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Cocktail Thursday: Vanderbilt Edition

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old fashioned

If your favorite college football team is heading into one of those "noon swoon" road kickoffs against a team that beat it last season, while staring down a nascent quarterback controversy, you could probably use a drink. I can help you with that.

Like Lou Loomis, I’m going to lay it on the line, people. Vanderbilt is not a very good football team. The culprits are several, and to be expected. A young offensive line searching for its identity. A defense replacing its best player and leader. Injuries in a secondary that didn’t have depth to spare. The Independence Bowl team that beat Georgia in Athens last season is not the one that will take the field in Nashville on Saturday.

That doesn’t mean that we can’t screw this up. In some ways, Kirby Smart and his staff now face a challenge greater than getting their squad ready for a trip to South Bend to face a ranked Notre Dame or an engagement with a Mississippi State team riding high off its LSU triumph. Players know they have to take those games seriously. Those games don’t sneak up on you.

The challenge now, the one that should really terrify Bulldog fans, is that of getting a Georgia team that knows it is very, very good ready to smother an inferior opponent who everyone knows is inferior. Because in the SEC “inferior” is not synonymous with “can’t possibly win.” Vanderbilt’s Kyle Shurmur actually threw the ball with some gusto against Florida. And while that Vanderbilt defense has given up some significant points recently, it was really only a couple of turnovers away from getting off the field and being in the game late against the Gators. This will be the Commodores fourth straight game against a top 25 team. They are battle-tested, if maybe a bit battle-weary at this point.

What I’m trying to say is that this Vanderbilt team is a little more potent than it appears at first glance. And while it likely won’t knock you out, you have to take it seriously or risk finding yourself in trouble. The perfect potable corollary for that? Of course it’s . . . The Commodore.

It’s an old school cocktail from the classic era of mixology, an elegant concoction that packs some punch. It’s made by mixing 2 ounces of bourbon with 1 ounce of crème de cacao, 1 and ½ ounces of lemon juice, and a teaspoon of grenadine in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously then strain into a cocktail glass, garnishing with a cherry if you so choose. Enjoy one or two, and . . .

Go ‘Dawgs!!!