Tonight we'll explore the seedy world of inappropriately or offensively named cocktails - drinks that might have had a chance to gain popularity if they'd just been named differently. The naming of a drink can go south pretty easily. You can have a golden name, like the Ox Blood - but that's not so great if the cocktail caters to lighter, sweet-leaning drinkers. Oddly, the drink's descendant, Kiss in the Dark, is a more manly drink by comparison. Or let's say you're celebrating a new Italian leader and name a drink Il Duce in his honor. Not a bad idea...but in this case only slightly better than say, Der Fuhrer, or the Auschwitz Cocktail. Or how about the Doctor Johnson? Not too bad...until decades later it becomes the trademark of a dildo manufacturer. Some are just stupid and unappetizing - see the Macaroni Cocktail. Why did they do that? Did it really taste like pasta? (Not likely - 2 parts absinthe to 1 part sweet vermouth) Perhaps a similar thought process brought us the Eider Duck (equal parts cognac, kirsch, curacao and lemon)? Then there are the head-scratchers. Perhaps you'd like to settle back in your easy chair with a nice, icy cold Drakensburger? (equal parts Rose's lime cordial, rum and tangerine liqueur....hmmm, no thanks). Or how about the Leg Before Wicket? I guess they didn't care if that one caught on in the USA. Best of all, but unfortunately a bit too sweet...the Gay Divorce Cocktail. (Lillet, gin, curacao). The list is endless. So, without further ado, some tasty tipples from the Island of Misnamed Cocktails:
Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail $7
Nothing inspires confidence in your customers quite so much as naming your drink after a notorious trickster who's after their wallet! What's in it? Colored water and a dash of grain alcohol? The parenthetical nomenclature doesn't help either. Recently rescued by Ted Haigh in his top notch tome, Vintage Cocktails and Forgotten Spirits. Dry gin, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, Angostura bitters, up.
Brown Lady $7
I was going to run this drink last year for the 7 Ladies & A Communist menu, but couldn't track down one of the ingredients - namely, Van der Hum, a tangerine-based liqueur from South Africa. I've since acquired a bottle and am pleased to report this is a fine drink with a nice tart/sweet balance, closely related to the White Lady or Delilah. Gin, Van der Hum, and lemon juice, up. The drink is more of a golden than brown color so I'd conjecture that the name has to do with the South African liqueur.
A stupid name that people would rather not even say aloud...but a wonderful and unique drink: Calvados (French apple brandy), grapefruit juice, and Swedish Punsch (lemon, tea & spice-infused blend of rum & Arrack), up.
No Name Cocktail $7
Now here's a name that really sells the drink. Its creator couldn't even be bothered to think of anything. Fortunately they seem to have put some effort into the recipe: dry gin, lemon juice, Grand Marnier, and kirschwasser (dry, young cherry brandy), up.
Paddy Cocktail $6
I guess it's a better name than Kraut Cocktail, or Jew Punch....essentially a dry Manhattan with Irish whiskey. This one works nicely - the more delicate, floral character of the Irish style is a good fit with the herbal qualities of dry vermouth. Powers Irish whiskey, dry vermouth, Angostura bitters, up.
White Man's Burden $7
Last but certainly not least, the most horribly named delicious cocktail ever! Sloe gin, apricot liqueur, and lime juice, up.
menu good 1/30 & 2/6, 9pm-close, at the bar