Casino El Camino. 517 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701
Visited 5/3/17 @ 11pm.
Bloody Mary. Homemade mix, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Guinness, Trinidad scorpion pepper, Carolina reaper pepper, Sriracha, capsaicin extract. $8.50.
Casino El Camino's Bloody Mary at spicy level 10 is one of the hottest drinks I've ever had. The Trinidad scorpion and Carolina reaper, at 1.2 million and 2.2 million units respectively, were each the hottest pepper in the world when they were first introduced, so the use of pure capsaicin extract took what already would have been a fairly spicy drink and turned it into a world of pain. I'm one of those Scovophiliac bozos who, when asked "How hot do you want it?", always smugly replies "As hot as you can get it!". Well, this drink washed that smug right off my face, down my gullet, and back into my face again. Multiple bartenders asked me, sir, are you sure this this is really what you want, and the smiles on their faces in response to my confirmation unnerved me, as did the double-price penalty if I didn't finish it. Well, I've overcome Scoville skepticism before, so I raised the glass and took a test sip first, just to see what I could taste: big mistake.
I had about a tenth of a second to ponder the flavor profile of the non-radioactive parts of the drink before a flow of lava, a wave of molten glass, a river of fire poured down my tongue and into my unsuspecting stomach. I paused, faced with a big decision. I've participated in spicy wing challenges before, and the #1 rule is to just keep eating, because the second you stop to acknowledge the pain and tears rolling down your face you're done for; it just doesn't get less hot when you slow down. Likewise with this drink: I could either admit defeat and pay for my hubris, or I could down it all in one go and transfer the torture from my mouth to my stomach. I decided to take the Scaevola path of honor and just chugged the drink as fast as I could. The drink has to stay down for it to count, so I sat at the bar and waited while each and every single one of my internal organs was coated with a mixture of enraged fire ants, active uranium rods, and poorly grounded 10-gauge electrical wire, until the pain settled and I could eat a burger in triumph, even if it was a Pyrrhic victory.
Next time I'll be fine with a level 8. Sheesh.
Aaron, Kyle, Karen.
Casino El Camino regularly ranks highly on Best Burger in Austin lists, and might draw about as many patrons for the food than just for the drinks alone. It's been open for 23 years, so it's been attracting all manner of guests (this was the last place I saw Leslie before he passed away) for the drinks and the burgers for long enough that it's clear they know what they're doing; they're much like Jackalope in that way. After a long night of drinking we took the plunge on the food as well - the gigantic and perfectly seasoned 3/4 lb Amarillo burger and cheese fries we ordered were the perfect delicious balms to soothe my poor stomach after the Bloody Mary had finished having its way with my insides. There's a secondary location down south, which maintains the excellent (and cheap!) drinks but sadly omits the food because unlike at this location, there they don't own the building. The decor is divey by way of the dark side, with all kinds of fun Satanic imagery like skulls and demons and whatnot festooning the dimly red-lit walls; the perfect tenth-circle closing joint to hit at the end of an evening drinking quest.