The Hoosierist: Indiana Needs A Drink

Local cocktails, mysterious totem poles, and great URLs. Ask The Hoosierist.

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Q: Does Indiana or any of its residents have a namesake cocktail?
A: If you’re looking for something as distinctive as the Moscow Mule, you’re out of luck. Buzzfeed claims Indiana’s “state cocktail” is something called the Refined Janet Guthrie. Named after the first woman to race in the Indy 500, it’s a blend of sweet tea, vodka, and margarita mix that sounds as cloying as a Hallmark Channel movie. Another contender is the Hoosier Heritage, developed by The North End BBQ, which won a 2015 cocktail contest held by the Indiana State Museum. Unfortunately, if you ask for this blend of whiskey, cider, lemon juice, and maple syrup anyplace but North End, all you’ll get is a blank stare. And before Purdue grads start howling about the Boilermaker (a shot of whiskey in a cold beer), be advised that the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers (a labor union) says this beverage was a workingman’s favorite long before Purdue’s 1869 founding.

Q: What are those totem pole–like sticks along I-70 by the airport?
A: The Hoosierist hopes you don’t pass through this area often, because if you do and you’re just now noticing those poles, it means you’re too unobservant to operate a motor vehicle. The 58 poles went up at the Harding Street interchange back in 2010. They are the work of Herron School of Art sculpture student Jason Bord, and form part of a massive landscaping project designed to make this gritty stretch of concrete look more inviting. Much of the labor was performed by 8,000 Eli Lilly employees who, while participating in the company’s annual Global Day of Service, installed bushes, trees, and some sculpture along I-70. The whole project cost somewhere around $2 million—so the least you can do is take a quick gander before hitting the off ramp.

Q: I can’t believe Stout’s Footwear owns the URL “shoestores.com.” How much is that address worth?
A: Never let it be said that Stout’s, which opened in 1886 with the then-new concept of selling readymade shoes, isn’t progressive. Management snapped up the distinctive web address back in the early ’90s, when internet commerce was just another novelty, like Hammer pants. But if you think it’s crazy valuable, think again. According to Bill Sweetman, president of Name Ninja (which helps companies find cool web addresses), shoestores.com misses the mark. In the footwear field, shoes.com is the big dog, because it defines the entire category, much like hotels.com sums up its niche. Still, it’s not worth nothing. Sweetman figures it might fetch somewhere in the low four figures—enough to keep you in new wingtips for quite a while.

 

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