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Criminal Cocktails: Crimes Against the Cocktail

Even the drinks world’s great and good have their moments of depravity. Tom Sandham picks some disturbed minds to uncover a dark world of burgers, breast milk and pork scratchings


A cocktail made with cheese – yes cheese. It actually happened.

Now, I am fully aware that some would argue in favour of celebrating such chutzpah. They’d say that expressing these ‘creative’ juices encourages innovation; that even if the taste of the individual drink isn’t exactly a winner, it’s the taking part that counts. I’m tempted to say that with a blended cheese cocktail it’s not so much the taking part but the punching yourself in the face that counts.

But then even I have to admit that the most talented, splendidly creative bartenders also seem to be the characters with the dirtiest cocktail recipe secrets hidden in their waistcoat pockets. Not that I’m defending fish in gin, cheeseburger drinks nor any other clandestine cocktails that have made it into our list. But maybe it is actually a sign of genius (genius of the decidedly evil variety) that makes these masterminds go momentarily mental and mix up something truly ghastly with the very same barspoon they used to make something magical just minutes before.

You can agree or disagree (do what you like – this lot did), but one message is certain: don’t try this at home folks – and certainly don’t try it behind the bar.


Warneford’s confession:  ‘We used to make a kind of deconstructed Espresso Martini at Browns by floating a fresh, hot espresso on top of some chilled, sweetened vodka – actually quite a nice drink. One Sunday I decided to make a version with some chilled Bloody Mary on the bottom and, on top: warm gravy from the kitchen. I even allowed the customers to try it, I was so sure it would be a great drink. I learned some lessons that day: 1) It wasn’t. 2) Onion gravy doesn’t float very well. 3) In turn, onion gravy makes you gag as it catches on the way down. 4) This is one way of killing a Sunday lunch service.’

Priors: An insistence on adding a bit of ginger to everything he touches.

Bloody Gravy: 50ml vodka (it may have been chilli-infused), Dash of sherry, 100ml tomato juice, 5 dashes Tabasco sauce, 8 dashes Worcester sauce, 10ml lemon juice, 10ml warm onion gravy Garnish: None

Method: Prepare the Bloody Mary and pour into four shot glasses, leaving some space at the top. ‘Float’ the gravy on top. Drink. Wretch


Mant’s confession: ‘I made the drink in a competition for Elements 8. Jake Burger (see right) and I did the Mojito through the ages – the ages of a human being that is. We had an adult version, a teenage alcopop version and a toddler lime jelly, rum and mint ice cream version. But it was the infant’s which was the most eye-catching. I stripped to reveal the adult sized babygrow I’d been concealing while Jake revealed his prosthetic breasts, which contained the milky Mojito we had made using human breast milk. He then breastfed me.  It was a low point. I’ve never, before or since, done anything as blatantly ridiculous.’

Priors: Corrupting his peers, in encouraging otherwise useful bartenders to make jaw-droppingly bad drinks in the Rematch Beeyatch competition

My-Teat-O: Breast milk, Lime zest, Mint Sugar, Elements 8 Gold  Vacuum-packed into a pair of Gazza-style fake breasts.

Method: The quantities of ingredients don’t matter as it’s guaranteed  to taste like shit.


Burger’s burger confession: ‘It all happened at Townhouse, Leeds, circa 2000. Something, I’m presuming the binding agent in the beef patty, causes the drink to take on the consistency of Angel Delight. It tastes pretty foul. Malcolm Evans’ advice to “remove the gherkin from the burger first” didn’t make a great deal of difference. It was not quite a Bull Shot, nor was it quite a Bloody Mary; if I had to choose a name I’d call it a McBullshit. Then I’d get sued by McDonalds for McIfying the name. I knew it was going to be awful but I did it anyway. I wasn’t even trying to impress a girl. Don’t be like me kids, stay in school and keep away from cheeseburgers.’

Priors: The Penis Enlarger – an interpretation of a Piña Colada, which was served in a penis enlarger.

MCBULLSHIT:50ml Absolut Peppar, Dash Worcester sauce, 5 drops Tabasco sauce, Splash of lemon juice, Pinch of salt and pepper, 75ml tomato juice, 1 McDonalds Cheeseburger.  

Garnish: French fries

Method: Blend in a Hamilton Beach Commercial Bar Blender Pour over cubed ice.


Trykowski’s Confession: ‘Dougie Bale and I took a look at “Scotland’s finest ingredients” – you know, Scotch, Don Simon Fruit Juices, Buckfast and red food colouring – products that make us proud. What we ended up with was something like a deep-fried Mars Bar: it should never have been good and yet it really was. Honest. We made the drink for 300 people at a function and it went down a storm. You can always rely on the Weedgie public.’

Priors: Being from Glasgow.

Fighting Juice  Punch: 70cl Scotch, 150cl Buckfast, 500ml lemon juice, 250ml Grenadine, 500ml cranberry juice, 500ml Don Simon Grape, Strawberry & Orange juice 1 bottle red food colouring (not proud of that bit,  but it is essential).

Garnish: Orange and lemon wheels, nutmeg

Method: Stir with ice in a mayonnaise bucket. Decant into punch bowl. Serves 30-ish.


Gibson’s Confession: ‘To make the salmon-infused gin you take two fillets of smoked Scottish salmon – preferably from Morrison’s – chop them in half and then ungraciously stuff them in the end of a Tanqueray bottle without having washed your hands. The booze will kill the germs. Leave this for about two hours to ‘infuse the gin. What not to do: take the same fat wash process as above but swap two hours for two weeks. This results in two bits of salmon that look like rubber – and about an inch of fish sediment lying at  the bottom of the bottle.’

Priors: Rum infused with  Magret de canard (yes, that’s right, duck breast) – even if it did win him the Havana Club competition. 

SALMON-TINI: 50ml smoked salmon Tanqueray fat wash, 20ml lemon juice,  15ml chive syrup, 12.5ml Lillet Blanc

Method: Shake and strain  into a cocktail glass.


Stones’ Confession: ‘Being both a pork and gin aficionado in almost equal measures, I have often enjoyed a Dirty Martini with an accompanying snack of quality pork scratchings on the side. Surely the two would work together in a drink, I thought; gin goes with the saltiness of olive brine, after all. As it turns out, they work absolutely terribly together. The resulting muddy-brown concoction lurking beneath a semi-crust of congealed pig fat turned the stomach long before the drink even got there. Luckily Mick Hoult, previously of the Portobello Star, was on hand and he was/is famed for imbibing anything regardless of how hazardous it may be to his health He knocked it back in one, looked at me with true hatred in his eyes and promptly left to vomit. For the sole reason that I parted Mick Hoult from his lunch, I feel justifiably proud.’

Priors: A Nice ‘N’ Spicy Nik Nak Martini and a Doritos Daiquiri. 

Pork Scratching Martini: 60ml Beefeater Gin, 15ml Dry Vermouth, 1 bag of good quality  pork scratchings.

Garnish: Serve the remaining pork scratchings on a silver platter. (Or a dirty tip tray.  It’s up to you.)

Method: Muddle half the pork scratchings in a mixing glass until they are powdered. Add the gin and vermouth and stir with ice until well mixed. Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.   Optional: For a slightly  textured drink, merely omit  the fine-straining step.


Dzelzainis’ confession: My theory was that even tramps need relief from a hangover. That was how I came up with a twist on a Bloody Mary that included only the ingredients a tramp could salvage from nearby restaurants, thus democratising mixology. Needless to say it didn’t  quite work.

Priors: He made a drink  that evaporated in front of  a customer. Probably.

Tramp’s Tropical Bloody Mary: 50ml Elements 8 Gold, 75ml pineapple juice, 15ml Worcester sauce, 5 dashes green  Tabasco sauce, Pinch celery salt, 15ml lemon juice.

Garnish: Pineapple leaf

Method: Build over cubed ice in a Stella Artois can  with the top sawn off.


Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – September/October 2011

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