REMEMBERING NIGHTLIFE IN FORTUNE CITY IN THE 1980s
The 1980s were a grim time for bartenders. Gone were the classic drinks of yesteryear. In an era of velour, tracksuits, and pre-ripped acid-washed jeans, it was time to break from tradition.
This was an era where neon-colored, sugar-fueled cocktails came pre-made with gnarly, powdered sour mix served in novelty glasses that would make a supervillain proud. The more extreme the cocktail was, the better. You want a drink that doesn’t taste like it was dropped into a vat of chemicals? There’s no need to freak out, dude. Here’s a guide to truly tubular drinks from the days of “New” Fortune City that won’t leave you ralphing on your lover’s shoulder pads.
The Absolut Burton
• 1 ounce of vodka, chilled
• 1/2 ounce of absinthe
Pour the vodka and the absinthe into a shaker. Shake. Serve with a vintage issue of Interview Magazine.
Although vodka cocktails would not have their proper comeback for another decade, their climb to national prominence began in 1981 when Absolut Vodka kicked off their Absolut Perfection marketing campaign. The Absolut Burton became the preferred drink amongst the downtown art crowd who wore black berets, black turtlenecks, black jeans, black garters, black fishnets, black mascara, black fingernail polish, and black leather jackets, even when it was pushing 100° in August. Those who imbibed an Absolut Burton often sipped them while they smoked clove cigarettes in rapid succession, like they were going out of fashion, which they admittedly were.
We Keep Our Masks On
• 1 ounce Cognac
• 1 ounce Bénédictine
• 1 ounce triple sec
• 1/4 ounce Capri Sun Lemonade (or lemon juice, freshly squeezed)
• Garnish: flamed orange peel
Pour the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express the oils from a flamed orange peel over the top of the drink, then discard the peel and the Capri Sun pouch before serving. Make sure to examine your mask in the mirror to insure that your mask is not crooked, following all that vigorous shaking.
Who wants an Old Pal when you could taste a Slippery Nipple? Why have another Old Fashioned when the menu includes Sex on the Beach? As if! In the ’80s, there were so many drinks featuring names with sexual innuendoes, it was almost enough to make Dr. Ruth blush. Many ’80s cocktails were reboots of forgotten classics; We Keep Our Masks On is Frank Pub’s take on the drink Between the Sheets, which was a reimagining of a Sidecar.
The Partyman AKA a Bump
• 1 bump of cocaine
This isn’t technically a cocktail, but don’t wig out. It was the 80’s and a bump of coke was a surefire way to feel as amped as the Player. A word to the wise: avoid mixing cocaine with too many chill pills and wine coolers or you’ll be a spaz on the trading floor.
I’m Used to Going Out at Three in the Morning and Doing Something Stupid
• 1 ounce of peach schnapps, chilled
• 1 tsp Bailey’s Irish Cream, chilled
• 1/2 tsp grenadine, chilled
Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass. Carefully float the Bailey’s on top, then crown with grenadine. We recommend limiting yourself to one of these cocktails, because justice is always darkest before the dawn and you’ll be sleeping ’til the afternoon if you down too many of these.
Sometimes called the Brain Hemorrhage, the I’m Used to Going Out at Three in the Morning and Doing Something Stupid was created at the famous Gibbons Hotel in Fortune City’s Crimetown neighborhood by a bartender who now prefers to not be associated with the drink and strenuously denies having made it in the first place. The Gibbons Hotel used to serve this drink with their famous You Can’t Make an Omelet Without Breaking a Few Eggs Omelet.
* This article was originally published in Sly Magazine. In memory of Prince Rogers Nelson and Anton Furst, with apologies to Difford’s Guide.