Tales from Orlando: A Drink That Sets the Cocktail Movement Back to the Stone Age

by Justin D'Olier on June 29, 2011 | (6) Comments |

During a recent family vacation to Orlando, I had the pleasure of eating at T-Rex, a dinosaur themed dining experience. The restaurant is designed to simulate a prehistoric habitat. Animatronic dinosaurs and various other creatures from the Mesozoic period fill the restaurant’s monstrous interior. The theme of each room room varies, ranging from dense jungle to an ice age cavern. Every 15 minutes a meteor strike occurs, cascading the restaurant into darkness as a sea of flashing lights explode from the ceiling and the dinosaurs explode into a frenzy. Basically a dinosaur acid trip without the acid.

As you can imagine, T-Rex is not renowned for their craft cocktails. Their drink menu is a hot mess of over-sized, ill-advised concoctions, bathed in a brew of canned juice, syrups and liqueurs. Count me in.

I’m an admittedly bipolar alcohol connoisseur. A dichotomous drunk. I’m nearly as intrigued by beverages that push the boundaries of bad taste as I am by those that transcend, excite, and amaze. T-Rex is a Mecca for cocktails gone wrong. I was excited to revel in the failure.

After a brief perusal of the menu, I narrowed my selection two comically awful concoctions: Caveman Punch and Category “5”.

T-Rex Cocktails

I don't normally drink 24 ounce combinations with enough fructose to steralize a Stegosaurus...

Caveman Punch is a sickeningly sweet slurry of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, banana liqueur, DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps – ask for it by name! – and tropical fruit juices. Because, you know what a sugary flavored rum needs? Two saccharine packed liqueurs topped off with a medley of random juice from a can! Balance be damned. According to the menu, “This drink really packs a punch”, which I can only assume is directly to the portion of your brain that controls rational thought.

Category “5” is the completely random mixture of Skyy Infusions Citrus Vodka, Midori Melon Liquer, Malibu Coconut Rum, 99 Bananas Liquer, sweet & sour, and pineapple juice, which the menu assures “will blow you away”. To their credit, I was blown away that someone would ever think to combine those ingredients. (On a side note, I have no idea why the five in Category “5” is in quotations. The drink includes four different “liquors” – I use this term lightly – and six total ingredients. I can only assume it’s the average amount of time – in seconds – it takes to induce vomiting. But I digress.)

I asked the waiter for a recommendation and he said proudly that Caveman Punch is their best seller. Done and done. Anything universally liked by the sad slice of humanity that orders 24 ounce drinks from a T-Rex has to be singularly awful. I ordered a Caveman Punch and never looked back.

I was not disappointed.

The drink arrived in the collectible 24 oz. T-Rex mug – a classy addition to any set of glassware – glowing a dark muted pink, like someone murdered a glass of grapefruit juice. The first sip was pure magic. A cloyingly sweet pelvic thrust of random juices (Is that kiwi? Do I taste papaya?) that completely overwhelm the alcohol. I’m pretty sure the Captain Morgan was in there, somewhere, trying to claw its way to the surface, but the street gang of mismatched juice beat it up and left it to die in the cold pink murky depths. It tasted disturbingly like the random mix of canned juice they serve after church. Strange, sweet, vaguely alcoholic church juice.

I can’t definitively say that it’s the worst cocktail ever made, but if there’s a worse drink out there I would be impressed.

Bravo, T-Rex. Bravo.

6 responses to “Tales from Orlando: A Drink That Sets the Cocktail Movement Back to the Stone Age”

  1. Dave Newman says:

    Damn you! Now for some reason I really want to try this. Might just be the “sweet pelvic thrust of random juices,” but I hope that there is more to it than that. Orlando is kinda far though. Maybe we should get a group together and try to do a Bad Drink, Bar Crawl???? Hangovers for everyone!!! Oh yeah, this needs to happen.

  2. “The Drink with Aloha Bad Drink Bar Crawl: Come savor the failure”!

    Best idea ever. Ok, we officially need to make this happen. I’ll start soliciting nominations for tragically awful drinks.

  3. Dave Power says:

    I’m in!

  4. Dave Newman says:

    This has the makings of an epic send off for one of the islands best bartenders….I mean mixologists. I can’t think of anything better than poisoning ourselves with high doses of corn syrup and cheap rum! Wonder if we can find any Four Loko to start the night off with?

  5. Dave Newman says:

    Ok it’s on!!! “Bad Drink Bar Crawl” is a go! This Sunday the 10th, meeting up to do some damage and send off Dave Power in style. Also Kris Schrak is turning 30! Let the good times and bad hangovers roll!

  6. When I sat down at T-Rex, I had no idea that something so brilliant and wonderful would arise from something so terrible.

    Bring on the Bad Drink Bar Crawl!