It’s easy to make a good drink—just follow any one of our many, many recipes. Creating a vile, disgusting cocktail, on the other hand, is hard, as we recently found out. Harkening back to those schoolyard days spent daring kids to eat worms and drink OJ mixed with chocolate milk, we challenged ourselves to make the grossest cocktail ever. From a clam broth Moscow Mule to a sardine-infused Blue Martini, here are the cocktails we subjected ourselves to drinking, ranked from shockingly decent to downright gag-inducing. Try them at your own risk.
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This drink sounded a lot worse on paper than it turned out to be. Not only was it strikingly elegant with its frothy top and rich, chocolatey color, but it also made the argument for using pickle juice in drinks other than Picklebacks. It had notes of wildflower honey and tamarind, and the smoked oyster paired perfectly with the lime and pickle brine. The worst thing someone had to say after drinking the cocktail was that it reminded them of steak sauce and oysters, which both happen to be delicious.
This effervescent, shellfish-tinged Highball sounded awful. But, unfortunately for its creator (and fortunately for the rest of the staff), it actually tasted decent. As it turns out, chocolate and clams go well together. It was briny, chocolatey and refreshing—like a spritzy yogurt pretzel.
Swap Gas (Glacier Freeze Gatorade, Jägermeister, coffee liqueur)
Kevin Schlittenhardt, Managing Editor
Appropriately, this noxious creation looked a lot like toxic waste, and tasted like really bad Jungle Juice with hints of gym sock. But the flavor only lasted a second, dissipating quickly and disqualifying it from being truly disgusting. Would we order this? Never. Would we drink it if it was the only option at a party? Sure—but just one.
You Loko (Strawberry Lemonade Four Loko, whipped cream vodka, egg whites, tuna fish water)
Matthew Kelly, Photographer
This cocktail’s unique stink made the room smell like the locker room at a tuna fish factory—if only it had tasted as bad as it smelled, we would have crowned a victor. Rimmed with goopy egg whites, the cocktail was actually quite pleasant once we managed to get it past our lips—like a bubble gum Aperol Spritz.
Ferment Me Not (natto, bacon-washed bourbon, coconut liqueur, fernet, egg whites)
Nicholas Mancall-Bitel, Assistant Editor
Sticky, snotty and impossibly oozy, the natto garnish on this cocktail took it to a new level of gross. The fermented soybeans stretched down the glass, dropping into what looked like a Pisco Sour that had been left to rot in the sun. Sipping the tipple was difficult with the wet, funky natto—especially for bearded staffers. The cocktail tingled on the tip of your tongue, creating a sensation similar to that of licking a battery. It had a meaty flavor, with a bile-like sourness.
Cheesed to Meet Blue (sardine-washed blue curaçao, heavy cream, gorgonzola syrup, blended scotch, Sour Patch Kids powder)
Justine Sterling, Executive Editor
Behold, the unicorn drink from hell. With a fat, bloated sardine lolling like a corpse at the bottom of the glass, this opaque cocktail had cascading layers of foulness: A strong cheese flavor gave way to fishy, slick sardine notes, and finished with a sickly, artificial sourness. The blue cheese syrup’s saccharine funk stayed with us after the first sip, and only got worse as time went by. One drinker could barely put the cocktail to their face without gagging at the smell.
This cocktail was a disgusting work of art. Thick as a milkshake with the color of wet cement, its dripping ravioli garnish cemented its nightmarish appearance. And then it followed through on flavor. Some tasters gagged—we had a trash can on hand, just in case. Described as “a mixture of hot bile, coconut suntan lotion and asparagus,” it curdled more and more between each sip, solidifying into something truly terrible that will haunt our sense memories forever. Congratulations, Ms. Gabriele, you are truly a sick mixologist.