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“You Can Really Taste the Ant”: Gettin’ Horny at Bigfoot Lodge West

November 20, 2009

It’s always great to play host to friends visiting from out of town, especially if those friends happen to be Lindsey Johnson and Dave Harrison of Lush Life Productions, on a West Coast swing to promote Happy Houred, their recently-launched iPhone app. With busy work days and stops at Copa d’Oro, Roger Room, and the Edison on their L.A. agenda, I figured a quiet Sunday night in Culver City would be a good way for them to start the week. “Quiet” being a relative term, of course…

Bigfoot's ceiling was recycled from a movie set. | Photo: Lena Watanabe

This one's for you, Don.

After a stop at Rush Street and a stroll past the Culver Hotel (which was hosting two rocking parties), we headed over to Bigfoot Lodge West. The well-made cocktails, unpretentious attitude, and funky decor have made Bigfoot somewhat of a go-to spot for my Westside friends. Ever since our first visit, we’ve eyed the huge jar on display, a vessel that contains a dark, mysterious liquor known affectionately as “Horny Goat Hooch.”

According to the LA Times, the Hooch was created by a Chinese herbalist, who infused vodka with “bark, ants, an actual deer hoof, and more.” The resulting potion is supposedly akin to liquid Viagra. We came close a few times, but the L.A. crew never pulled the trigger on ordering the Hooch. Of course, as soon as I mentioned it to Lindsey and Dave, there was no question that we were going to try it.

The Hooch awaits. | Photo: Lena Watanabe

I pointed out the Hooch jar as soon as we walked into Bigfoot, and then we bellied up to the bar. In honor of the Mad Men Season Finale airing that night, I ordered an Old Fashioned that Don Draper himself would have been happy to drink. Dave went with a Sasquatch (Wild Turkey, ginger brandy, ginger ale, and a dash of bitters), while Lindsey’s order escapes me. I’ll hazard a guess that it was brown, bitter, and stirred. That, or something neat.

"My horn runneth over."

When we ordered our drinks, we asked for the Horny Goat Hooch as well. The incredulous bartender made sure that we understood it was $35 a shot, and when we reassured her that we did, the shot was poured. Actually, “the horn was filled” would be a more accurate description. This being Horny Goat Hooch, a mere shot glass wouldn’t do; we would sip the elixir from an actual horn, complete with mounting base. I have to give credit to the bartender, and not just because she nearly topped off the horn for us. Imagine trying to fill a glass with water from a full Sparkletts bottle with a top-mounted spout, and you’ll get an idea of what our bartender had to deal with.

We took turns drinking from the horn and were pleasantly surprised to find the vodka-based Hooch was actually pretty smooth, and not the crazy moonshine we were expecting. I won’t pretend that I could discern everything that went into the Hooch (“mmm…you can really taste the ant”), but it was aromatic and sweet, with hints of licorice and citrus. If anything, the Hooch reminded us somewhat of bitters.

Another satisfied customer.

As for the Hooch’s “restorative” powers? Well friends, that’s something you’ll have to find out for yourselves.

Bigfoot Lodge West
10939 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 287-2200
www.bigfootlodge.com

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. sloejams permalink
    November 23, 2009 11:36 am

    drinking out of a horn sounds amazing

    • thirstyinla permalink*
      November 23, 2009 11:45 am

      It was great, very medieval.

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