Everybody, it seems, has a Moose Juice story. It’s nearly impossible to talk about the glory days of Coconut Grove without mentioning the infamous and terrifying pink cocktail that was served at the now defunct Mr. Moe’s. The details differ with each tale but every story shares one thing in common: they rarely end well.
Even though it’s been closed for a few years now, you can still visit Moe’s Yelp page and read great gems like this: “There's this sugary concoction they make called a Moose juice, I'm pretty sure they unload a full bottle of Popov vodka in that mother...shiz will get you WASTED.” Or this accurate tidbit from user Stephanie L.: “The moose juice is great cuz it tastes like jolly ranchers and gets you sloshed.”
For years college kids in Miami flocked to Mr. Moe’s—a truly odd western bar equipped with a mechanical bull—almost every night of the week. Today, many of them can’t even hear the words “Moose Juice” without having some sort of nauseous flashback. It’s one of those mistakes that’s easy to see in hindsight. How could anyone think those things were a good idea? They look like something you’d give to a sick horse.
Moose Juice began not-so-innocently enough, as a way to clear out a closet full of “way too much booze after a killer party,” according to Alex Alfonso, a former Mr. Moe’s bartender who concocted the hunch punch recipe. It was adjusted over time before finally landing on a staggering mixture of Cruzan coconut rum, Ron Llave white rum, 151 proof rum and orange, cranberry and pineapple juice. Just reading that might give you a hangover. One Moose Juice had nearly six shots of rum in it, enough juice to fill a venti Starbucks cup and enough sugar to guarantee your head would feel like the surface of the sun the next day. And they were shockingly cheap during the bar’s college night or ladies night. A 32-ounce serving of this magical mixture for just $10 fit perfectly into everyone’s college budget. On Monday you could snag Moose Juice for $7 and on Tuesday a Mini Moose Juice (10 ounces and certainly not as cute as it sounds) were just a $1 for the ladies.
Still, the hangovers and bad decisions that were brought on by consuming even a single Moose Juice never seemed to deter the crowds of college kids from coming back for more.
We asked around to see what former Moe’s patrons remember about Moose Juice. And while many had (understandably) very little memory of what actually occurred while they were sipping the pink drink, most strangely admit that, deep down, they miss the overflowing plastic cups of fruity alcohol.
Alex Alfonso, former Mr. Moe’s bartender and creator of Moose Juice: John El-Masry, the owner of Mr. Moe’s, showed me a closet with a ton of leftover product that we needed to get rid of so I said, ‘Let’s make a punch!’ And just like that Moose Juice was born.
Oscar Ortega, founder of Bar Spanglish: Moose Juice was the elixir for the economically challenged college student. It was sweet, strong and not much else. But it got to the point: to get you inebriated enough to make questionable decisions, all while singing along to whatever music was playing. We topped it off with the local pizza place we nicknamed Good AF pizza.
Carolina Lizarralde, former University of Miami student: The trouble with Moose Juice is you never remember what happened after you drank the juice.
Carolina Yera, events coordinator at Broken Shaker: Moose Juice was pure death. That wonton container was a right of passage for every college student in Miami.
Christina Ramos, senior director of marketing at Orange Bowl: Moose Juice plus those swinging benches equaled a classic night in the Grove! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss those take-home cups full of miscellaneous liquors and juices.
Richard Garcia, accountant: A bunch of my friends and I went to Mr. Moe’s for my birthday one year. We got there around 10pm and everyone started buying me shots and of course I ordered Moose Juice. I probably had two and a half of them over the next hour, so I was drunk by 11pm already. Next thing I know, I wake up in the morning in my bed with vomit all over my girlfriend and me. Apparently, I semi-passed out around 11:15, and threw up on myself around 11:30. I got kicked out of Mr. Moe’s and my girl and two friends drove me home by midnight. Quickest birthday outing ever.
Tiffany Barranco, cofounder at Word of Mouth PR: Well, Moose Juice was basically a staple on our Thursday nights in the Grove. We’d go to Moe’s and order buckets of Moose Juice—every Thursday without fail. That was always our go-to spot to either start or end the night. It was dangerous because it was so sweet, and you really couldn’t taste the alcohol. We learned early on to share the buckets.
Jacqueline Coleman, wine columnist: I drank a ton of Moose Juice! Every Thursday for four years while I was a student at University of Miami. I don’t remember much once I started drinking my first Moose Juice of the night.
Geoffrey Anderson, Miami Food Pug: Moose Juice was grown up Hawaiian Punch that we all drank way too much of.
Anthony Silverio, marketing and events coordinator: Moose Juice was a mix between heaven and Friday morning regrets.
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