Being a humanitarian today can be as easy as buying a T-shirt at the mall. With such programs as the Gap’s “Project Red,” which gives half of all proceeds on special products to women and children affected by AIDS in Africa, a donation to social justice can be tied up with retail therapy.
As goes the Gap, so goes the world, it seems. Even so, it’s rare to get a bar flier that eschews images of sweaty, oversexed women in favor of a global public service announcement. But this is the case with Hush Restaurant & Lounge’s new marketing campaign. In place of pouted, glistening lips, Hush Lounge & Bar issued a minimalist image of its new, almost glowingly rouge drink, the Activist, alongside a mini-essay detailing national and global poverty statistics.
In launching its new cocktail, Hush Lounge reminds us that 1.1 billion people live without safe drinking water, that an estimated 27 million people are currently enslaved worldwide, that 143 million children are orphaned or abandoned.
Hush also mentions that, as you sip your drink, you can do something about it.
While you can go to the Gap and pay twice as much for a T-shirt for Project Red, Hush promises that 100 percent of profits from sales of the new cocktail will go to fight poverty and human rights violations through an agreement with the Just One organization.
The drink recipe, created by one of Hush’s bar staff, is adventurous: a spritz of Red Bull, a dash of cranberry juice, X-RATED Fusion Liqueur and Absolut Citron, all on the rocks. (The X-RATED Fusion Liqueur was a new ingredient to me. It includes a tasty blend of French vodka, Provencal blood oranges, passion fruit and mangoes.)
A word of warning (and the obligatory health advisory): researchers at Brown University, and at Stanford, maintain that mixing a stimulant boasting twice the caffeine of Coke with a depressant — in this case, alcohol — is not a great idea. Excessive consumption of spiked Red Bull can fog the effects of liquor, affecting one’s perception of how inebriated they are. It can also doubly strain the liver.
Put another way: Mixing Red Bull with vodka is not a good idea, but neither is drinking.
That said, it seems only fitting that a drink called “The Activist” should contain a stimulant. College students throughout the country already mix these influences to prolong all-night raging. Should this drink catch on, perhaps this trend of fueling up while getting sloshed will actually inspire something with more of a social impact than raving.
Of course, good intention only goes so far; taste is the deciding factor in Hush’s efforts. The Activist, luckily, is a damn refreshing drink. Red Bull lends itself well to cocktails, creating a slight hint that my drinking companion referred to as “kind of like a Sweet Tart.” Cranberry and the citrus and shades of the X-RATED liqueur, along with the always dependable splash of cranberry juice, make the Activist a hard-hitting fruit punch. Thanks to the Red Bull, the resulting buzz is a more alert one.
If any cocktail will inspire you to leave the bar and take action — by, at the very least, drunk-dialing Amnesty International — it is Hush’s latest creation.