I think my bar-star era of the early 2000s has returned to haunt me because it feels like the Paralyzer is making a comeback.
Ask anyone in their late 30s to mid 50s and they will likely tell you that a Paralzyer was one of the most consumed cocktails of their youth. It's hard to imagine a person drinking more than one cream-and-cola-based cocktail in an evening, but speaking from personal experience, it did happen...and I'm sure you can imagine the hangover.
What is a Paralyzer cocktail?
Said to have been invented in Winnipeg in the early 1980s, and a spin on a White Russian, a traditional Paralyzer consists of vodka, coffee liqueur, cola, and cream. It's smooth and sweet, and has a masked potency that can sneak up on you like a mischievous prankster.
In the United States, the indulgent drink is actually known as a Colorado Bulldog. The Colorado Bulldog is created with the same ingredients as a Canadian Paralyzer, though sometimes club soda is substituted for cola.
Its origins are hazy, but the simple fact that American variation can opt for club soda could hint at the fact that it is a creamy spin on a Mind Eraser cocktail and not, in fact, a soda-pop spin on a White Russian.
Whether you call it a Paralyzer or a Colorado Bulldog, this sweet drink has is considered a true classic in North American cocktail culture.
Why are cream-based cocktails cool again?
The Grasshopper is the equivalent of a boozy, sippable After Eight mint, and it's coming back in vogue.
I think it's fair to say that the return of the Espresso Martini—and its said-to-be-invented-in-Calgary variation The Shaft—as a wildly popular menu item in the past couple of years has been the gateway for dairy-based alcoholic beverages to creep back into the limelight.
It reminded us that "old school" liqueurs like Kahlua (or similar coffee-based liqueurs) aren't just for collecting dust on a liquor shelf. What's old is always new again, so it's no surprise to see other products like creme de menthe, creme de cacao starting to reappear on bar menus across the country.
If you have yet to be acquainted with the Paralzyer and other throwback cocktails like a Grasshopper, a Dirty Banana or a Pink Panther, chances are you'll be sipping on at least one of them before the end of 2024.