What do SXSW attendees do when they’re not geeking out about the latest geolocation app, lining Congress for a Paramount premiere or checking the Twittersphere for Springsteen speculations? They drink. Throw in some of the worst weather in festival history, and you’ve got the makings of a full-fledged booze fest. So where do you go to drown your sorrows while air drying your commemorative tote bag? I’ve taken the liberty of geolocating Austin’s most potent cocktails, and the list begins with a UT legend...
Tequila, Triple Sec, margarita mix, a splash of OJ and a squirt of lime; pretty standard ingredients for a Mexican cocktail, right? Right, but that’s not why the restaurant limits you to two. This beverage restriction is a matter of quantity. For $9 on a normal night, $8 during happy hour or $6 on Monday and Wednesday ($5 if you have a Go Local Card), you get a cocktail shaker filled to the brim with the aforementioned ingredients.
If that won’t wreck your liver, do as the college students do and conquer the Trudy’s Trifecta — an asinine attempt to reach the two-drink max at each of the three locations. To clarify, I’m not encouraging you to try this. I’m simply upholding my journalistic duty to let you know it exists, and insist you find a DD before even thinking about tackling this frat-tastic challenge.
The next cough-inducing cocktail on the list will calm your nerves and clean your sinuses. If you’ve got facial hair or a fixed-gear, roll down East 6th to Rio Rita Café y Cantina and order a Jalapeño Infused Bloody Mary. Composed of house-made, jalapeño-infused vodka, horseradish, hot sauce, Zing Zang Bloody Mary mix, Cajun rim salt and more garnishes than a side salad, this drink is guaranteed to singe your ironic mustache. Ten dollars may seem like a lot for a Bloody Mary, but it’s still cheaper than a box of allergy medicine.
If you prefer sugar to spice, stumble down "Dirty 6th" until you spot a drunken tourist straddling a ten-foot-tall rabbit with antlers. Congratulations, you’ve found The Jackalope, home of the Helldorado. This cavity inducing elixir is a combination of vodka, sweet and sour, grape liqueur, tonic water, grenadine and humiliation. The humiliation is due to its novelty martini glass and the judgmental stares you’ll receive while pursing your lips around the javelin-sized drinking straws. Is the $18 price tag worth all the shame and sucrose? Sure it is, during SXSW.
For a more sophisticated intoxication, head to Halcyon Coffee | Bar | Lounge for the Long Island Iced Coffee. Similar to its less-caffeinated brethren, the Long Island Iced Coffee is a mixture of every liquor you can imagine. You’ll see why this cocktail has a two-drink limit once the bartender tips a bottle of vanilla vodka, gin, Frangelica, creme de cacoa, rum and Kahlua into your glass. They’ll even top it off with Bailey’s if you ask nicely. But what’s most surprising is the fact that all that liquor will only cost you eight bucks.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Baby Acapulco’s Purple Margarita. Of all the restricted beverages in Austin, this over-the-counter elephant tranquilizer reigns supreme with its patented blend of tequila, blue curacao, orange curacao, triple sec and Everclear. Between the five Austin locations and the reasonable price of $8.75, it’s a miracle no one has invented the Acapulco Challenge. Oh no. Did I just invent the Acapulco Challenge...?