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The Grasshopper 

Kirk's American Bistro, 512 N. Euclid Avenue, 314-361-1456

The article in front of "grasshopper," the the, is our conceit, but we suggest that you order it that way rather than a grasshopper, when you request one from the lovely Rachel at Kirk's American Bistro in the Central West End. The the is an acknowledgment of the drink's singular beauty. And while you don't have to say it like you're Chinese, it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and order The Gwahsshoppah like that guy in the Kung Fu TV series. (You know, that guy.) Walk up and say, I'll have The Gwahsshoppah, and we'll give you a pat on the butt. It'll probably make Rachel laugh, too. Plus, it'll make you look like a dork, which, you know, whatever, you're gonna be having a drink with whipped cream on top, so you're already halfway there. Not only whipped cream, but green whipped cream, the color arriving via the crème de menthe that Rachel drips on top. No hookup for you tonight, Señor Dorko. In exchange, though, another kind of warmth.

Before she added the green whipped cream, Rachel combined in a mug Godiva chocolate liqueur -- the orgasm of liqueurs -- and a shot of crème de menthe and some coffee. So it's brown and hot, which is good because do you remember how cold it was last week? Put yourself back there, and bingo, that's where we are, and so The Grasshopper is the best drink ever. Dead-winter night. It is two. As in, two degrees. So, duh, you want something hot and choco-coffee-mint.

But the main question for a drink that's brown and hot and has green whipped cream on top is, why in the world would they call it a grasshopper? Grasshoppers have big gross eyes and are a summer insect, and hot coffee drinks in the summer will make you vomit, whereas right now did we mention that it's cold, so hot is good? One answer may be that the basic grasshopper isn't a hot drink, but a cream-based drink with chocolate liqueur and crème de menthe. Rachel, however, does hers hot with coffee, and we salute her, and by extension Kirk's, for it. But why still call it "the grasshopper"? Grasshopper green, sure, like crème de menthe, but then why didn't they call it "the shrub " or "the rotten tooth"? It is sweet, after all. But not too sweet, the coffee and the Godiva nipping the bud off the menthe until you basically have a drink that's like those little chocolate-mint rectangles wrapped in green foil that Gram used to keep in a dish by the front door. Which is comforting, you know, thinking about the absolutely excellent Gram, the best grandmother ever, while you're at an ace CWE drinking establishment on a cold night enjoying The Gwahsshoppah. She wasn't Japanese, but she would have laughed at the accent, too. And the word dork, one of the ugliest words in the English language, wasn't in her lexicon. Nor should it be in yours.

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