Break the ice with some unusual drinks for the adventurous palate

On Nightlife

March 02, 2006|By SAM SESSA

Two just slide down your throat. One is more of a conversation piece. Another is a cheap and tasty chugger.

All of these specialty drinks have personality, from their ingredients to their price tags. If you're going to break out of your normal bar routine and slurp down something different, why not do it in style? After all, going from a Red Bull and vodka to a Bud Light really isn't all that adventurous.

Each of the following drinks is an uncommon recipe or something you'll find only at one place.

I'd also like you to e-mail me some crazy drinks you've found around town (there's no way I found them all). My e-mail address is below.

Let's start with the most outrageous: Max's Chesapeake Martini, $8, served at Max's on Broadway. It comes in three parts:

1) Start with a 40-ounce bottle of Natty Boh in a metal bucket filled with ice and covered in a dirty rag (the dirty rag is key, I'm told)

2) One small martini glass rimmed with Old Bay

3) One chicken wing inside the glass

Sounds like fun, doesn't it, hon?

Pour the beer into the martini glass, tilt it up to your kisser, and all you smell is chicken wing. Take a sip, and the Old Bay sticks to your lips, but it's followed quick by a mouthful of ice-cold Boh. You're better off eating the chicken wing at the end of the first cupful -- otherwise it gets cold and clammy.

As a way to meet people, none of the other drinks beats the Chesapeake Martini. I had a whole bunch of folks walk up and ask, "What the heck is that?!?!?!" Each time, I grinned a dastardly grin and told them all about the illustrious Chesapeake Martini. For some reason, most of them didn't share my excitement.

Most of my friends would rather go for one of Crazy Lil's $3 car bombs (a shot of half Bailey's Irish Cream and half Jameson's Whiskey dropped into a glass of Guinness and chugged). At most bars, these babies cost about $8.

Lil's has the whiskey and cream pre-mixed (heavier than normal on the cream), so your drink is usually sitting in front of you right after you order. They give you slightly more than a half glass of beer, which is still a deal for $3.

The catch? On busy nights, Lil's runs out of glasses and puts car bombs in plastic cups and shots. You have to pour the shot in -- otherwise it bobs around on top of the beer instead of sinking to the bottom like it should. Rather than getting the sweet cream and whiskey last (a happy ending), you get it first (a happy beginning).

If you love the taste of car bombs but one or two fills you up, head to Leadbetter's for a Baby Guinness, $4.50. Despite its name, the drink actually doesn't use any beer.

Served in a large shot glass, a Baby Guinness has Kahlua on the bottom, Jameson in the middle and Bailey's on top. Like a car bomb, you slap, not sip it. The one I had blew me away -- it was a dead-on car bomb flavor-wise but 10 times lighter.

Another suggestion for smooth and light beverage fans is the Copra-tini, $9, served at Copra. Made with champagne and Malibu and Bacardi Light rums, it's creamy and, unlike vodka-based martinis, barely bites.

For vodka and citrus martini lovers, Pazo has the Bloody Orange Martini, a wicked concoction made with Stoli O, Cassis and white wine and garnished with a slice of blood orange (a fruit with orange-colored rind and deep red pulp).

The Bloody Orange Martini tastes like a screwdriver on steroids, and looks much funkier -- orange with a reddish tint.

Thirsty yet?

I can't wait to see your own lists of crazy drinks and the bars where you ordered them. Send me some good ones (include your name, contact information and where you got them).

Max's on Broadway is at 737 S. Broadway. Hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. Call 410-675-6297 or visit maxs.com.

Crazy Lil's is at 27 E. Cross St. Hours are 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays and 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m. Thursdays-Saturdays. Call 410-347-9793 or visit crazylils.com.

Leadbetter's is at 1639 Thames St. Hours are 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Mondays-Fridays and noon-2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Call 410-675-4794.

Copra is at 313 N. Charles St. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays. Call 410-727-6080 or visit cindyhutsoncuisine.com.

Pazo is at 1425 Aliceanna St. Hours are 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursdays with the bar open until 1 a.m., and 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Call 410-534-7296 or visit pazorestaurant.com.

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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