So We Had a Drink Contest at Work, and Invented a Lil Bub Cocktail


Alcohol is a funny thing, especially in the hands of employers. Every company I’ve worked for has used alcohol as some kind of incentive, usually either to pre-emptively placate the personnel who have to stay late to finish a project (“We’ll order pizza — and beer!”) or to pad attendance at some after-hours thing most people probably would have skipped (“Open bar — free drinks!”).

Yet Say Media, Catster’s parent company, recently got creative with alcohol. Which is to say, the company organized what it called a cocktail challenge. Employee groups were invited to engage their mixology skills and invent their own libations. Points were awarded not only for the taste of the cocktail but also for creativity and use of a chosen theme in overall presentation. What was the prize? Well, I’m not sure there was one. But no matter. Cat Dandy loves a challenge that mixes style, creativity, liquor, and the chance to dress up special and use cool glassware. Social Media Manager Liz Acosta and I met that challenge.

The name of the event was the Out of This World Cocktail Challenge, and the drinks were to have some association with outer space. The poster made for the event was taken from the old TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

Catster chose (who else) Lil Bub.

I mean, DUH. She comes from outer space!

Liz (who has a photography business and shot most of the photos for this post) was the first to make this connection, so we got to work. We aimed to create something either pink or purple, something that (with proper accessories) we could give a lush, slightly off-balance “past vision of the future” vibe, a Barbarella-like aesthetic. And of course we’d add a cat theme.

The result? Lil Bub’s Lil Glub (as in, “glub, glub, glub,” the sound of drinking). It’s basically a tuned-up version of what’s sometimes called a French martini. It includes vodka, framboise liqueur (framboise, pronounced fwahm-BWAHH, is French for raspberry), and pineapple juice.

Along with the above ingredients, Liz also got a canister of electric-blue, raspberry-flavored rim sugar and a jar of maraschino cherries.

I was in charge of glassware and accoutrements. I chose a pretty simple martini glass as the foundation. Very basic. To accommodate three maraschino cherries, I brought a variety of chrome olive picks that look rather Space Age. The start of the cat theme came in the form of tiny little plastic black cats whose long question-mark tails let them hang on the sides of glasses. Three such felines would intersperse the chrome skewers and cherries. To mix, I brought a chrome shaker as well as a shot glass containing the face of a black cat.

Liz did her share of accessorizing, too, including these napkins.

Every team was allowed to make one “display” version of its cocktail to help the judges gauge creativity and theme — essentially what the drink would look like if we’d served it at home or in a bar. Judges and coworkers would drink from plastic vessels. Below are two shots of our “showroom model.”

We all wore cat-ears for the occasion. Not having a space suit, I chose the closest thing I have to outer space — a subtle, dark, Art Deco psychic Rod Serling look consisting of a black three-button suit, a mid-century modern black-and-gray tie, and silver and black accessories.

With the display model of Lil Bub’s Lil Glug made, it was time to mix up some for “civilians” while we waited for the judges to make their way around the floor.

Managing Editor Vicky Walker was the first to sample.

As the five judges approached, I prepared a set of samples in small cups.

The judges seemed pretty impressed with our whole setup. Everyone who tried the cocktail remarked on how the combination of the sweet rim sugar played off the tart framboise, tangy pineapple, and strong vodka. Considering that the drink looked so colorful, many were surprised that it had such a provocatively pleasant bite.

Once the judges were done, other Say Media coworkers made the rounds to taste what people had done. Creative designer Matthew Casta├▒os was one such visitor to Catster’s room.

Next up was a dog, namely Ramona, owned by ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief Owen Thomas.

Owen himself was next (he’s the one on the right in the photo below), along with Say Media CEO Matt Sanchez.


I though for sure we’d win, but we didn’t. (Maybe seeing a real creature from outer space in Lil BUB was too much for the judges. Maybe they were already loopy by the time they reached us. Who knows?) Regardless, the exercise let us show some of our personal style and collaboration skills, and also to make a really cool cocktail named for a space cat.

What’s your barware situation? Do you have any cat-themed cocktail equipment? Can your cat eat or drink from a martini glass? Have you named a cocktail after a cat? Do you wear cat ears when you drink? Are cats really a short-cut to the Twilight Zone? Tell me in the comments!

Cat Dandy makes a mean martini:

About Keith Bowers: This broad-shouldered, bald-headed, leather-clad motorcyclist also has passions for sharp clothing, silver accessories, great writing, the arts, and cats. This career journalist loves painting, sculpting, photographing, and getting on stage. He once was called “a high-powered mutant,” which also describes his cat, Thomas. He is senior editor at Catster and Dogster.

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