Growing up in Oklahoma City, I assumed everyone knew what about the Club Special. After all, every bartender in the city, no matter how young or old, knows how to make one. But after a vacationing in Colorado earlier this summer, I soon realized that no one, and I mean NO ONE, knows what it is outside of Oklahoma!
If you are reading this and you don’t/haven’t live(d) in Oklahoma City, you probably have no clue what I’m talking about.
The Club Special is a drink, duh! Legend has it, the drink was invented in the 50s or 60s at Twin Hills Gold and Country Club in Oklahoma City. The story goes, a couple of parched golfers walked into the clubhouse at the turn and were completely exhausted and parched. They asked the bartender to mix up something that would quench their thirst. The bartender tossed together a vodka concoction with lemon and lime and voila, the Club Special was born.
Over the years it has taken on a couple of other names: Country Club Special, Vodka Special. But in Oklahoma, it’s just Club Special.
The ingredients are pretty simple, yet some bartenders still screw it up.
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce limeade (some bartenders use sweet and sour)
- 1 ounce Sprite
- club soda (splash)
- lime and lemon wedges
Who makes the best
The trick to a good Club Special is getting the sweet, sour, and tart at just the right mix. Too much club soda and you’ve killed it. Too much Sprite and it’s too sweet…dead again.
I’ve had my fair share in Oklahoma City and I’m not sure I can say who actually makes the best. The reason? You can order two of them at the same bar from two separate bartenders and they will come out completely different; which was the case last week at The Pump.
However, here are a few of my favorite places that seem to do a really good job. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of the bartender’s names so the risk is high whether you get a good one or not!
Sauced on Paseo
Oklahoma City’s premier hippie patio. There’s no way you can drink premium beers and cocktails any cheaper in this city.
Hands down the worst service in the world. Seriously! I’ve lived on four continents and been to numerous states and countries and The Pump is absolutely the worst. However, they have an exceptional patio and they are right online with Sauced in terms of drink prices. Plus, they serve tater tots. Freakin’ TOTS, baby! You can’t every go wrong with a restaurant/bar that serves tater tots.
Unfortunately, there’s no standard here, hence the good and bad Club Special I experienced last week.
Louie’s Highland Park in Edmond
Consistency is the name of the game here. I know most of the bartenders and each one serves this drink exactly the same way. Although Louie’s is a local chain and the food is not good at all, I can drink at the Highland Park location and stumble home if need be because it’s within walking distance of my house.
They do a decent job with the drink and it’s priced right: cheap!
Pub W is the Jones Assembly of bartenders without the shitty attitude and stupid-as-fuck prices. I’ve had bartenders at Pub W create drinks on the spot for me because I didn’t like one simple ingredient in the drink. We’ve taken a simple Moscow Mule and turned it into a Citrus Mule with about 8 ingredients that was one of the best things I’ve ever had in my life. They know their shit in this place and you don’t have to pay and insane price to experience their expertise. The menu is high end bar food but excellent quality and as a sidebar, the shrimp tacos are awesome.
…..Damn, I’m thirsty now! Head to your local bar and tell them you want a Club Special. If the bartender doesn’t know what you’re talking about, either show her/him this post or feel free to laugh in his face. Then jump behind the bar and mix one up.
See you guys on the nearest patio!