One of the social activities that many college students look forward to from the time they step on campus until the day they turn 21 is being able to go out to bars with their friends and take in the nightlife. In Bloomington, we have a shocking number of bars given the size of the town. Each establishment has a unique culture and signature drink to match!

During the fall semester of the 2020-2021 school year, this scene was greatly missed by many. Although some establishments were open for business and a couple more joined the party for spring semester, the overall experience is still not back to normal. Having been fortunate enough to enjoy this scene under normal circumstances over a year ago, I’ve missed being able to take it all in. However, I thought of a way to bring a little bit of the party back from the safe confines of my home: recreate some of the most iconic drinks from bars in Bloomington!

Bluebird - Dirty Bird

There is almost nothing more fun than a night filled with your friends and some great live music! Whether you are in the mood for some 80’s rock ‘n roll or country music, cover songs or originals, you can get your concert fix at the Bluebird Nightclub! Their signature drink, the Dirty Bird, will undoubtedly increase your vocal abilities and dancing skills. Follow this recipe for a modified long island iced tea and turn on some tunes to recreate the vibes in your living room.

Dirty Bird

  • Prep Time:3 mins
  • Cook Time:0
  • Total Time:3 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1oz Gin
  • 1 oz White Rum
  • 1oz Gold Tequila
  • 1oz Blue Curacao
  • 3oz Sweet and Sour
  • Ice to fill
Lauren Tretter

Step 1: Add ice, vodka, gin, white rum, gold tequila and sweet and sour mix to a cocktail shaker and shake well.

Step 2: Strain mix over ice in a serving glass (a very large, white, opaque plastic cup if you're keeping it authentic) and drizzle over blue curaçao. Garnish with the longest bendy straw you can find, and give it a few good twists at the top!

Kilroy’s on Kirkwood – Water Long

Kilroy’s on Kirkwood… the infamous KOK… No matter what you call it, this is arguably one of the most popular and well-missed bars in Bloomington. There’s simply nothing like freezing in the mile-long line at 6 AM on game day or creating memories any night of the week (all days ending in “y” are encouraged for attendance) with your friends new or old. Whether you find yourself on the patio on a beautiful day or bellied up to the bar, you’ve not been to KOK if you haven’t tried a Water Long.

In March 2020, KOK posted the recipe to their signature drink on their Instagram account. The key to attaining the truly authentic taste may surprise you: cheap vodka. Supposedly, better quality vodka makes you taste the liquor as opposed to tasting like a slightly lemon/lime water. As a college student, I have no qualms with this recommendation for the recipe!

Water Long

  • Prep Time:2 mins
  • Cook Time:0
  • Total Time:2 mins
  • Servings:1
  • Easy

    Ingredients

  • 1 oz gin
  • 1 oz rum
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz triple sec
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • Water to fill
Lauren Tretter

Nick’s – Sink the Biz

If you’re in the mood for a more laid-back but fun and entertaining evening out, Nick’s English Pub is the place to be. This is the perfect place for hanging out and being able to chat and laugh with friends over a bucket of beer. Yes, a bucket! While Sink the Biz may not be a mixed drink like the signature drinks of the previous two bars, this is the “beverage” to get at Nick’s. Request a bucket full of your favorite brew, spin, pour, and drink the night away with this game!

To play at home, pour yourself and your friends a cup of your preferred beer. Find a small metal bucket to fill with the same beer, leaving a little room at the top. Insert a small glass into your bucket of brew and give it a spin! Take turns pouring as much or as little of your beverage into the glass but be sure to keep a steady stream. Whoever’s pour sinks the cup, pick out the glass, and it’s bottoms up!

If you have missed the atmosphere as much as I have or if you have not yet had the pleasure of enjoying the experience, I invite you join me in recreating these beverages from a few of my favorite bars. These establishments and their respective drinks are indeed listed in order of my personal preference of atmosphere, not necessarily flavor. Please consider using this as a guide in supporting these local establishments upon governmental approval and personal comfort and always enjoy responsibly. Cheers!