ATLANTA—Searching for anything bearing even a passing resemblance to a normal beverage, junior broker Eric Voss, 34, was observed scanning the menu at The Crow’s Nest, an upscale cocktail bar, for whichever drink included the fewest unfamiliar ingredients. “Elderflower? That’s definitely out, and this one seems to be mostly whiskey, but God only knows what gomme syrup is supposed to be,” said Voss, visibly attempting to remain composed in front of his date as he paged through a leather-bound menu of inscrutable infusions, obscure tropical fruits, and entire phrases in French. “This one with watermelon looked good at first, but there are maybe six other things listed after that I’ve never heard of. Most of these are probably types of bitters, right? Or liqouers, maybe? Egg white, no. Gelatin, no. Here we go, they’ve got an old fashioned, so we’ve got brandy, citrus...christ, what the hell is ‘fat-washed’ liquor?” At press time, Voss was watching with mounting apprehension as the bartender lit the rum and Coke he had ordered on fire and reached for a durian fruit.
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