The world of cocktails can seem more like chemistry than cooking. Unlike angry chefs, who spend their days stomping and swearing, mixologists are more methodical. Scuttling like mad scientists, grabbing vials of oddly coloured fluid from dusty shelves, they spent hours perfecting potions and making liquid magic. Whether you enjoy them or not, cocktails are undeniably cool.
Though there are thousands of awesome drinks to choose from, some bars do have a dark side. It wouldn’t be a cocktail menu if there wasn’t something really weird on the menu, and there are a few venues that seem to specialise in the strange. Featuring odd ingredients and amazing techniques, here are seven of the weirdest cocktails from around the world.
1. Camel Milk Cocktail
With a famously hawkish attitude to alcohol, the Middle East might be the last place you expect to find an unusual drink. The strict rules and regulations haven’t stopped the Ritz-Carlton Grand Canal in Abu Dhabi from thinking outside the box when it comes to their drinks menu. Providing a range of camel-based shakes, prepared by a team that specialise in camel mixology, this hotel has certainly found its USP.
2. The Crapper
As a rule, toilets and food should be kept separate. There’s something backwards about starting your night with your head in the loo because of a drink. Nonetheless, at Rock and Rita’s in Las Vegas, this is the only way to kickstart an evening’s entertainment. The Crapper contains rum, chocolate and coconut and comes garnished with a suggestive Snickers log.
3. The Moby Dick Sazerac
Any type of seafood is best left out of the cocktail equation, but there are some ingredients that raise far more question marks than others. Take ambergris. This hardened and dessicated excretion has historically been a prized component of perfumes and other flavourings, despite the fact it comes from a sperm whale’s bile ducts. This particularly delightful concoction can be picked up at White Lyan in London.
Turning perfectly tasty food into liquid has become an increasingly popular fad over the last few years. But, even for the most ardent smoothie advocate, the meatequita might be a bridge too far. Tequila, chorizo, vegetable juice, balsamic vinegar, port, pepper and sea salt are all blended into a margarita glass, before being garnished with a strip of beef jerky, in what is probably the most filling drink ever created.
The undisputed king of weird drinks, the sourtoe cocktail has the dubious distinction of being one of the only drinks on earth that involves human body parts. The mummified appendage of a previous bar patron is placed in a glass, before being covered with the drinkers liquor of choice. Rules dictate that as you drink, your lips must “touch the toe”. Anyone feeling brave can get it at The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Canada.
Though not specific to any bar in particular, the idea behind the tapeworm is so innately horrible that it’s impossible to ignore. Vodka, tabasco and black pepper are mixed in a shot glass, before a squeeze of mayonnaise is left to snake to the bottom, looking like a hideous alien parasite. Best avoided at all costs.
7. Bubble Bath Martini
Bubble baths my smell yummy, but anyone who’s made the mistake of trying to taste them knows that the flavour leaves a lot to be desired. That hasn’t stopped one particularly maverick London bar. Lychee, poppy seed, lavender and rose combine in an airy martini glass that comes complete with its own rubber duck.
Unless you stick with the classics, almost every cocktail comes with an element of danger. That’s part of what makes ordering them so much fun. That being said, there are some risks that aren’t worth taking. As we’ve just seen, there’s a fine line between an exciting experiment and something truly horrible.