A local business in my hometown, the Pemberton Coffeehouse, showed this crazy concoction on their drinks menu. The Tazmanian Devil…surely this is a common crazy-ass drink that yahoos make (whilst inebriated) and consumed only on a dare. After a search on the internet, I couldn’t find any evidence of this drink existing anywhere else in the wild. I’ll never climb Mt. Everest, or wrestle a wild animal, but ordering this damn drink was well within my realm of capabilities. The strange iced tea color, the smell, the slight bitter taste… it actually ended up being a wonderful experience. I spent the next couple of hours in a wonderful blurred tizzy of energy, followed by a low grade headache…and then a nap that ended up killing most of the rest of my Saturday. It was perfection. Why wasn’t something like this more popular, and why have I never heard of it before? Surely this couldn’t be too hard to reproduce, and what was their secret? After two text message exchanges with my editor, it was time to dust off the mixology instruments deep inside the confines of the TehBen labs and get to work on creating my own Tazmanian Devil that didn’t require a delivery driver.
Sourcing the ingredients listed in the menu description was the easy part. All you need is Mtn Dew, a lemon, tall cup of ice, and espresso. I love black coffee, but espresso has never been my thing. I found a familiar yellow K-Cup in the kitchen, and made an executive decision. No, the good people at Café Bustelo don’t make any claims of being “single origin Honduran,” but with such a mixture of flavors dominated by cheap lemon lime soda, how bad could it be? After brewing the espresso “style” coffee and adding a healthy squeeze of lemon it was finally time for the moment of truth.
The Tazmanian Devil a la TehBen.com
Slowly pouring the coffee over the iced Mtn Dew, the unique color it made gave me a hell of a flashback. Back to my “complete cock” days, I definitely did a lot of drinking. Thinking it appropriate to my age group, most every Wednesday, Friday or Saturday night meant getting blitzed with my friends, never taking into account the occasion or whether drinking was the best idea at the time. My preferred cocktail was the Long Island Iced Tea, and this coffee/dew highball gave me a Campbell’s Soup inter-dimensional trip from just at the smell. Maybe it was the lemon, and it surely was the color, but I already had a personal connection with the homebrew version of this drink. After giving it a good minute long stare down, it was time to have a drink. <takes first sip> GUH I should’ve stirred this a little. Apparently some if not all of the bitterness from the coffee stayed at the top of the cup, so a little adjustment was needed. Plunging the ice and using a straw made things a little more interesting. There was still some bitterness there, but it was much more palatable once stirred. I typically fancy bitter drinks, but this was actually telling me a little something more. Perhaps it was all in my head, but it even tasted a little like the old Long Islands from the days of yore. With the alcohol replaced by pure caffeine, this was a virgin buzz with the same highs, lows, and crashes of my days of debauchery. I wouldn’t recommend driving under the influence of this beverage either, as the jitters are pleasurable but make you completely worthless when attempting even the simplest of tasks.
Verdict: The homebrewed version of the Tazmanian Devil Espresso Mtn Dew drink achieves the caffeinated buzz to the letter, but fails to exhibit the delicate spirit of the original drink that is made at the Pemberton Coffeehouse. With each passing sip, it feels as if I am absorbing my past and my present, all from the same glass, over ice. I can’t imagine this caffeine cocktail was intended as an alcoholic substitute, but then again saccharin was never intended to be a sugar substitute either.
Be bold. Be brave. Never stop inventing.