Friday @ 5: A cocktail to kick off the weekend

For most of us drinkers, Labor Day represents a three-day weekend full of barbecues and booze -- the last hurrah for summer soirees. The etiquette deadline for wearing white inspires eponymous parties, at which we sip accordingly: chilled white wine, sangria, or beer to match our bratwurst.

There's a history, of course.

For anyone who's read "The Jungle" (no matter how long it takes you), you're keenly aware of the Chicago of yore when labor was less than respected, despite its namesake's induction as a federal holiday in 1894. Back then, it wasn't uncommon for laborers to work their hands quite literally to the bone, or worse.

You can bet your dry rub anyone working under those conditions would have been hankering for a drink by the time Friday at 5 o'clock rolled around.

They wouldn't have drank cocktails, though that's not noted in the book. (Upton Sinclair was clearly more interested in meat than dram.) Rather, after a long day of physical labor, working men stumbled to saloons to drink two things in quick succession: a shot of whiskey and a pint of beer.

The name for this blue collar "cocktail"? A Boilermaker, likely named for steel workers inPhiladelphia where, to this day, the so-called "citywide special" is a shot of Jim Beam whiskey and a can of PBR.

It's so labor-unintensive, there's not even a recipe.


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