Cicadas: Coming to a cocktail list near you

We're probably days away from the emergence of Brood II, the batch of 17-year cicadas that last turned the D.C. area into a noisy breeding ground in 1996. You're more likely to remember their cousins in Brood X, whose 2004 appearance offers the best clue of how local establishments might try to turn magicicada into menu item this time around.

A few menu selections from nine years ago:

(Michael Williamson/The Washington Post)
(Michael Williamson/The Washington Post)

• The Cicada Cocktail at Kramerbooks, a muddy-looking glass of Jack Daniel's, amaretto and cream, served with two cleaned, candied cicadas on toothpicks. "These cicadas look more like chocolate-covered peanuts than, um, 17-year-old bugs," Fritz Hahn wrote. "No wings, no big red eyes, no twitching legs. That lessens the fear factor considerably."

• Another Cicada Cocktail at the Degrees bar in Georgetown's Ritz-Carlton Hotel, but this one only resembled a cicada: Vodka, pineapple juice, a splash of Blue Curacao and a large red cherry which, after you've seen enough cicadas up close, resembles an eye.

• The Fairmont Hotel's Lobby Lounge served a pale-green "They're Back Tini," which was an awful name for a $14 novelty drink. Vodka, sour apple liqueur, Cointreau and fruit juice, served with a pair of earplugs.

• The Bug Juice Martini at Helix Lounge was an adult version of the summer camp standby: Bacardi Limon (we've come a long way from 2004, haven't we?), cranberry juice, sour mix and Sprite, served with a sparkly plastic insect on the rim of the glass.

So that wasn't bad, but this is the first cicada invasion of the social media age, where the perfect specialty menu item or concoction will earn a bartender or restaurant instant (don't say buzz, don't say buzz) notoriety and retweets and blog posts. So expect to read the phrases "candied cicada" and "vaguely nutty taste" often in the weeks ahead.

Gbenga Ajilore is an economics professor at the University of Toledo, who research centers on public finance and sports economics.
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