What’s Up with the Cocktail Names at The Red Hen?
The Red Hen opened in Bloomingdale last night with wood grill-fired, Italian-inspired cuisine and wine-centric cocktails with some really long names. The latter will give you some insight into the likes and dark humor of co-owner Sebastian Zutant, who created the drink menu. The former wine director of Proof draws on personal anecdotes and favorite songs and movies for his cocktail names, some of which he admits are "extremely long and really ridiculous." Take a look:
Bring Out Your Dead, $9
Rum, sloe gin, Sercial madeira, Dolin sweet vermouth, lemon juice
The name and the drink are a twist on the Corpse Reviver. It's also one of Zutant's favorite lines from a Monty Python movie.
Campari, grappa, Muller-Thurgau wine
On a research trip to Italy for The Red Hen, Zutant stopped at the Alois Lageder winery near the border of Austria, where he met himself in 20 years: Urs. The winery salesman was wearing a bright green sweater and salmon-colored pants—exactly the kind of wacky clothing Zutant likes to wear. "I was like, '(gasp) My long lost father!'" This twist on the Negroni incorporates a wine from the vineyard.
I Smoke My Friends Down to the Filter, $9
Mezcal, Dolin sweet vermouth, Campari, lemon juice
This is a lyric from the Tom Waits song Little Drop of Poison. "It's my only way to pay homage to a person who really changed my life," Zutant says. He's flown to the suburbs of Atlanta and Cleveland to see him. "He's one of, if not the, most important musical artist of our times." And, you know, the mezcal is smoky, hence this particular line.
Real Pain for My Sham Friends….,$9
Makers Mark, honey tea syrup, PX sherry, prosecco, lemon juice
The name comes from the Tom Waits quote: "Champagne for my real friends, and real pain for my sham friends." Zutant plans to make this a two-part drink. While "Real Pain for My Sham Friends" is a dark, brooding drink, the forthcoming "Champagne for My Real Friends" cocktail will be a light, easy drink.
Jaws 3 (Blood in the Water), $11
Navy proof gin, tonic stuff, ginger beer, lime juice, bitters
"It's not a very good movie, but if there's one thing you could say, it's that there's a lot of blood and guts," Zutant says. Bright red Peychaud's bitters float on the top of the drink, looking like blood in the water. And like Jaws, you don't want to mess around with this drink. It's pretty aggressive.
The Red Hen, 1822 1st St. NW; (202) 525-3021; theredhendc.com
In the spirit of full-sentence cocktail names, here are a few more from other restaurants. Feel free to leave others in the comments.
Boundary Road: I'm Thinking About Getting a Vespa, $10
Aperol, Cocchi Americano, blood orange, lemon, sparkling wine, Peychaud's bitters
TNT: I'll Make You Banana Pancakes, $12
Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey, lemon juice, bananas pecan syrup, and egg white
Fiola: It's Only a Paper Moon, $13
Campari, Dolin Blanc, Creme de Cassis, club soda
CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story stated that the "I'm Thinking About Getting a Vespa" cocktail is available at Boundary Stone. In fact, it's Boundary Road.
Photo by Jessica Sidman