the sort of brio Huck has for the Good Book. But then, like Rudy with a bride of a few years, the beer's frothy head dissipated, its amber hue turned crimson.

Now, I'm no chugger, but there are certain drinks that demand your full attention. The Harlem Car Bomb is such a drink, and as I drained my glass, the wing — now cooled, its crispy skin softened by beer — slid my way.

Nick tells me that the proper way to drink an HCB is "to slam [your] tasty alcoholic beverage leaving the wet wing to slide down the glass and love tap [your] frothy nostrils." This, he says, is your "cue to remove the fully seasoned snack and consume its wedding of flavors."

No can do, Nick.

The malt liquor was no problem, but as the wing floated my way, I received a concentrated shot of Tyson Hot 'n Spicy to the back of my throat. My teeth barely made a dent in the wing, and I nearly lost a lung.

Undaunted, I tried again, this time with a half-pint o' Hurricane. As the wing came my way, I left myself wide open.

Not unlike the presidential field.

 
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