The World’s Deadliest Cocktail: The Aunt Roberta

Despite the age and notoriety of this cocktail, it is quite possible that you have never had the pleasure of drinking the Aunt Roberta. The reason for that is quite clear: this drink doesn’t meet the legal requirements for serving alcohol in many countries. In the places where it would be perfectly acceptable to create such a concoction for bar patrons, it would likely bring a very abrupt end to the party, which is not ideal for business.

Wonder what makes this drink so potent? It is the 100% alcoholic combination of brandy,
vodka, absinthe, gin and blackberry liqueur. There is no mixer, nothing to
water down the lethal blend and the only relief comes from the sweet blackberry
taste, which is, unfortunately, still alcoholic! If you think you have a strong
tolerance when it comes to strong drinks, this is the beverage that will prove
you wrong! It is not for those who just want a quiet drink, that’s for sure!

Who Invented the Aunt Roberta?

A drink this wicked was always destined to have an interesting back story. It was first designed back in the 1800s by an Alabaman woman known only as Aunt Roberta. She was a nomadic woman who fled an abusive home life as a child and worked as a cotton picker and a prostitute before finding a niche in the business of bootleg booze. She sold cocktails of gin and moonshine from a makeshift shack where she processed the alcohol herself. These incredibly strong drinks were said to be responsible for the deaths of at least 34 people in the space of two years.

The Aunt Roberta was one of the recipes that she created during this period, but she could never remember the exact measures used due to being heavily intoxicated herself, so the actual ingredients tend to vary, depending on who you talk to. Of course, as long as the mix is 100% alcohol, it seems acceptable enough to pass as this cocktail. A word of warning: Roberta died at the age of 32 and never managed to work her way out of poverty.

Fame After Death

It was a customer of Roberta’s who actually brought the cocktail into the consciousness of a wider audience. Billy Joe Spragg was a raccoon hunter who thought that her legacy deserved to live on through her cocktail. He used the drink as his signature piece upon opening several cocktail bars and became a millionaire off the back of it.

If you do choose to be brave and consume this drink, make sure to do all the typical responsible things that are suggested when drinking. Eat beforehand so you have something to soak up the alcohol and have a pint of water afterward. Drink slowly – this is not a beverage that should be downed and make sure you have a sick bucket to hand!

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Bartender's top tip

Always prioritize quality over quantity. Fresh ingredients and proper technique can transform a simple drink into an unforgettable experience for your customer.

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