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Las Vegas grasshopper invasion sparks drink specials

When the grasshoppers descended on Las Vegas, local businesses reacted with a bit of boozy revenge.

“It started last Thursday night: hundreds of thousands of grasshoppers down here,” says Ian Smaller, general manager of Fremont Street’s Smashed Pig, which operates an outdoor patio. “And we kind of made our restaurant into a safe zone. We closed up the doors and thought ‘How can we kind capitalize on this?’ ”

When the bugs were back on Friday, inspiration struck.

“I (thought) ‘Let’s do the classic cocktail the grasshopper. We’ll just put it on our chalkboard as a special.’ ”

The Smashed Pig has been advertising and selling their blend of crème de cocao, crème de menthe and half-and-half as an $8 special ever since. And customers began reacting almost immediately.

“They’re loving it,” Smaller says.

“Nobody drinks grasshoppers anymore. The younger generation probably doesn’t even know what it is. But it’s a real sweet, light kind of drink. And it’s just kind of fun. So we put it on the chalkboard. And the next thing you know social media just went wild.”

As the infestation continued, Chinatown’s popular island-themed bar The Golden Tiki added a pair of similar specials on Sunday.

“The grasshopper we’re making is a traditional recipe: (crème de) cacao, green crème de menthe and heavy cream, adding a pinch of salt in there to amplify the flavors a little bit,” bartender Adam Rains says.

Golden Tiki also is offering an original spin on the classic called the Grass Skirt Hopper, made with the mint-based Italian herbal liqueur Branca Menta, dark chocolate liqueur and coconut cream.

Rains says both drinks are $10.

“We’re gonna have the grasshopper specials as long as the grasshoppers are in town.”

Contact Al Mancini at amancini@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlManciniVegas on Twitter.

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