Sometimes patrons ask us how we come up with many of our signature cocktails. While the histories of many of the older Bryant’s drinks are shrouded in mystery, perhaps forever lost to time and accessed only through mere speculation, we know most of the stories and inspirations behind the newer additions to the Bryant’s “menu.” And they’re all incredibly interesting and diverse. We have drinks inspired by experiences at MIT, ones that are homages to a local rock band’s songs, and ones even named after current and former employees. July’s Cocktail of the Month, the Flamingo, invented by one of our former bartenders, Erik Chandler, is a tequila-based hurricane style drink with grapefruit and orange flavors that initially found its inspiration in its creator’s upbringing in Florida, when he remembers having orange and grapefruit trees in his backyard*.
However, the creation and naming of any cocktail isn’t necessarily that simple. Indeed, a lot of factors ultimately contributed to the Flamingo coming into being. The summer of 2015, when the drink was invented, saw the passing of Don Featherstone, the creator of the plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament, an icon of kitsch that was commonplace in the front yards of Erik’s south Florida neighborhoods. 2015 also saw the return of the flamingo to the Florida Everglades, migrating there en masse in winter for the first time in nearly a century. The flamingo, though, has had a symbolic presence in south Florida for a long time, with a flock residing at the Hialeah Race Track, as well as providing the name for a legendary Miami hotel and a fashionable Miami Beach neighborhood.
Certainly you don’t have to be from Florida to appreciate flamingos; there’s a local connection to these majestic birds as well. Some of you probably remember when over 1000 pink plastic flamingos briefly adorned Bascom Hill on the UW-Madison campus in 1979, a stunt perpetrated by the Pail & Shovel Party who were celebrating their reelection to the student governing body. To honor this prank, Madison made the plastic flamingo its official city bird in 2009!
All this and more are contributing factors in the creation of this drink (we didn’t even get to mention how much we like to hear one of our favorite musical groups—the Flamingos—on our amazing McIntosh stereo). The flamingo is undoubtedly a distinctive bird, and we hope you think, like we do, that’s it’s a pretty distinctive drink too.
Stop in between 5pm and 8pm Sunday through Thursday and get a Flamingo for just $6 all month long.
*Erik would like to thank co-workers Maggie Mendelson and Fada Shelbourne for their constructive criticism and positive feedback while creating this cocktail.