Red Hen Cocktail Lab: Take 1

As savvy businesspeople, we know that opening a restaurant means focusing on the important details.

Finding a signature cocktail, for instance.

Thanks to Janet & Tom Beebe for hosting our first Red Hen Cocktail Lab. The goal was to find something that was a) delicious, and b) either red in color, or made with local ingredients. (Not as easy as you might think. Apart from wine, the two forms of alcohol made in Virginia are Virginia Gentleman Whiskey and Laird & Co. Applejack. You try it sometime.)

John's offering: The Rube

The Rube, Reviewed

But how did The Rube compare to such other concoctions as Janet's Gin & Tonic Gelee (aka jello shot) or her Summer Hen (complete with watermelon balls)? Or Ruth's Red Hen Sangria, Ross's Lexington Maple Leaf or the Bee Bee? There were a few missteps along the way (my own vile-tasting version of Iced Tea among them). On the whole, however, something to please everyone. Or, in Ruth's case, everything to please one person. (Sorry, Ruth.)

The Verdict


  1. And for the record, Ruth, I pretty much liked them all too. So what's wrong with being easy to please?

  2. In hindsight, I'm less sure that the Rube is really any good. It has a sort of slimy mouth-feel, and it's really tricky to balance tart and sweet. I don't think I pulled it off that night. Maybe people just felt sorry for me because of that ridiculous shirt I was wearing. I might try a puree of fresh rhubarb next time to see if it cuts down on the sliminess. I'll keep you posted.