“If I die before I wake, at least in heaven I can skate. ’Cause right now on earth I can’t do jack without The Man up on my back” —OPM
In the year 2000, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 turned off moon physics and descended from Skate Heaven to bless a generation with one of the most buttery smooth and effortlessly cool games of its era. By bringing skate culture from the streets to the living room, perpetual good guy Tony Hawk left a permanent mark on millions—sometimes even literally, when gamers picked out their first board and decided to test their Pro Skater skills at real skateparks. (With all due respect to Birdhouse, I rocked a World Industries deck.)
Skate culture is better known for corner store beer and Red Bull than for fruity cocktails, but THPS2 turns 21 this year, and for that milestone birthday we’re mixing up something special. This is what it’s like when worlds collide for this signature cocktail, Heaven in a Half-Pint.
In honor of the Birdman’s much beloved second game and its first legal drinking year, we’re “combo”-ing together a sick mix of ingredients worthy of a high score. Unlike Tony Hawk, who can still land a 540 at 52 years old, my joints can’t slam into asphalt the way they could back when I played the original games, so I’m especially thankful to last year’s remakes of Pro Skater 1 + 2 for allowing me to relive those days without the physical impact.
This recipe is just a small way for me to show my appreciation for Tony Hawk as the face of one of my favorite games growing up, as the face of an entire sport, and as an all-around good dude. As on the nose(grind) as it might be, I specifically chose passionfruit as the primary mixer in this cocktail because Tony Hawk’s love and passion for skateboarding is absolutely inspiring. Watching him take his well-earned victory lap in recent years just to land tricks one more time leaves me more emotional than I would have expected. Just thinking about Tony hitting his last ever 900 almost five years ago gets me a bit choked up while writing this.
To Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 and to Tony Hawk himself, cheers—this drink is on me. Now let’s turn on free skate so we can all skate forever!
Heaven in a Half-Pint
For this cocktail, I decided to base the look and flavor of the drink on my favorite THPS2 level: Venice Beach. This level is the closest I’ve gotten to having fun in the sun over the past year, and I wanted to try capturing that sensation in a glass. Let’s finish making our custom skater, queue up Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerrilla Radio,” and take a look at the ingredient goals we’ll need to 100% complete our cocktail:
- 2 oz. silver tequila
- 1 oz. dark rum
- 2.5 oz. passionfruit juice
- 1.5 oz. mango juice
- 1 oz. lime juice
- 1 oz. simple syrup
- sweet mint leaves
- Find the Secret Tape (Okay, not really)
To ace this drink, we’ll first need to do a little drink prep, starting with making simple syrup. As the name suggests, simple syrup is very easy to make, as it’s just a 50-50 of hot water and sugar. Using either the microwave or stovetop, heat your water short of boiling. Next, add an equal amount of sugar (depending on how much syrup you want to make) and stir until it is all dissolved. Pro (Skater) tip: I recommend letting your syrup cool to at least room temperature before use so as not to make your ice melt faster and water down your drink.
Next we’ll be using our silver tequila (I used 1800 brand) and sweet mint leaves. For this step you can either infuse or muddle your mint. I personally prefer infusing, but if you don’t plan on doing prep 48 hours in advance, then muddling will be better for you. Assuming you’re going with the former, take your mint (I used three leaves for an eight-ounce portion) and pop-shove them either straight into the tequila bottle or a separate container. Two days later and your liquor will take on the fresh, minty taste and aroma we’re looking for. If you’re a skater that prefers grinding then you can use a muddler to release the freshness manually. Keep in mind, mint is a delicate herb so make sure not to over press if you take this route. I recommend the blunt end of a wooden muddler.
Now that our tequila and simple syrup are ready, it is time for the rest of our ingredients to drop in. This drink is a 180 spin on a mojito margarita, so we will be using both of the primarily liquors from each of those classic cocktails for our Heaven in a Half-Pint. Add 1 ounce of dark spiced rum (I used Kraken), 2.5 ounces of passionfruit juice, 1.5 ounces of mango juice, and 1 ounce of lime juice (home squeezed or store bought) to a shaker with 2 ounces of our minty tequila, 1 ounce of simple syrup, and ice. Vigorously shake and serve over light ice in either a collins or rocks glass.