Last night was judgment night at Fruit Bat: We, the writers of the bi-weekly “Cocktail Guess” column, along with host Erik Holzherr, owner of the cocktail-centric boite on H Street NE, picked a winner in the You Call That an Artini? contest.
An average of the judges’ scores suggested victory for Scott Stead‘s “Bitch Set Me Up”—a deep purple-colored drink made with marionberries, angostura bitters, muddled lemon, Bluecoat gin, Benedictine, cherry brandy, and pineapple juice, served up in a martini glass rimmed with powdered sugar and accented with $1 bills. We liked the colorful nod to D.C.’s most prominent politician and the heady combination of gin and fruit.
But! The added weight of votes from the crowd thrust Alex Pile‘s BORF-inspired “On the Brink of Distinction” into first place.
The ingredients in Pile’s cocktail, inspired not just by BORF but by one of his last remaining pieces in the city, spell out the miscreant graffiti artist’s handle: one ounce Bulleit bourbon, one ounce orange juice, one ounce Root (an American liqueur by Philadelphia-based Art in the Age), and one spoonful of Fernet Brana, served up.
Though we weren’t entirely sold on the first sip of Pile’s creation, the aftertaste—deep and medicinal, with a hint of citrus—kept us drinking. Though we wished it was a bit sweeter, we liked that the “On the Brink of Distinction” packed a boozy punch. Nonetheless, the love from the crowd—about 16 votes—won him a $100 tab to the Holzherr establishment of his choice (either Fruit Bat, its upstairs alter-ego Church & State, or Wisdom in Southeast D.C.), as well as a spot on the Fruit Bat cocktail menu for the month of May.
The other entries:
“Hair of the Dog”: three strawberries, 1.5 ounces vanilla vodka, one packet strawberry-kiwi Emergen-C, filled with soda water and garnished with mint, served over ice; inspired by a Brand Dave screenprint. Though the intentions behind this drink were smart—an alcoholic hangover cure!—the execution flopped. All the ingredients were overwhelmed by the Emergen-C, which caused us to collectively spit-take our sips.
“La Estriptisa”: two ounces tequila, one ounce lemon juice, one ounce tamarind ancho syrup, filled with club soda and served over ice; inspired by a painting of a burlesque dancer. All of us judges really dug this fizzy, fruity drink, but wished the tamarind ancho syrup packed more heat.
“Five-Hour Erection”: an ounce and a half of vodka, half an ounce moonshine, one bottle of 5-Hour Energy, served up in a martini glass and garnished with a “little blue pill” (to our understanding, a jelly bean); inspired by this Maxim cover. This drink, amazingly, got worse with each sip, we concluded. 5-Hour Energy shouldn’t be sipped, ever, and shouldn’t be used as a mixer, ever.
Thanks for participating, though, all the same.
Photo by Alex Pile