Today in rage-inducing restaurant behavior: an extremely offensive cocktail. Westport, Connecticut, restaurant 323 Main was serving a rum-based drink on its specialty cocktail list called “The Tuskegee Experiment,” according to a photo posted to Facebook by Eric Armour. To name a cocktail “The Tuskegee Experiment” — referring to the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, full name “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male” — isn’t merely baffling, it’s appalling.
The cocktail’s namesake was a 40-year study in which the Public Health Service, along with Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute, tracked the progression of untreated syphilis in African-American men. The men were told only that they were receiving free health care and treatment for “bad blood.” They were never given medical care for syphilis, even as treatment in the form of penicillin became available in the 1940s. The study lasted from 1932 to 1972.
It’s unclear what the cocktail — featuring “Myers dark rum, Malibu, pineapple juice, fresh lime, pineapple & jalapeño mash, dash tabasco” — has to do with this disturbing period in American history.
A woman who answered the phone at 323 on Thursday morning said she removed all of the cocktail menus on Sunday following a customer complaint. Eater has reached out for more information about how the cocktail ended up on the menu in the first place. Stay tuned.