Lately, mixologists have taken to using protein as an ingredient, and we're not talking about the shrimp cocktail. Whether they're made with crickets, bacon-infused bourbon or pickled octopus, carnivore cocktails have been making the rounds in bars and restaurants across the country. In New York, La Fonda Del Sol carries chorizo-infused Grey Goose, and in Colorado, Wolf Rock serves a Meat and Potato Martini, made with pork sausage and vodka.
Here in Southern California, Rivera mixologist Julian Cox serves the Donaji in a chapulín salt-rimmed glass, and the Barbacoa comes with a chipotle-jerky garnish. But what are the origins of meat-infused hooch, and is the carnivore cocktail here to stay?
While flesh-eaters' firewater may seem like a novelty, it's actually nothing new. In the 1940s, bottles of Oaxacan mezcal started to appear con guano, or with pickled larval moths inside. Around the same time, Giuseppe Cipriani invented the Bull Shot at Ernest Hemingway's hangout, Harry's Bar in Venice. The original beef consommé concoction featured Worcestershire and Tabasco sauce with vodka, served on ice as a kind of hair-of-the-dog hangover remedy.
Following Lady Gaga's cutlet couture at the VMAs, it looks like imaginative meat-use is back in style, and the “shock-tail” is only gaining momentum. Joel Stein recently tackled the topic of meat-infused booze in a comprehensive piece for TIME, which also includes a healthy dose of recipes for mixing meat-based cocktails at home. And in response to the intoxicating phenomenon, two LA-based ladies, Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, cover meat drinks on their blog, Alie & Georgia, where they provide online tutorials on how to make concoctions like the Ham Daiquiri and the Bloody Bacon and Cheese. But in a town where eating live octopus, bone-marrow flan and bacon-and-Guinness cupcakes is the norm, what's the fate of the carnivore cocktail? Only time will tell. In the meantime, have another McNuggetini, but hold the…everything.