If You Still Think We Should Be Celebrating Columbus Day, This Houston Cocktail Bar Can Set You Straight
The first person to bring sugarcane from the Canary Islands to the New World, Christopher Columbus is considered to be the grandfather of the rum trade; he's also said to be the guy who first brought sherry to this side of the Atlantic. Apparently, the more fortified kind was said to be a favorite of the earliest European explorers, and while Columbus was Italian, he was sailing on behalf of Spain. So, you know—sherry. Lots of sherry.
While most of us grew up honoring Columbus as America's First Top Forefather, these days, a heightened appreciation of the explorer's less-than-finer qualities—and a greater awareness of the fact that life in the Western Hemisphere did not in fact just Big Bang into existence with the arrival of the first European on its shores, celebrating Columbus Day is no longer all that fashionable, beyond the fact that a lot of us get a Monday off. Los Angeles—the city and the county, the most populous in the country, decided this year to start celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day; they follow the lead of cities like Seattle, and Minneapolis. The state of South Dakota calls it Native American Day.
One of the country's best cocktail joints—Anvil, in Houston—celebrates the holiday in a slightly more irreverent way. For the third time, Bobby Heugel's celebrated bar in the city's Montrose neighborhood is offering up a special drink menu. The theme? Christopher Columbus Was an Asshole.
"Good or bad," says Heugel, "There are strong connections with Columbus and alcohol. Why not explore history through a few drinks?"
Why not, indeed. The menu isn't necessarily for the timid, substituting the usual explainers for the mostly rum-based cocktails with not-so-fun Columbus Facts, highlighting just how brutal his party's rampage through the Caribbean really was. (So much, in fact, that Columbus was eventually imprisoned for acts of cruelty.)
The menu also includes thirteen different types of rum from thirteen different countries, and shots are half-off; if you order a sherry off of the very good list, you get a little Spanish flag, just so everyone knows that you've claimed your drink. Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day!