We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.
Good tidings to you, wherever you are.
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Oh bring us a figgy pudding
and a cup of good cheer.
We won't go until we get some,
so bring it right here.
What to do with those pesky carolers who are demanding a figgy pudding when you don't happen to have one in the fridge? Bring them a cup of good cheer. They won't go away unless you do. But what if you find you are out of wassail? Give them a different beer-based beverage — the Boilermaker. That will shut them right up.
The Boilermaker — a serious beer cocktail. A serious college moniker. The Crawfordsville Daily Argus News of October 26, 1891 headlined, "Slaughter of Innocents: Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue." Boilermakers at the time were synonymous with coal shovelers and stevedores — all names the Purdue team tried on, but the Boilermaker stuck. A boilermaker was a steel worker, then a basic shot and a beer, and then a shot in a beer.
As a cocktail, the Boilermaker made its first film appearance in 1938 in the Warner Brothers movie Gold Diggers in Paris, as a "boilermaker and his helper." There are many variations on this theme. Gin was the shot in the movie. Irish whiskey will make it an Irish car bomb — something not PC in this household. Sake will make the beer into a sake bomb, in an unimaginative turn of phrase.
I do admit that I am intrigued by the October Crisis: a dash of maple syrup in a shot of Canadian whiskey. The shot is then dropped into the requisite Canadian beer. Here in the U.S., the October Crisis tends to denote the Cuban Missile Crisis, but for our northern neighbors, it describes the October 1970 political kidnapping of two Canadian government officials by Quebecois separatists. The kidnapping ended tragically for one victim, and the whole plot did not go as planned, as Quebec is still part of Canada. The October Crisis is a drink that commemorates bad endings all around, which seems appropriate for dropping whiskey into beer.