HBO’s hit show Euphoria has taken the world by storm — introducing viewers to an emotional journey of teenage angst, trendy fashion, and drug addiction — and a quirky Houston bar is joining in on the drama’s fanfare.
Known for its ethereal decor, Montrose bar Present Company has created a Euphoria-themed cocktail menu for February, and just like the show, the drinks are, well — edgy.
The tequila-based “I Can’t Feel My Face When I’m With You” cocktail, inspired by the show’s main character Rue (Zendaya), is a combination of Cointreau, lime juice, a raspberry-apple syrup, and another syrup made with Sichuan peppercorns, which produces paraesthesia — a burning or tingling sensation that numbs the lips and tongue. Finished off with floating alien and smiley-face tabs, the drink also has a Sichuan pepper rim, derived from the Buzz Button flower, which elicits a quality that affects the drinker’s tastebuds and makes the drink’s flavor evolve from the first sip to the last. Beverage director Rex Nielsen said the cocktail, named after a song by Canadian singer “The Weeknd,” plays off Rue feeling numb despite seeking to experience joy and happiness.
“You take a sip and it almost vibrates the molecules in your tongue,” Nielsen said of the cocktail.
Cinnamon whiskey “hall pass” shots — made with cherry juice, coconut puree, and banana liqueur — will be available in pill bottles for $7, and “Bitch You’re My Soulmate,” a strawberry, vodka-based cocktail that plays off of the frenemy dynamic between Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), is made with vodka, and topped with a port-wine foam and a psychedelic-looking picture of the Euphoria characters, made from rice paper and vegetable ink. The gin-based “Rue In The Sky With Diamonds” is made with campari, flower blossom liqueur, lemon juice, agave, and blackberry syrup.
Nielsen said the new cocktails aim to capture the essence of the show while still appealing to people who aren’t glued to their TV screens every week.
“It opens up a conversation. Even if you aren’t into the show, it’s like a secret handshake to talk about it,” Nielsen said.
But the popularity of Euphoria has not come without ridicule. Critics have called out the show for its controversial depictions of minors participating in sex, violence, and drug use. Nielsen, a fan of Euphoria’s original Israeli series, said though the series does touch on those topics, it doesn’t glamorize it.
“That was my concern, too, and though it’s not a positive, happy show in any conventional terms, it’s a reality that people deal with,” Nielsen said. Still, he added, “I don’t think anyone will do drugs or overdose because they watch Euphoria.”
In an Instagram post, Zendaya, who is also an executive producer on the series, reminded viewers before the second season premiere that the show was for “mature audiences” and warned them of potentially triggering content. The Malcolm and Marie actress also doubled down in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, emphasizing that the show is not a “moral tale to teach people how to live their life.”
Launched by bar manager Chris Burns as a way to spice up the typical Valentine’s Day offerings, Nielsen said the series-focused cocktails will be available through February.
Euphoria’s finale for season 2 airs Feb. 27, on HBO.
- D.A.R.E. says HBO’s ‘Euphoria’ glamorizes drug use, sex, and violence [NBC News]
- Euphoria star Zendaya breaks down Rue’s ‘painful’ intervention scene: ‘It’s like a war zone’ [Entertainment Weekly]
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