12 'stormy' Delaware drinks to help get you through Hurricane Florence
With Hurricane Florence barreling toward the East Coast — thankfully well south of Delaware — The First State will escape a direct hit when it makes landfall this weekend.
Even so, we're in for a cloud-covered, rather gloomy final weekend of summer.
While the 130 mph winds won't be whipping us, that doesn't mean we can't have a hurricane party. Or at least a storm-themed drink or two.
We raided the cocktail menus and beer lists of Delaware restaurants, breweries and other alcohol-makers in search of a few drinks that would fit the weekend's turbulent theme.
Warning: Some of these will rock you like a hurricane, just like German rockers the Scorpions first did in 1984.
Even if you aren't commemorating the "tremendously big and a tremendously wet" Hurricane Florence, you can toast the end of Summer 2018.
GIN-STORM-302, Liquid Alchemy Beverages, 28 Brookside Dr., near Elsmere. This inventive meadery will be introducing its first cocktail this weekend, taking advantage of H.B. 373, signed into law in June allowing each of the state's 30-plus beverage-makers to sell alcohol from fellow craft Delaware alcohol businesses. This bad boy is made with 2 ounces of Liquid Alchemy's Black 302 mead (12.5 percent ABV with Delaware blackberries), 1-1/2 ounces of Lewes-based Beach Time Distilling's Aronia gin, two dashes of cherry bitters and a splash of tonic or ginger beer. It's garnished with a cherry and small umbrella, of course.
The Nor'Easter, Mispillion River Brewing, 255 Mullett Run St., Milford. It may not be flowing through their taps currently, but The Nor'Easter was made for stormy weekends like this. The rye IPA, which clocks in at 7.5 percent ABV, made its debut last year and is described on the beer app UnTappd as "a decidedly hoppy and bitter ale with a light grainy spicy character and lingering dryness." Here's the good news: it arrives in cans next month for the first time. Where did the name come from? The beer-maker says it was a stormy day when they made it. Duh.
Little Umbrella, Big Oyster Brewery, Mispillion River Brewing and Revelation Craft Brewing. The second smallest state has its own little umbrella and we just might have to use it this weekend. This sour lactose IPA is brewed with mango and pineapple. A limited, collaborative brew — think tart and drinkable fruit cocktail at 6.5 percent ABV — is served in 16-ounce cans that are available now to-go only at Big Oyster (1007 Kings Highway, Lewes), Mispillion (255 Mullett Run St., Milford) and Revelation (19841 Central St., near Rehoboth Beach).
Tidal Wave, Dewey Beach bars. If someone convinces you to order something called a Tidal Wave in Dewey Beach and takes a step back. You're probably in for a surprise. It's pretty much a trick shot. A bartender pours a real shot and when you drink it, he or she tosses a cup of water in your face. It's been done at bars such as Hammerheads, northbeach and The Starboard over the years. Hammerheads bartender Matty Oh explains how it goes down when he's behind the bar: "Usually a person who has been victimized in the past brings an unsuspecting person (usually on their birthday) up to the bar and orders a Tidal Wave for them. I explain to them the rules: 1. No matter what, you cannot get mad at the bartender! 2. If you get mad, just refer to rule No. 1! This and some high bottle pours distract the victim from the fact that I am filling up two 16-ounce cups of ice cold water underneath the bar!"
Blood and Sand, Copperhead Saloon, 3826 Kennett Pike, Greenville. With the South Carolina coast under an evacuation order, no blood should hit the sand this weekend. This 1920s era cocktail named for Rudolph Valentino's 1922 silent bullfighter movie "Blood and Sand" is on the cocktail menu at this small, penny-lined bar. What's in the red-hued drink, exactly? Blended scotch, cherry liquer, Dolin Rouge vermouth and orange.
Coastal Evacuation, Cape May Brewing Co., 1288 Hornet Rd, Rio Grande, N.J. OK, so they aren't based in Delaware, but they are just a quick ferry ride away. Coastal Evacuation is an 8 percent ABV Imperial IPA. As the brewers at Cape May say, "Coastal evacuation: a phrase common at the Jersey Shore. Hurricane season hits hard and we’re hitting back with a Double IPA with copious amounts of centennial hops, able to withstand the storm. It’s time to evacuate — are you prepared?"
Hurricane, Conch Island Key West Bar & Grill, 207 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach. If the New Orleans-born cocktail makes you want to party like you're on Bourbon Street, Conch Island is the place for you. Two blocks from the Boardwalk, you can smell the salt water, jam to Key West cover bands and let loose. Their high-octane version is made with Bacardi rum, Myers's dark rum, Bacardi 151, orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine. It's served in a Hurricane glass with the Conch Island logo, which you can take home. If you find yourself leaving with more than two glasses in your hands, make sure you have a driver or call an Uber. You'll need it.
Hurrigrain, Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen, 270 E. Main St, Newark. The marquee on Main Street in front of Grain says it all, "It's Hurrigrain season." This cocktail has been on their menu for a while, but it should be especially popular this weekend. It's basically a hurricane made with white and dark rums, orange, pineapple and limes juices with a splash of simple syrup.
Tropic Lightning, Stitch House Brewery, 829 N. Market St., Wilmington. A Grapefruit pale ale currently on tap, the 5 percent ABV beer's name was initially conceived as a spin-off of the 2008 Ben Stiller comedy "Tropic Thunder," but this weekend it can mean something different. One of their staple beers, it runs out quickly. As of press time, it was still flowing at the downtown brewery. Thankfully they didn't name it Booty Sweat, the energy drink featured in the film.
Dark 'n' Stormy, Back Porch Café, 59 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach. Tucked away off Rehoboth Avenue, you'll find a café with a signature drink created for weekends like this. Their Dark 'n' Stormy is made with house-made ginger beer and dark rum. If you ask around, you'll probably hear it's the best Dark 'n' Stormy in the state.
Tropical Storm, Painted Stave Distilling, 106 W Commerce St., Smyrna. The downtown distillery has this cocktail on its summer, tiki-themed cocktail menu. It's made with their Diamond State Straight Bourbon Whiskey, pureed watermelon, pineapple juice, simple syrup and lime juice. Strained over fresh ice in a Collins glass and garnished with a pineapple wedge and a lime wheel, it's one hell of a way to ride out a storm.
Squall IPA, Dogfish Head Brewing, 320 Rehoboth Ave, Rehoboth Beach. This continually hopped, unfiltered Double IPA was introduced in 2016 and is released each spring. The 9 percent ABV beer has an ominous label showing a ship bobbing in an angry sea.