By Jack Hackley/Jack Remembers
Oak Grove has had several people who became well-known in their field, including labor leaders, airline pilots and politicians. My favorite was Red Lyons, who was a famous bartender. He and his wife, Betty, lived in Oak Grove for many years.
Red was a bartender at the Carriage Club, an exclusive membership club in Kansas City near the Plaza. While at the Carriage Club, he became known nationwide by inventing a drink called “Bullshot” that would spread like wildfire and would have a cult following that included many Hollywood stars. I still read interviews in stargazing-type columns that say when a movie star is asked his favorite drink, he says it’s “Bullshot.”
One of the downfalls of a person who drinks is that he doesn’t eat properly. Red tried to solve this by coming up with a recipe that was nourishing. In a gallon jar, he poured a quart of vodka, squeezed a dozen lemons, putting a few in the jar, and added four cans of beef consomme soup and a little Worchestershire or Tabasco and filled the balance of the gallon jar with water. Now this drink takes some getting used to and should not be drunk when there is a full moon.
Steve Romanchuk and I were working on a building at Lincoln University in Jefferson City and shared a duplex with the superintendent. This is about the same time Red had come up with his formula for “Bullshot.” One night we mixed up a gallon and put it in the refrigerator. The next evening Steve and I worked overtime and came back to the duplex just before dark. The superintendent was leaning against his pickup, trying to get in. He was not in good shape. His was incoherent, his speech was slurred and it sounded like he was trying to talk in a foreign language. When we finally got him back inside to see what the problem was, there on the kitchen table was that gallon jar with about two inches of “Bullshot” in the bottom. He had overdosed on Campbell’s beef consomme soup.