Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

50 Shots of America–Nebraska

The Strobe

I think I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading getting to the 37th state: it’s Todd’s home state and so there’s a little extra pressure to come up with something stellar. Am I up for the challenge? Let’s see…

The Cornhusker state came to be on March 1, 1867, just a couple years after the end of the Civil War. It’s name means “flat water” (for the Platte River) and it’s a good thing it’s got those rivers running around and through it as it’s landlocked three times over. Another curious fact is that Arbor Day began in Nebraska; curious because the early homesteaders (who came for the free land grants a la Far and Away) built homes out of sod because trees were so scarce.

Being smack dab in the middle of the country, it’s no surprise that railroads are big in Nebraska. The state hosts the Union Pacific headquarters and Bailey Yard (only the railroad classification yard–where they sort and switch cars and tracks–in the world).

When we visited Nebraska in 2010, I was amazed at the richness of the soil, the fact that seems just seemed to grow anywhere they were planted, and the number of wineries we found spread throughout the state (too late to visit any, though). The local food of fame, the Runza (aka Bierock), was sampled, as well as the eponymous Omaha Steaks.

Something we were glad we didn’t need to use was the 911 system (developed and first used in Lincoln).

And with that bad segue in place, here’s this week’s drink.

The Strobe

3/4 oz Bourbon Whiskey (like Jim Beam)
1/4 oz Goldschlager
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 oz Club Soda

Combine whiskey, goldschlager and grenadine over ice and shake like a tornado roaring down the plains. Strain into a chilled cordial glass and top with the club soda.

If you think it looks a little like Kool-Aid, there’s a reason for that: in 1927 Edward Perkins created the famous powdered beverage in Hastings, Nebraska. I may not keep the stuff in the house but the grenadine goes a long way towards making this drink look like it’s predecessor. The Goldschlager is a nod to the start of the Black Hills Gold Rush in Sydney and, well, it just wouldn’t be right to have a drink for the Cornhusker state made with anything other than a corn base, would it?

And, of course, it’s named after another Nebraskan invention: the strobe light was invented by Dr. Harold Edgerton of Aurora. Too many of these and you might be seeing spots of light, yourself!

But did the drink pass the Todd-test? With a response of “refreshing,” I think it passed.

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

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