It’s almost time for Shark Week and a Shark Attack served with a story at New Orleans’ Tropical Isle.
On Sunday night, The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week kicks off as television’s longest running must-see summer event. Shark Week premieres on the heels of Syfy’s “Sharknado 2: The Second One” and promises 13 original shows and a live talk show each night. With show titles “Sharkageddon,” “Monster Hammerhead” and “Shark of Darkness,” you get the idea. There’s also “Zombie Sharks,” which will explore tonic immobility, a catatonic zombie-like state that can be achieved in sharks.
Scared to get in the water yet? The Gulf Coast started off the summer with sharks spotted from Orange Beach on into Florida — a Hammerhead even spooked swimmers by gliding right up to the shore in Navarre last week — but overall it’s been a relatively quiet summer for shark attacks. Not so much at New Orleans’ Tropical Isle bar though.
During Tales of the Cocktail in July, a seminar titled “Hurricanes, Hand Grenades and Shark Attacks” highlighted the bar’s drink served with a side of “Jaws” worthy drama. If you walk into any one of the bar’s five locations in the French Quarter (we recommend the one at Bourbon and Toulouse), you can skip the famous Hand Grenade and go straight for a Shark Attack. A small sign with a rubber shark on top next to the bar encourages patrons to “Try Our Shark Attack,” and every visitor to the French Quarter should add this to their to-do list right after sipping that Hurricane at Pat O’s.
You can see the production in the video below, but here’s what happens when you order a Shark Attack at Tropical Isle:
A bartender makes your drink — a blend of vodka and lemonade — and tops it with a tiny plastic alligator. She sets it down in front of you and grabs a rubber shark behind the scenes, filling its mouth with grenadine. She then blows a whistle and rings a bell above the bar, yelling “Everybody out of the water. It’s a shark attack!” She dunks the grenadine-filled shark into your drink, and the red liquid begins to spread.
Local writer and Tales panelist Brett Martin revealed that Tropical Isle isn’t the only place to serve a Shark Attack. Historically, Augie’s De Lago restaurant on the lakefront served a Shark Attack in the late ’70s — but without the rubber shark. Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar has one too, served up with a story about mermaids, but lacking in whistle blowing and bell ringing. According to Lucy’s website, theirs is made with vodka, gin, rum, tequila and sour mix.
“This drink has no recipe,” says Martin. “What it has is a story. Away from Bourbon Street, the Shark Attack’s a shitty vodka sour with a shot of grenadine.”
Order one from Tropical Isle the next time you’re in New Orleans, and remember to stay out of the water. At least until Shark Week’s over.