Mad Dog Days of Summer at Metrovino

I remember the first time I choked down a swig of Mad Dog like it was yesterday. It was a hot, still summer night in Ontario, Oregon, I was on my friend Tina’s pheasant farm holed up in a stifling barn with the merry band of miscreants we’d just finished dragging Main Street with, and I was being earnestly wooed by a guy named Nacho. Considering how we all felt the next morning, I thought I’d never see the business end of a MD 20/20 bottle until I was reincarnated as a cast member of a revived My Name is Earl. And then, one fateful evening last week, I walked into Metrovino.

I know what you’re thinking. I must be mistaken. Metrovino is a classy joint, and bartender Jacob Grier is a master mixologist, a sophisticate of shaken ‘n stirred. But like anyone at the top of their field, Jacob was seeking an extraordinary challenge, and that challenge was, in a nutshell, to create something wonderful out of something rather vile: Mad Dog 20/20. And not just any would do–Blue Raspberry MD 20/20. (Plus, he’d been dared to do it by cheeky Thrillist. Triple-dog-dared.)

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Made with House Spirits Distillery’s bracing Krogstad Aquavit, fresh-squeezed lime juice, agave nectar and egg whites, the resulting cocktail is a soft sky blue topped with a creamy foam punctuated by drops of cherry-hibiscus bitters.

When I asked Jacob what to pair with the Mad Dog cocktail, he thought about it for a second, then suggested a Twinkie, but Metrovino didn’t have Twinkies on the menu that particular evening, so we settled for the chicken-fried quail and watermelon salad, an innovative gazpacho with apricot, avocado, shrimp and a popcorn tail, the epic Metrovino burger, a luscious wedge of Crémeux de Bourgogne surrounded by inky cherries and truffled pistachios, and a comely strawberry panna cotta luxuriating in hibiscus jus and jauntily topped with a pistachio florentine cap.

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If you’d like Jacob to mix you up your very own Blue Raspberry Mad Dog marvel, aka the Dalbo Dog, stop by some Tuesday evening, he’ll be behind the bar (just look for the guy holding the blue MD 20/20):

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PS: You too can impress your friends with your lowbrow highbrow cocktail skills–Jacob shares the recipe on his most excellent website.