In today’s vast landscape of cocktails, the Red Bull Vodka is one of the most mocked. It’s sugary and often pricey, more an efficient vehicle for creating a buzz than anything else. That type of drink has fallen out of vogue in bars across the U.S., part of the reason the days of Red Bull Vodkas (or Vodka Red Bulls, or Vod-Bombs, or DVR depending on who you ask) have largely waned since the early 2000s. But those days haven’t left at the bar where the Red Bull Vodka originated.
Butter, a bar in San Francisco with strong trailer park vibes, claims to be ground zero of the Red Bull Vodka, or R.V. as they call it. Butter opened in 1999, two years after Red Bull was first introduced to the U.S., and 12 years after the energy drink was created in Austria. The story of exactly how the Red Bull Vodka became Butter’s signature drink is disputed and a little hazy, and it’s made hazier still because Red Bull distances itself from any association with alcohol. Regardless, creating the drink is, and always has been, a defining part of Butter’s identity. That much is clear from the original drink menu still hanging on the wall.