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Make mine a Club Special: The history behind two regionally popular summer drinks

Make mine a Club Special: The history behind two regionally popular summer drinks

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Move over, Aperol Spritz, for two regional cocktails are ready to take over summer.

Oklahoma doesn’t have an official state cocktail, but if it did, it would be the Club Special, a refreshing sipper found in some version at every country club or golf course across the state. Whether served blended into a slush or bubbly over ice, the Club Special almost always contains a mixture of vodka, Sprite, limeade and soda water.

State lore hints that the cocktail originated at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club in Oklahoma City back in the 1960s, and the drink gained popularity, spreading to country clubs across the state.

Sure, sipping a Club Special poolside at Southern Hills Country Club is a special treat, but this drink is just as delicious served up at home, by the pool or out on the deck at sunset.

If the Club Special serves as Oklahoma’s state cocktail, Texas has its own worth bragging about.

If you’ve spent any time in West Texas, you know about the relentless sun graced by an occasional tumbleweed-rolling breeze. We experience these sorts of days here in Oklahoma when water just doesn’t fully quench the thirst gained from an afternoon spent outdoors. Enter Ranch Water.

The exact birthplace of the tequila-based beverage is unknown. Still, the popularity of Ranch Water, a blend of silver tequila, lime juice and mineral water (specifically, Topo Chico brand) spread state-side and beyond over the past several years. Ranch Water is hard to mess up — the true beauty of the cocktail lies in its simplicity. Generally, a combination of two parts tequila to one part lime juice, topped with mineral water, leads to liquid relief.

Club Special

Makes one cocktail

Serve the Club Special over ice, or blend it all until slushy. Regardless, instant refreshment is coming your way.

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce Sprite

1 ounce limeade

Splash sparkling mineral water or club soda

Lemon and lime slices, for garnish

Stir together vodka, Sprite and limeade in a cocktail glass filled with ice. Top off with mineral water and garnish with lemon and lime slices.

Ranch Water

Makes one cocktail

Die-hard Texans claim it’s not Ranch Water unless it’s made with Topo Chico, but any sparkling mineral water will do. I like to rim the glass with a lime wedge and a dip in some red chile seasoning, such as Tajin.

3 ounces silver tequila

1½ ounces lime juice

Chilled Topo Chico or other sparkling mineral water

Fresh lime wedges, for garnish

Fill a highball or other cocktail glass with ice. Add tequila and lime juice. Top with Topo Chico and garnish with a lime wedge.

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