It’s funny how quickly one gets accustomed to a certain baseline of dignity, when you become a cocktail fan. Oh sure, there’s always room for a well-made G&T, or even a rum and coke, but as one’s exposure to well-crafted cocktails in good bars increases, one’s expectations for what constitutes a real cocktail or mixed drink tends to increase along with it. Eventually, you start to assume that most drinkers, like yourself, care about basic standards of quality and tact in their drinks. You doubt that anyone, outside of drunken frat boys, is voluntarily consuming large amounts of Everclear.
And you are WRONG, when you make that assumption. Because people are getting drunk off pure grain alcohol—in actual business establishments, not just in dorms—on a daily basis. And I have the incredible drinks menu to prove it.
I stumbled across this establishment’s menu the other day while looking up something cocktail-centric on the web, and it immediately captured my imagination. To think that the clientele of this bar are sidling up to the rail and ordering THESE DRINKS on a daily basis is both sad and illuminating—a glimpse into how the party crowd actually lives. Suffice to say, the drinks here are largely disgusting, and most of them heavily imply they’ll aid you in either blacking out or doing something profoundly illegal. All would be perfectly at home on Bourbon St. in New Orleans, but instead this is in the middle of an average American city. Their names and descriptions are tawdry, full of misspellings and brazen innuendo. The entire menu reads like it was written by someone who’d just had half a dozen of the drinks featured on it, and then typed the descriptions with his feet.
Amusingly, the food side of the menu is almost completely normal.
For the sake of not being pointlessly cruel, I won’t list the establishment’s name. Suffice to say, it has a tropical theme, an extreme lack of understanding about what constitutes a “daiquiri,” and their single favorite ingredient appears to be maximum strength grain alcohol. This is going to be fun.
Check out some of these drinks, which I remind you are coming from an actual bar, where people are buying them with actual money.
1. Strawberry Daiquiri
This isn’t so bad, right? Sure, the main selling point is the amount of rum involved, but at least it’s made with real strawberries, right? It’s something a human being might conceivably want to order, right? I’m overreacting, right? Well buckle up, folks. I’ve only included this one as an admission that there are one or two vaguely “normal” things on the menu.
2. Blue Mutha’ Shut Yo’ Mouth!
Ah, here we go. Vague reference to “blue” without any indication of what flavor this might be trying to emulate? Check. Exclamation points? Check. A promise to provide “plenty of 190% grain alcohol”? Check.
This entry establishes another precedent: Most of the mixed/frozen drinks here are the bar equivalent of frat house hunch punch/jungle juices, and the majority of them proudly feature plenty of neutral, maximum-strength grain alcohol. Have you ever seen a bar brag about serving you Everclear before? Because I have not. Most bars keep their bottles of pure grain alcohol hidden, feeling a sense of shame at even admitting they exist. It’s made all the more amazing by the fact that whoever wrote this menu seems to have no idea of what Everclear actually is, calling it “190% grain alcohol” in every entry. I’d love to sit down with this person and listen to what they think “proof” vs. “alcohol by volume” actually means. I’m sure it would be enlightening.
3. Sour Apple
No apples were harmed in the making of this drink. Also, if your vodka is for some reason “sour,” then something might be wrong.
4. Purple Rain
Now we’re cooking with gas—which conveniently may be an ingredient in “Purple Rain.”
Show of hands: Who has seen “a lot of imagination” listed as a cocktail ingredient before?
5. The DUI and the Orgasm
But wait, this bar doesn’t just serve gross drinks full of blackout potential, they also serve raunchy or otherwise in-poor-taste drinks as well! The Orgasm will “keep you coming back for multiples” of that grain alcohol goodness, while the aptly named DUI realizes that mere Everclear isn’t enough and pours some vodka on top of it for good measure.
Why yes, I did in fact erase the bar’s name in MS paint and crudely write in “our,” to save them the embarrassment of having to take possession of these drinks. You’re welcome!
Ah, this must be that new Tang-flavored gin I’ve heard so much about.
Bonus points for the combination of ALL-CAPS lettering and the way the sizes of each word subtly fluctuate up and down for no reason.
7. The Habitual Violator and the Pink Panties
Ah, the one-two punch of these two drinks really conjures up that sexual assault imagery you want in a perfect, grain alcohol-based mixed drink.
Don’t drink one and drive, though. That’s what the DUI drink is for, after all.
8. ____ Du Ciroc
The only thing better than mixing a bunch of different grain alcohol slushies together—paying $18 to put some premium vodka on top! Where are we, San Francisco? (We are not in San Francisco.)
They were so proud of this particular specialty drink, in fact, that they put their name on it. Only an MS Paint eraser can cover the shame.
9. Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy killed only … 233 people in eight different countries, some seven years ago. Now is the perfect time to charge $12 for a grain alcohol pineapple drink with that name, topped with vodka! And if we could work in a way to misspell “wallop” as thoroughly as possible, that would be even better.
Oh well, I guess not all drinks can have the quiet dignity of the MUTHA FXXKING ORGASM.
10. All In One
It’s a good thing I’m finished writing—I wouldn’t want my train of thought to be derailed by the fact that I’ll be throwing up for the next 20 minutes at the thought of this drink.
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident spirits geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.