After the interview, Rachel once again offers to make Steve cocktails he might remember. He reminds her once again he can't get drunk, and she once again explains that drinking doesn't have to be about getting drunk. They have this argument every single time Steve appears on The Rachel Maddow Show, except this time Steve says, "Sure."
Which is how he ends up in a bar with Rachel Maddow. How Tony finds them, Steve has no idea, but there he is, just as Rachel is pouring the first round of drinks. Steve also wisely doesn't inquire as to how Rachel got the bartender to let her take over, either. He's learned a lot from knowing Tony.
"The internet seems to think you're almost as good at mixing a drink as you are on television, Dr. Maddow," Tony says, smoothly. "But then, the internet thinks a lot of things are good that I could build a robot out of things in this room to do better." Steve choose not to kick him under the table, but he thinks about it for a moment.
"See for yourself," she says, and carefully layers dark rum over the mixture she's already poured in the glass.
Steve takes a sip. "This is good. It tastes familiar." He's not sure why. It must be something Bucky had ordered once upon a time, and he'd stolen a sip of.
"It's a Mai Tai," Tony says with a shrug. "Good, but not very adventurous."
"The drink wasn't intend for you, and also, I'd like to see your robot do better," Rachel says, challenge in her voice. "The robot has to be made out off things in this room, it can't take you longer than, let's say an hour, to build. Best out of five drinks."
"You're on. You pick the drinks. I'll start building," Tony says, his smile shark-like.
Steve groans. Tony and Rachel both ignore him.
An hour later the bar is trashed. There are springs and screws and other things Steve doesn't recognize everywhere, and Tony has already written the manager a check with too many zeros.
"Ready?" Rachel says, holding the drink list in her hand.
"Go," Tony comes close to yelling and grabs the piece of paper out of her hand. He reads it twice and sets it down in front of Steve to get started.
Steve's never been much of a drinker. He never really saw the point. He wonders if that's why he doesn't recognize most of the things on the list, or if this is the equivalent of Olympic cocktail mixing.
The list reads:
1) Traditional Hemingway
2) Tantris Sidecar
3) Monkey Gland
4) Jet Pilot
5) Blue Blazer
Steve's not even sure he wants to drink any of these, but Tony gets the robot set up, and watches intensely as both Rachel and the robot perform.
Rachel's Hemingway is prettier than the robot's, and Tony scowls as he tastes both and goes to adjust something while Steve sips both drinks.
Rachel drinks the robot's first and then hers. "I win this one."
Tony sighs, but agrees, "Fine. Everyone is a little bumpy the first time out, and you've probably made this drink a hundred times."
"One point to Rachel," Steve says, and they set about the next drink.
The robot completes its task first, almost a full ten minutes before Rachel puts her drink on the bar.
"I think I should win this on efficiency alone," Tony says, drinking Rachel's creation.
"It's good," Rachel admits, "you can have the point."
Steve can't really tell the difference, but he confirms Tony's point anyway. Rachel takes the point for the Monkey Gland, as the robot over squeezes the orange juice, but it wins the point for the Jet Pilot.
"It's a tie," Steve says, and Rachel and Tony stare at each other.
"You could surrender now," Rachel says.
"Or you could," Tony replies.
"Look, both of you made amazing drinks, maybe we should give the bartender back his bar," Steve says, trying to ramp down the competitive tension in the room a bit.
"Can't quit now," Tony says.
"Yeah, not when I'm about to beat you," Rachel replies.
And then it's on. They pour and measure, just like every other drink. Steve doesn't even see the disaster coming, not until Rachel has actually set her alcohol on fire, and the robot follows suit.
"Tony! Setting this place on fire wasn't part of the deal," Steve says in his best I-am-disappointed-in-your-lack-of-respect-for-property voice.
"Don't worry. I know what I'm doing, if anyone is going to set the place on fire, it'll be Rachel," Tony says with a smile, watching the blue fire arc from cup to cup. Rachel actually sticks her tongue out at him, as her hands work their fire throwing magic. Steve wonders what kind of monster he's created.
Of course, that's when things do go completely wrong, and exactly in the way Steve expects. The robot bumps Rachel's hand, the fiery alcohol, goes flying, and suddenly a pile of bar napkins are in flames.
It might actually have turned into a full blown disaster, but the minute the fire came out, Steve had located the fire extinguisher. One foamy spray later, and the only thing still on fire was the single glass sitting in front of the robot.
"I win!" Tony yells, and for a moment Steve thinks he's going to have to stop Rachel from jumping over the bar and throttling Tony. They've each had five drinks right here in front of him, and Tony may have started before he showed up.
"Game canceled due to fire," Rachel replies, arms crossed over her chest.
"You didn't finish making the drink," Tony points out.
"It's a tie, or I'm declaring cocktail war."
"Cocktail war it is."
Steve stands between them. "Not it's not. The two of you almost destroyed the bar!"
Tony ignores Steve. "Two weeks from today. Nine drinks, the bartenders from Pegu as judges."
"I'll be there," Rachel says, and then turns to Steve. "Did you at least enjoy the Mai Tai?"
Steve smiles, hoping that this silly competition will blow over. "I did. I think I might have had one before. Yours was very good."
"Thank you," Rachel says.
If he didn't have enhanced hearing, he might have missed Rachel whispering "I won," in Tony's ear on her way out.
"Cap! Look!" Clint calls from in front of the television. Tony's been down in his lab tinkering with his drink making robot ever since they got back from the bar twelve hours ago, and Natasha and Thor are out doing something Steve didn't quite catch and probably doesn't want to know about, so he and Clint are hanging out.
It's The Daily Show, and there's a picture of Rachel and Tony on the screen. Steve groans.
"Titans of industry and alcohol clash next week, when the feud between Rachel Maddow and Tony Stark over cocktail mixing comes to a head: Robot vs. Pundit. We here at The Daily Show are routing for our fellow pundit, because now that the robots own chess and Jeopardy, we'd like to think humans were good for something, if only getting drunk."
Clint looks at Steve. "What exactly happened last night?"