Taste-Testing a New Cocktail: The Santorum

Slate's Culture Blog
March 12 2012 1:12 PM

Try the Santorum

Cocktail photo by Artbox via Shutterstock http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-288586p1.html  and photo of GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images.

Cocktail photo by Artbox via Shutterstock and photo of GOP Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images.

Boerum Hill, March 6— 
Troy Patterson Troy Patterson

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Brooklynites can’t vote on Super Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a little Santorum.
A Fourth Avenue watering hole is pouring a delightfully sinful drink named after Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum—and the dirty Google problem that has haunted him ever since he irked syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage.
“People really like it even though it’s named after something gross–both the person and the Dan Savage meaning,” said John Rauschenberg, co-owner of Pacific Standard. “It’ll be an election fixture at least until primary season is over.”
—Kate Briquelet, The Brooklyn Paper
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Pacific Standard is an easygoing pub with a high ceiling and tall broad front windows, and crisp daylight filtered capaciously through them this past Saturday at 5 p.m. Entering, I swerved among mellow clusters of baby-laden young professionals hovering at the front tables, passed beneath a projection of a Duke game muted in favor of The Cure, and settled near the end of the bar—at the bottom of the vertical of the “L” of the bar, as it were. Jean-Luc Picard looked on firmly from the backglass of a Star Trek pinball machine; beyond his arcade starship, in the backroom, couples and small groups got their microbrew on. I told a bearded barkeep I'd seen the story. He got to mixing.

Like many conceptual masterpieces, the Santorum cocktail ($8) is a great icebreaker. My order caught the attention of the three young women sprawled on stools along the baseline of the “L”—three two one, brunette blonde ginger. The bartender left them speechless with his dry and precise recitation of Savage’s reader-contest Santorum coinage: “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.” He listed the drink’s primary ingredients as Baileys Irish Cream and orange-flavored vodka—Stoli, I think. The brunette huskily wondered about garnishing it with a cherry.

These girls were multiply altered. Their vibe was hung-over, jet-lagged, brunch-drunk. The brunette, newly a local, toted a copy of Romantic New York City: A Guide to the Most Romantic Clubs, Restaurants, Bars, and Hotels in New York City, the better to entertain her friends, who were in from California. The freckly one at my elbow wanted to chat about the Oakland A's, and while the bartender, casually ceremonious, worked with his shaker, I tried not to bore her with my theories about Reggie Jackson's fielding and Michael Lewis's curveball.

Served in a bathtub of a cocktail glass, the Santorum stunned at first sight. It promised the texture of an Oreo-accented frozen-yogurt smoothie. The garnishes floating on its glazy meniscus—a constellation of Godiva dark chocolate flakes, an orange splotch of Angostura bitters—parodied the AbEx mises en place of precious haute cuisine. In the Rorschach blot of the bitters stain, I saw a Scottish terrier in profile, and I meditated first on Santorum’s fantasies about “man-on-dog” sex and then of course about Mitt Romney driving to Canada with his Irish setter on the roof of the car, his hands positioned at 10 and 2, no doubt.

My Santorum was sweet but balanced, with a subtle citrus pucker, and I asked the bartender to pour some into an old-fashioned glass so that our new friends could share a taste. (I’ve since come to think of this tasting-panel variation on the Santorum cocktail as the “3 Girls 1 Cup.”)

“That's nice,” said the blonde. “Real smooth. I don't like the creamy drinks, usually, but—”

“But it's a light creamy,” Freckles broke in.

I was totally gonna ask the bartender to rescale the recipe and fix us a round of shooters, perhaps rimmed with sugar, but the party ended prematurely, dying down before it had even really started dying up. Around my seventh sip, one of the chocolate chunklets bobbed over and bumped my upper lip. The tactile moment triggered a disgust mechanism such that my mouth started rejecting my mind’s command to finish the drink.

Savoring one last slurp, I slid my half-full glass back to the bartender: “That was a lovely experience, but I need to wash the taste out of my mouth. Would you please pour me a glass of Doc's?”

“Sure thing,” he said. Then he tried the line on his tongue: “'That was a lovely experience, but I need to wash the taste out of my mouth.'” Beat. “I haven't heard that since college.”

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