If you want a drink that has a whole zoo's worth of booze, then perhaps the Baltimore Zoo cocktail will fit the need. Like its cousin, the boozy Long Island iced tea, the Baltimore Zoo cocktail (not affiliated with the actual Baltimore Zoo) is a mishmash of some of your favorite liquors.
How to Make a Baltimore Zoo Cocktail
The cocktail has a long list of ingredients, much like the iconic LIIT, so it's like a sampler platter with a little bit of everything.
- ½ ounce amaretto
- ½ ounce vodka
- ½ ounce rum
- ½ ounce gin
- ½ ounce peach liqueur
- ½ ounce orange liqueur
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 1 ounce grenadine
- Lager or pilsner to top off
- Lemon wheel for garnish
- In a cocktail shaker, add ice, amaretto, vodka, rum, gin, peach liqueur, orange liqueur, lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup.
- Shake to chill.
- Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice.
- Top off with beer.
- Garnish with a lemon wheel.
Variations on the Baltimore Zoo Cocktail
The Baltimore Zoo cocktail is neither caged up in rules nor a strict recipe, and you can easily make a few swaps or adjustments as you see fit.
- Experiment with liquor proportions by using additional amaretto, less gin, or extra vodka with less rum until you find a ratio or recipe that you like best.
- Be sure to opt for a beer that isn't too strong or that will overpower the flavor of the ingredients.
- You can use homemade or store-bought sweet-and-sour mix instead of citrus juices combined with the simple syrup.
- Skip the simple syrup to cut the sweetness of the drink.
Zest up your cocktail with any of these suggestions.
- Any citrus garnish, including a lime, orange, or grapefruit wheel, makes for an excellent garnish.
- Pierce several cherries on a cocktail skewer.
- Add a pineapple leaf or a pineapple wedge for a fruity touch.
- Layer several garnishes together, such as an orange wheel with a cherry on a skewer beside a pineapple leaf.
The actual Baltimore Zoo (Maryland Zoo in Baltimore) is not the inspiration for the contents of the drink. Lore says Purdue University, located a mere 640 miles away, is the source of this outlandish cocktail. It makes sense that a bunch of students came up with this boozy spectacle and not a family attraction.
A Beast of a Drink
Make no mistake, the Baltimore Zoo cocktail is a child of the 1990s cocktail era, like the lemon drop or the chilled-blue Long Island iced tea. With a long list of familiar suspects, this is one drink that you'll want to treat with a little respect. If you're the daring type, there's another multi-booze cocktail you should try — the walk-me-down drink. Just don't walk yourself down the same day you visit the Baltimore Zoo.