Back in the day, we were regulars at Brother Jimmy's, a Carolina barbecue watering hole for expat A.C.C. fans (like my soon-to-be-husband), and this was their signature drink: Swamp Juice, a fruity, boozy monstrosity that literally arrived in a fish bowl with a plastic gator inside (the one in the photos is a Brother Jimmy's original). The recipe below is a mocktail version, but feel free to tip in some alcohol, like a nice Tennessee whiskey—as long as you're rooting for ABD (anybody-but-Dook).
This post is part of the Eating New York series.
Listen, this is a dump-and-drink mocktail, a quick mix of a bunch of different juices plus club soda to make a swampy, fruity blend. It's true that you come for the kitsch, but it's also true that you stay for the flavor. My kid has declared this "the best fruit punch ever" and is constantly asking me to make it. It's fun. I mean, you get your kids to hilariously say things like: "Please, please can you make me some SWAMP JUICE today." But also, tasty. I started off tweaking a recipe from Southern Comfort and played around with bringing it into line with memory. (Brother Jimmy's has since closed all but one NYC location, so this is a near-relic.)
Okay, let's talk about props. As mentioned above, one of our (um, multiple) original Brother Jimmy's gators survived intact. It was subject to plenty of bubble baths and other kid-concocted adventures, so I gave it a very, very thorough scrub before throwing it in the swamp juice. If you don't happen to have an original laying around, you can, of course, procure a set of similar ones on Amazon. You'll be well stocked for all your swamp juice making needs. As for the vessel, grab yourself an ordinary plastic fish bowl at Petco or online. For the straws, go neon or go home.
Someday, when we're done Eating New York and working our way down to Eating the South, we'll likely be recreating everything else on the Brother Jimmy's menu, starting with killer (dairy-free) hush puppies and on down to Lexington barbecue (as in Lexington, North Carolina, FYI). But for now, we've got a fishbowl full of fruit to imbibe.
PS, Swamp Juice is perfect for Purim!
Brother Jimmy's Swamp Juice Mocktail (parve)
- Plastic fish bowl
- Plastic alligator
- Colorful straws
- 4 cups lemonade
- 3 cups apple juice
- 3 cups (red) grape juice
- 3 cups pineapple juice
- 3 cups club soda
- Pour the juices into the fish bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the club soda. Garnish with a plastic gator and plenty of colorful straws, and serve.