The Vader

"The Vader," from Make It Like a Man!

The force is strong with this one.

I drink a lot of coffee, so I think I’m acclimated to caffeine. But I am buzzing right now. I just had “The Vader,” from Everybody’s Coffee (Uptown, Chicago). It’s a couple of shots of espresso and a shot of vanilla, poured into a Mexican Coke. Yeah, you read that right: two espressos and a Mexican Coke.

“What does it taste like?” has to be what you’re wondering. Well, it tastes exactly like espresso and Coke. The really weird thing is, it’s a great flavor combination. I can’t explain it to you, but the cola and coffee flavors complement one another surprisingly well. It’s delicious. I want to go so far as to say it’s fucking delicious, but I’m trying to swear less during the holidays. “Has anybody shot at you?” has to be the other thing you’re wondering, if you know Uptown. Not to worry, with this much caffeine and sugar in me, I’m pretty sure I’m impervious to bullets.

A curious thing, The Vader … you know how carbonated pop foams up when you pour it over ice (especially when there’s a significant temperature difference between the pop and the ice)? Well, the espresso crema (that’s what you call the foam atop an espresso) combines with the pop foam (“suds,” I guess … hardly as sexy a name as crema), and together they form a thick head similar to what you might expect on a creamy, creamy root beer float.

"The Vader," from Make It Like a Man!

What an impressive buzz! My head is swirling with caffeine. I am typing 150 words per minute, and I’m thinking a million times faster than that. I’m not just alert, I have superpowers of alertness and energy out the wazoo!! My hearing has become super-human, and I’m pretty sure I’ve developed X-ray vision. I’ll bet I could spontaneously tap dance if I wanted to, even though I’ve never had a dance lesson. I suspect that if I had a second Vader, I might develop telekinetic abilities.

Why Mexican Coke? At first, I was thinking that was a euphemism for cocaine, which would explain why after drinking it, I feel confident far in excess of my real abilities, but I suspect that it has to do with the sugar in Mexican Coke, as opposed to the corn syrup in American Coke. Of course, this makes perfect sense, considering the complex chemical properties of white sugar and its relationship to caffeine.

Unlike caffeine, most simple sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose are very soluble in water and exhibit little detectable tendency to associate in aqueous solution. However, they have different solubilities in water, with fructose being significantly more soluble than glucose or the disaccharide sucrose. As osmolytes in a Hofmeister sense, sugars hydrate strongly and generally are excluded from the surfaces of proteins, promoting conformational stability. National Center for Biotechnology Information

I find myself curiously able to trust my feelings … I’m going to type the rest of this post using the force, while I use my fingers to turn my cell phone charger into a light saber.

"The Vader," from Make It Like a Man!

The Vader


I have to confess that my comprehension of osmolytes and aqueous solutions diminished as my Vader buzz – which impressively lasted all morning – wore off. Worse than that, my phone is sitting in front of me in a dozen pieces, and I don’t know how to put it back together.

This content was not solicited – not by Everybody’s Coffee, not by the Jesus People, not by Lucasfilm, and especially not by Darth Vader. Nor was it written in exchange for anything, including schematics on the Death Star. (I traded my recipe for Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies for that.) This is my second post on the general topic of Everybody’s Coffee, and I have to say, if I were going to join a commune, this would be the one I’d join. The woman who rang up my Vader and whole-grain banana-chocolate chip muffin is wearing those so-trendy Adele eyes – and wearing them well – and the Jedi who made my Vader is a heavily bearded, lumberjacky hipster dude with color tattoos right up his arm. When he handed it to me, he said, “Watch out when you stir this, because it’s going to foam up.” But I swear to you, if he had said, “I am your father” I would’ve screamed “No!” but I would’ve believed him.

Credit for images on this page Baker & Nosh – The Sheridan Parkonian, Two Bearded Men – JPUSA, Green Mill – Uptown History, Uptown Marquee – The Red Line Project. All others: Make It Like a Man! Hover over images and/or green text for pop-up info. Click for joy.

Public Service Announcement: I call it “pop,” because I’m from Chicago, and we Midwesterners know how to properly address a soda.

Warning: drinking The Vader on the way to see The Force Awakens at the theater this weekend might lure you too close to the dark side. Don’t do it!

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"Baker & Nosh," from The Sheridan Parkonian, via Make It Like a Man! The Vader

Baker & Nosh

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"Green Mill Sunken Gardens," from Uptown History, via Make It Like a Man! The Vader


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11 thoughts on “The Vader

  1. I swear my head is buzzing just reading about this. Oh, hold on, I’m drinking a free-poured gin & tonic. My third one.

    I vaguely remember seeing a coffee drink called the Vader when I was last in the States. Where? God knows. I just remember seeing it. Perhaps I should have ordered it!
    John @ heneedsfood recently posted…Šape {paws}

    • That’s it, of course! I need to find an alcohol that would taste good mixed with The Vader! Can you imagine the result?

  2. Hahaha…I am laughing my ass off at this post, Jeff! My holiday to-do list is going a bit nuts right now, so I’m thinking a Vader or two might be in order. Have you ever done back to back Vaders? I think you should give that a shot…maybe you can type 300 words a minute then? Think how epic that would be…and how much work we could get done! P.S. Love the disclaimer!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Gingerbread

    • I was so tempted to have an immediate second one, David. I really, really was. But I’m actually one of those persons who, if he trusted his feelings, would probably cause some serious mischief.

  3. Now that you’ve had the Vader, you’re a member of the secret Star Wars drink club. Next time ask for the Darth Maul, it’s even better.

    • Proud to be a member, Joshua. When do we meet? (That was a trick question; “when” is obviously part of the secret.) Had the Maul. Too sweet, too cloying, too brutal, too … raspberry. I prefer my dark side to be … darker.

  4. I can believe that the bitter coffee and sweet coke work well. Fernet Branca and Coke (a bitter Italian Amaro) is a magical combination of sweet and bitter. GREG

    • Hmm. I’ll have to try Fernet Branca one day. I was surprised about The Vader, and even after I tasted it, it was like … that’s weird … but strangely good. Not surprised about the bitter-sweet … I’ve been known to add a Tbs of sugar to a single-shot espresso, even though I now drink it black, of course. (I was in college, experimenting.) But what really threw me was the espresso-cola combination. Cola weirdly lends itself to the espresso.

  5. I cannot stop laughing – HA HA HA HA! Do tell me you’re waiting in line for the Midnight screening?!

    • Nope, just planning to fend my way through the crowds over the weekend. Maybe if I jack myself up on a couple Vaders, I can use the force to cut to the front of the line!

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