What happens when an owner of a bar harps on new ideas for his cocktail menu while listening to Rihanna’s ANTI? For Ronaldo Fierro — the owner of W. Wolfskill Bar, a craft cocktail bar located in Riverside, California — the answer is simple: name your drinks after the singer’s greatest hits.
Since opening in August 2014, Fierro seasonally changes the signature cocktail menu of W. Wolfskill, tailoring the ingredients and names to revolve around a central pop culture theme. Past seasons for the establishment saw drinks based off Harry Potter and the animated MTV classic, Daria.
This time around Fierro “had been recently obsessed with ANTI.” Recalling his a-ha moment, the owner says, “I was listening to ‘Desperado,’ and I was like ‘this sounds like a great cocktail name. Then it was ‘Same Ol Mistakes’.” At first, he wanted to have all the drinks crafted around ANTI tracks, but with a burning desire to name a cocktail after “Bitch Better Have My Money,” a promo single that didn’t make the album’s final cut, Fierro decided to pull from Rihanna’s entire catalog.
From there, Fierro gave his bar staff his favorite Rihanna song titles. Having complete creative control, they were responsible for crafting original recipes inspired by the cuts. Joining the tequila based “Desperado” drink and the “Same Ol Mistake,” which mixes bourbon and green tea, were two more ANTI cocktails: the lemony “Kiss It Better” and lychee-sweetened “Yeah, I Said It.”
In addition to a spicy “Bitch Better Have My Money,” three other pre-ANTI drinks made the menu, including a vodka and gin combination named “Unfaithful,” a whiskey-enhanced “California King Bed,” and a coffee sobering “Shut Up And Drive” spiked with Guyanese rum.
Out of all the cocktail menus that have graced W. Wolfskill, this one is the most meaningful to Fierro. “[As a bar] we’re kind of always Unapologetic and like to always be ourselves,” the owner tells Billboard. “We do what we want, whether people like it or not. My wife was super excited about the cocktails and was like ‘you know what? We’re kind of like the Rihanna of our area’s bars’.” The owner even takes pride in their “DGAF attitude,” similar to Rihanna’s, by blowing up any negative critique they receive and posting it in the menu.
As for Rihanna’s drink of choice, if she were to visit? Fierro guesses she’d order his personal fave, the “Bitch Better Have My Money,” because “it’s a fun, spicy cocktail that fits her personality.” He went on to add that customers with an “edgier side” tend to “push the envelope” with their drink selection. However, most of his customers seem to have an affinity for the beautifully garnished “Same Ol’ Mistake.”
The specialty cocktails will continue to run until the end of September when a new (possibly Game of Thrones) menu will take over.
Check out how to make a few of these Rihanna-inspired cocktails, handcrafted by W. Wolfskill bartenders, below:
Same Ol’ Mistake (crafted by Fizz)
.25 oz heavy cream
.25 oz lime juice
.50 oz lemon juice
1.50 oz green tea poor-syrup
Tsp Broker’s London Dry Gin
.25 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaco
1 oz Giffard Peche De Vigne
1 oz Buffalo Trace Burbon
Method: short-shake, cubes, top soda
Glass needed: frosted glass
Garnish: Peach fan with bamboo pick
Bitch Better Have My Money (crafted by Daisy)
4 drops salt solution
2 dashes Miracle Mile celery bitters
6 drops Bittermen’s Hellfire Shrub
.75 oz lime juice
2 oz cantaloupe shrub
2 oz Chile De Arbol-St. George Dry Rye Gin Infusion
tsp Suze Bitter Orange Aperitif
Method: short-shake, strain, and cubes
Glass needed: Double old fashioned with house chile rim
Garnish: Chile De Arbol, and micro cilantro