Columnist Caitlin Weigel attemps to re-create the Seraphin Shooter found at the Oyster Bar.
In honor of The Temple News’ Bar Guide, I decided to scope out Philadelphia’s savory drink options. Savory drinks are like little alcoholic meals – like if you took a steak, pureed it, added vodka and made it sound less disgusting.
I’m not exactly a seasoned drinker on the Philly bar scene, so I began my quest for a savory cocktail with my trusty friend Google. There weren’t any hits for “savory shots” or “bars with weird drinks” or even “cocktails containing cheese,” but after extensive scouring of online drink menus, I finally found my spot: the Oyster Bar. And my savory drink of choice? The Seraphin Shooter.
I trucked over to the Oyster Bar with the Happy Hour crowd and proceeded with much difficulty to sit on a barstool and place my order. I’m new to the bar scene, and it was pretty apparent. Pressured by the long-haired waiter, I also placed an order for two oysters, which is a weird number of oysters to get, but those suckers are expensive.
They also tasted like salty Jell-O, and I used my tiny-oyster fork to shovel the sauce on the side into my mouth to chase the trace of oyster flavor.
Then it was on to the shooter. The menu described it as “serrano pepper tequila, tarragon and pineapple,” so it definitely fit into the “unusual” and “savory” categories. I stared down the cloudy-yellow concoction for an awkward amount of time and mused over what the furry green thing in the bottom might be before finally mustering up the courage to take a sip.
All at once, the shooter was spicy and mildly sweet with a hint of something that tasted like a forest. The spice factor was way higher than I anticipated and the pineapple flavor was barely there. The fuzzy green-unknown object at the bottom of the glass was eventually swallowed, accidentally, which was a fairly tramautic experience but one I’ll surely recover from with therapy or a few more rounds of shooters.
In an attempt to re-create the shot at home, I plopped a few Serrano peppers in half a handle of cheap tequila. I waited two days, tasted it, cried because it was terrible, attempted to add red pepper flakes in a misguided attempt to make it better, questioned my life choices and then decided to walk away from the project.
I returned to the project the next day – against my better judgment – in hopes that drinking the tequila in an actual shooter would make it better. I filled half of a large shot glass (it might actually be a candle holder, but I’ve been using it as a shot glass) full of the demon liquid and topped it off with some pineapple juice. I threw a dash of dried tarragon
on top, mixed it with a toothpick and hoped for the best. The result was far from the best, but if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
It was after my sixth or seventh attempt to re-create the shot that the truth finally hit my slightly inebriated brain: I was standing in my kitchen on a Wednesday night, doing shots by myself to make something I didn’t even enjoy in the first place. What was the point?
I don’t recommend the Seraphin shooter to anyone who has taste buds, and I definitely don’t recommend trying to make it for yourself at home.
If you’re still interested in a food-like beverage though, I recommend the Nuggetini. I found the recipe on “This Is Why You’re Fat,” a now defunct website that listed delicious/sickeningly fatty – depending on who you talk to – food combos. You basically go to your nearest McDonald’s, pick up some nuggets with barbecue sauce and a chocolate milkshake.
Rim a martini glass with barbecue sauce then add the chocolate milkshake and vanilla vodka to the glass. Garnish it with a nugget and viola, Nuggetini! Enjoy while eating the rest of your nuggets. You can thank me later for introducing you to such a magical beverage.
Caitlin Weigel can be reached at email@example.com.