Drink: I-95 traffic jams stir up a cocktail

As drink trends go, I've heard of "farm-to-glass" cocktails.

But freeway-to-tumbler?

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The 95 Project cocktail at Bait & Switch.

Bait & Switch has something novel in what I suspect is the first-ever cocktail inspired by a highway headache. The "95 Project" is one of four fine punches crafted to bring a refreshing quaff to the seafood menu at Port Richmond's likable new fish house tavern.

And it's more exotic than you'd expect from the gritty inspiration - a dose of silver tequila muddled with jalapeño, an elderberry kiss of St. Germain, and a sweet-tart squirt of lime and pineapple.

A finishing splash of Goya coconut soda (cued by frequent trips to a nearby Cousin's supermarket) lend it a cheery fizz.

But to hear manager Bill Newhart tell it, the creation of this punch was such a long and winding process, it felt as unpredictable as getting to work each day around the highway expansion project's ever-changing road obstacles.

It's all tongue-in-cheek, of course, not unlike the wall of famous captain portraits that survey the bar's convivial scene. But it also happens to be surprisingly delicious, with all the potentially hazardous drivers – spicy, sweet, and tropical bursts - riding bumper-to-bumper in surprisingly balanced check.

The only thing missing that would make it more perfect is if the 95 Project were a bottomless cup. Unfortunately, only the traffic jams are endless.

- Craig LaBan
The 95 Project punch, $7, Bait & Switch, 2537 E. Somerset St., 267-639-5041; thebestseafood.com

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