Bartenders have a lot to deal with. Essentially, they're not just ‘tending—they're also working as part-time therapists, babysitters, comedians, janitors, and various other professions. So when it comes to naming drinks, expecting bartenders to exhibit a Draper-esque mastery of branding is a bit much.
"Cocktail names are a very ‘book by its cover' situation, in my opinion," says Benjamin Konrad, a bartender at Three Aces in University Village. "Who cares as long as it tastes good?" At the end of the day, it's what's inside the drink that counts, so if a cringe-worthy name can be memorable, that's a win. Benjamin adds, "We had a hot toddy on the menu named ‘Heavenly Toddies.' It's one of the worst names we've had for a drink, but I love it."
Customers and writers may too, but it doesn't mean they won't make fun of it. Hence, here's a rundown of some of the worst-named cocktails in town.
"Welcome Back, Felicia"
A three-time recipient of Michelin's Bib Gourmand tag, Wood doesn't mess around in the kitchen. However, behind the bar, there's obviously a fair amount of hijinks going on. Currently you can also order a "Suns Out, Guns Out" (bergamot-infused Kappa Pisco, Fernet-Branca, rosemary honey, lemon), however, as a riff on the Bye, Felicia meme, "Welcome Back, Felicia" takes the cake for the simple fact that it's ... named after a meme. How about "More Cowbell" too?
"Cheeky Cheeky Boom Boom"
At Double A, you can order a "Cheeky Cheeky Boom Boom" (Absolut 100, elderflower, strawberry, lemon, vanilla sugar). But if you speak the name of this drink three times under the pale moon light, an undead demon may reach out from the dark side to walk among us and wreak havoc on the mortal world, sowing despair and pestilence in its wake.
"Shrubbed the Right Way"
Bottlefork gets massive bonus points for "I Hope There's Always Snow in Your Driveway" (Mistral Pisco, Smith & Cross Rum, huckleberry, lime, mint), a shout-out to homegrown star Chance the Rapper's line on the "Baby Blue" track. It loses many of them for naming a drink "Shrubbed the Right Way," (Riazul Tequila, Dumante Pistachio, pineapple shrub, celery bitters) which sounds like a rash waiting to happen.
The Heavy Feather
Heavy Feather makes a drink named the "Freddy Fuddpucker" (El Corazon Tequila, El Peleton Mezcal, Galliano, habanero honey, orange, mole bitters). "Excuse me, you did what?" is a line you'll probably hear often there. Not to be outdone, Slippery Slope once served a drink named "Tinder Juice" downstairs.
"Hungry Hungary Hookah"
The Violet Hour
Violet Hour's managing partner Eden Lauren states that its "Hungry Hungary Hookah" cocktail (Botran White Rum, lime, plum syrup, Unicum Plum, Miller High Life) "is a riff on a drink from a menu from two years ago called "Hungry Hungry Hipster," which had a similar build. Also the Unicum is from Hungary, hence the name."
"The Beachcomber's Rule No. 2: Never Bet on Another Man's Game"
Upon first glance, "The Beachcomber's Rule No. 2: Never Bet on Another Man's Game" (overproof Demerara rum, overproof Jamaican rum, aged Jamaican rum, passionfruit, pineapple, lime, lemon, falernum, Angostura bitters) seems like a ridiculously lengthy name. However, A Synopsis of the Butchery of the Late Sir Washington Irving Bishop (Kamilimilianalani), a most worthy Mason of the thirty-second degree, the Mind Reader and philanthropist, by Eleanor Fletcher Bishop, His Broken Hearted Mother is also an actual book title, so it seems as if Lost Lake still has some ground to make up.
"Fungus Among Us"
Broken Shaker Chicago
Many customers are really into the snack game at Broken Shaker, which features skewers, pickles, beef jerky, and charcuterie. But many probably aren't into reliving the questionable concerts they went to in high school, which is hard to do when "Fungus Among Us" (Benedictine liqueur infused with porcini mushrooms, Ancho Reyes, Milagro Reposado Tequila) pretty much shares its name with the Incubus album "Fungus Amongus".
Is the bartender just looking around the bar and naming things after what they see?
"All About That Trace"
If you order "All About That Trace" (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Cynar, Redeye Bitters), your eyes might roll into the back of your head for eternity when the chorus of the Meghan Trainor song bounces through your brain forever.
Doesn't the complete, final destruction of the world happen only once?
"Rye N Gosling"
No further comments.
Nico's head bartender Matty Eggleston states that "none of our drinks have terrible names. They're all perfect." Matty has the patience and understanding of a saint, or at least a third-grade soccer coach. Well, at least "Pear Affair" (Ford's Gin, St. George Spiced Pear, Giffard Ginger of the Indies, Verjus, and Peychaud's Bitters) rhymes.