The Liquid Generation and a Watermelon & Hibiscus Sweet Water

Rook Bar, Indianapolis, INmixology3liquid4

The hum of hungry, progressively caffeinated patrons. Chairs scooting around on floors. Partially used butter and jelly tubs strewn across tables. Syrupy smudged fingerprints from small, eager hands. The crack of an egg. The flip of a flapjack. The waiter or waitress paused, pad and pen at the ready, about to take the next order. 

“What’ll it be ma’am?”

“I’ll have the ginger-carrot-apple juice, with a boost of ginseng please. And also a coffee. Actually, I’ll do a decaf latte … I already had two cups before we got here.”

“Mmm hmm. And for you, sir?”

“I’ll just have a cup of black tea if you’ve got it. I think I’d also like to try your wheatgrass tonic and a large orange juice. And a coffee to go – black – but extra, extra hot. Can you do that? Like   s c r e a m i n g   hot?

“You got it. I’ll put those drink orders in for y’all and be back with your waters.”


 Name your restaurant. Name your town. Name your decade, even. The weekend breakfast rush probably looks and feels and smells and sounds almost exactly the same, no matter where your map dot may be and no matter what year it might say on the calendar. That is, of course, with one glaring exception …

My father-in-law calls us “The Liquid Generation.” A generation that has, somehow, come to operate almost completely based on the need for (or anticipated future need for) beverage consumption. Always thinking about the next drink we’re going to down, coffee we’re going to sip, smoothie we’re going to slurp, and water we’re going to tote along, our darling beverages have become somewhat akin to having pets.

“Nice Yeti, man!”

“Thanks, bro! I mix my protein shake in it every morning and then I just use it for my coconut water after the gym. Gotta stay hydrated, right? Wanna grab a coffee tomorrow or maybe do drinks one night this weekend?”

“Right on, man. Right on.”   – actual, overheard conversation

Did you know that the sleeve you place on your to-go coffee cups (you know, the cardboard one) is actually called a zarf? I kid you not. Zarf. Apparently when coffee was first popularized in the 13th century, it was served in small cups without handles that were placed in decorative zarfs to keep the drinker’s fingers from getting burned. Some ancient zarfs were even carved very beautifully, very intricately, and they were often made out of precious metals, rare woods or even ivory. This is a far cry from the oft misspelled, Sharpie-scribbled names that are penned on our pumpkin spice latte cups and/or zarfs these days … right on the line where it says, “This drink was specially crafted for … ”

“When I was your age, coffee was black and water was wet,” said my father-in-law with a smile and a shake of his head. “That was it. Things were … easier, simpler.”

As I write this post, I have no less than five beverage cups within reach, which is often the case when I’m writing or working, I have to admit. It sort of mirrors what our tables look like when we dine out, me and my fellow Liquid Gen’ers. I’m unsure as to whether it’s a good or bad, happy or sad thing that you can almost pinpoint the decade in which a table of restaurant patrons were born based solely off the number of glasses and/or accessories that are on the table. What’s more, you know you’ve earned your nickname when you can barely find a place on the entire table in which to squeeze your plate of food (i.e. the real reason you are there) because it is so littered with vessels for the myriad beverages you ordered. Happens every time, truth be told. This time though, two of the glasses in front of me belong to my children so you have to cut me a break right? Regardless, I am a loud and proud, card-carrying member of The Liquid Generation, whether I like it or not I suppose. Comes with the territory these days. Comes with the generation. We might not be “The Greatest Generation,” but we’re The Liquid Generation, and that counts for something.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I seemed to have misplaced my zarf.

Watermelon & Hibiscus Sweetwater


10 cups water

3/4 cup dried hibiscus flowers (or, 5 hibiscus tea bags)

1 mini seedless watermelon (about 2 lbs.)

1 cup sugar


Add 5 cups of water and the sugar to a medium sized pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the hibiscus flowers and boil gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sweetened tea steep for another 20 minutes. Using a sieve or slotted spoon, remove the flowers from the water (or just remove the tea bags). Set aside to cool.

Trim the rind off of the watermelon and cut it into chunks. Add half of the watermelon to a blender along with 2.5 cups of water and blend until very smooth. Repeat with the second half of the watermelon. In a large pitcher (at least 12 cups), combine the watermelon water and the sweetened hibiscus tea and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours prior to serving, and enjoy!

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