How Trick Dog Created One of the Country's Most Creative Cocktail Lists
Nursery rhymes and cocktails may not be an intuitive pairing, but a bit of childhood whimsy is the trick de jour at one bar in San Francisco’s Mission District. Trick Dog, which changes its beverage menu twice a year, has teamed up with satirical website and non-profit publishing company McSweeney’s for its latest collection of cocktails.
The catch? Each item must rhyme with Trick Dog, leading to such creations as the Dramatic Pollywog, a blend of Bombay dry gin, Krogstad aquavit, Cointreau, carrot orgeat, and lime; the Lunatic Bog, combining rye, Cynar, sherry, milk chocolate, and green peppercorn; and the Last-Picked Demagogue, composed of mezcal, charanda, ginger liqueur, coconut, and grilled peach.
The playfulness extends to the physical menu, which is printed as a children’s book, titled Rhymes with Trick Dog. Each of the dozen cocktails has its own page with a list of the ingredients, an illustration, and accompanying rhyme. And it’s no haphazard endeavor: The team tapped artists Ferris Plock and Kelly Tunstall for the illustrations and writer Daniel Levin Becker for the verses.
Trick Dog also created a short video starring Morgan Schick, mixologist and creative director of Trick Dog and its parent company, Bon Vivants. In the grainy-retro film, Schick enters the bar in a business suit, dons a sweater that could’ve come right out of Fred Rogers’ closet, and reads a poem from Rhymes with Trick Dog.
Bon Vivants raises the bar quite high for its semi-annual assortment of libations—perhaps because the company bills itself as a marketing, hospitality, and design firm rather than an outright restaurant group. Each new beverage cycle works around a central theme, with past examples like zodiac signs, Pantone colors, and record albums.
The latest menu kicked off July 7 and will run six months. In the meantime, guests (or fans afar) can purchase the children’s book/menu at Trick Dog or online for $35. All proceeds go to McSweeney’s and SOMArts, a culture and arts center located in the heart of San Francisco.