Say this much for Jeremy Lin—at this point in his career, he is certainly a more productive point guard than Mike Bibby. You can also say this much for him, too—everyone who cares to look seems to have been able to find something in him to relate back to his or her self. This can be a complicated ethnic pride or super-stretchy other types of pride, or it can be an excuse to be a total turd in the way one usually is a turd about things.
This is something of a tribute to Lin's improvisational, wholly inexplicable on-court awesomeness, and probably more of a tribute to the basic contemporary human skill of making all things, everywhere, a referendum on ourselves and the feelings those things make us feel about ourselves. So it's greatly to Brad Kaplan's credit that, the day after Jeremy Lin hung 38 points on the Los Angeles Lakers, the Atlanta-based food and drink writer—and Ivy League hoops head going back to his own days at the University of Pennsylvania—saw Lin as nothing more fraught than a source of inspiration for a creative cocktail.
The Jeremy Lin, which Kaplan put up at his beverage-centric website Thirsty South last week (long before New York-based doofuses started slinging hastily re-branded Lin and Tonics) is still what Kaplan calls "a theoretical cocktail." That is, even Kaplan hasn't made one for himself, with most of the blame for that going to the obscure vodka-esque Taiwanese liquor Kao Liang, which he chose as the basis of the drink.
"I went with Kao Liang Chiew, which is a Taiwanese brand, and is really delicious," Kaplan told me. "But it's also really tough to find. Kao Liang in general is relegated to shops that mostly serve a Chinese clientele, and it's pretty hard to get outside of Chinatowns." The other main ingredients, Brooklyn Hemispherical Rhubarb Bitters and the artisanal ginger liqueur The King's Ginger—"I love that one," Kaplan says, "it really has that ginger-y bite, which I guess you can tie in to Lin's tenacity, if you want"—are somewhat easier to find, at least on the internet. The drink itself, though, is still hazy, notional. As with Lin before desperation forced him into the rotation, there's still a sense of potential unfulfilled here—not unlike a shoot-first Ivy League point guard with a sketchy left-hand stuck doling out high fives at the end of the bench, a drink unshaken and unsipped is something of an unknown quantity.
But the potential is there, in both cases. And the ingredients all make sense together, which is certainly more than can be said for the names on the orange-on-blue Jeremy&Landry&Steve&Jared&Tyson t-shirt that the Mothering Hut people are hopefully putting together as we speak. "This is definitely the first athlete I've tried to make a cocktail for," Kaplan says. "But he's a unique guy, a unique story, so why not? I think it'd make a really good drink."
The Jeremy Lin
1.5 oz Kao Liang
0.75 oz The King’s Ginger Liqueur
0.25 oz fresh lemon juice (gotta be fresh)
Dash Brooklyn Hemispherical Rhubarb Bitters
Shake ingredients over crushed ice like a madman. Strain into a chilled glass. Slam it home.