Disastrous events have long inspired drink names, recipes
Hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes and tsunamis. Toss in a few cyclones, avalanches, blizzards and flaming volcanos. These are all names of some weather-rocking cocktails worth concocting when September rolls in and brings what is usually the Gulf Coast’s most active tropical upheavals.
Naming drinks after disasters, natural or otherwise, seems par for the course. After all, they were even breaking out the hard stuff on the Titanic — there was plenty of ice. It’s part humor and part anecdote to bad happenings.
Ever hear of the Gulf Spill? One was catastrophic. The other is blueberry juice, Kahlua and chocolate liqueur all shaken up to give it that crude-oil-in-water sheen, which is then poured into a martini glass for the Gulf bowl effect. Finally, it’s topped with floating whole blueberries to resemble tar balls. Actually, it’s quite tasty.
Bombshells at 803 E. NASA Parkway in Webster offers up some other man-made disasters in a glass, specifically one called Pearl Harbor, a rather fruity, tropical concoction, and another called The Alamo, for which the principle ingredient is appropriately Hornitos Tequila. It’s easy to remember.
Disaster drinks go back centuries. The Earthquake, for example, originally sported the name in French, Tremblement de Terre. The absinthe, gin and whiskey cocktail was invented by Paris artist and ardent imbiber Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec of Moulin Rouge fame. Being a short fellow whose feet did not touch the floor while sitting, it’s likely a couple of these rocked him off his stool a few times, and it was more face-saving to say the Earth moved.
The Texas coast has been spared any actual tsunamis, but it has been blessed with a Tsunami. Tsunami Exotic Tequila Emporium, 2413 Strand in Galveston’s downtown, has a signature Tsunami drink made with 1800 Silver Tequila, Cointreau, pomegranate juice, fresh lemon juice and sweet and sour. If that’s not enough to ground your boat, they can follow it with their Surge, made with Avion Reposado Tequila, fresh lime and also a splash of sweet and sour.
Of course, what Texas does get is hurricanes, and who hasn’t heard or felt the destruction of the Hurricane cocktail, that sweetly intoxicating drink made famous in New Orleans by early speak-easy owner Pat O’Brien? The resulting upsurge it often produces is never pretty. The cocktail got its name from the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses it was served in, more than an actual storm, but the drink itself came from an attempt in the 1940s by O’Brien to get rid of the growing cases of cheap rum his distributors were forcing him to buy. The drink surprised everyone with its sudden popularity and is now a mainstay of New Orleans tourism. Just the same, O’Brien had a thing for bad weather. Legend has it the passwords to get into his bar during Prohibition were “Storm’s Brewin.’”
After Hurricane Katrina, a number of New Orleans’ establishments concocted drinks to acknowledge the storm that nearly destroyed the city. One that bears her name is made of banana liqueur, Galliano liqueur, grapefruit juice, orange juice and rum. For added effect, pour it in a too-small glass so it rises to the top, then spills over.
It was seven years ago this month that Hurricane Ike roared in and left indelible changes all through our area. Signs of its passing are still visible, including at a few local bars such as Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar, 3828 Seawall Blvd., in Galveston. Permanently on the pool menu is the Hurricane Ike, a potent, Category 4 cocktail made with Bacardi Light Rum, Myers’s Dark Rum, orange and pineapple juice, a splash of house-made piña colada mix, grenadine and a bit of grapefruit juice. It’s kind of a Caribbean tidal surge in a glass.
Ike wasn’t ignored over at Stingaree Restaurant & Marina in Crystal Beach, either. Actually, the bar crew there, under the direction of bar manager Rayna Reagan, tend to acknowledge a lot of hurricanes, tropical storms and the like. With the first floor made messy when Ike came through, the restaurant and its three bars were closed for six months, during which time the Ike Spike was born.
“I’m not sure who even came up with the drink, because we were all in the bar during down time and it kind of happened,” Reagan said. “You could call it a group project.”
The drink, made with citrus vodka and lemonade, tips its hat to the tropics. One thing everyone insisted on is that it be served in a hurricane glass, Reagan said.
A more recent drink is the Banana Bill, created in June when Tropical Storm Bill formed to everyone’s surprise, then barreled straight for Texas. Tropical Storm Bill formed immediately after leaving the Yucatán, thus the Banana Bill is made with coconut rum and banana liqueur.
“Neither of these are actually on our menu,” Reagan said. “But we have a lot of regulars here who know about them and ask for them. If a new storm comes through, we’ll probably get asked what we’ve come up with.”
Stingaree’s Ike Spike
1 ounce Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka
2 ounces. lemonade
1 ounce cranberry juice
Splash of Sprite
Combine the first three ingredients in a cocktail shaker and mix well. Fill a hurricane glass with ice and pour the ingredients of the shaker over it. Top with a splash of Sprite. Garnish with a lime slice or strawberry.