A Pairing of Scary Movies & Contemporary Cocktails
Midnight Mass —
Really more of a limited series than a movie, Midnight Mass is the latest Netflix entry from Mike Flanagan, the director who brought us The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and many more. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite horror directors, and if you like scary movies but haven’t seen Midnight Mass yet, you really must: “The arrival of a charismatic young priest brings glorious miracles, ominous mysteries and renewed religious fervor to a dying town desperate to believe.”
The movie centers around a devoted population (most of the inhabitants of a tiny, isolated fishing village) who attend mass in a small catholic church. The congregants regularly participate in communion and eventually discover the sacramental wine is more than merely the symbolic blood of Christ. With that in mind, I’m paring this movie with “The Devil’s Margarita,” a tequila cocktail with a red wine “float.”
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce red wine
Add the tequila, lime juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Float the red wine on top by slowly pouring it over the back of a bar spoon so it pools on the surface of the drink. Garnish with a lime wheel.
The Shining —
The Shining—directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by Stephen King about a haunted hotel, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duval. It’s really one of the best horror movies out there and one of my perennial favorites. I can watch it over and over. That wild look in Jack Nicholson’s eye as he peers through the hole he just hacked into the door of the bathroom where his wife is hiding and snarls “Here’s Johnny!” will never not be scary as hell.
Fun movie fact: How is it that Kubrick, infamous for his painstaking attention to detail, allows Jack Torrance to order a glass of bourbon, only for the ghost bartender to pour from a bottle that is clearly Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey? Anyway… as for a cocktail pairing, I thought to find something older and classic that might have been served at The Overlook Hotel in its glory days. Instead of that, I cheated and checked Google. A website called 12 Bottle Bar has a recipe for a drink based on the movie. It’s called the “Jack Torrance”.
1 oz Jack Daniels
3 oz Advocaat
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters (optional)
Place all ingredients in a mixing glass half full with crushed ice. Shake and pour, without straining, into a rocks glass
Or, if something sweeter is more to your taste, maybe you’d prefer a little REDRUM Punch:
1 cup of orange juice
1 cup of pineapple juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 cup of grenadine
In a pitcher, combine the juices, the rum, and the grenadine. Stir. Pour into ice-filled glasses and serve with an orange slice and maraschino cherries.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil —
From the hapless victims’ points of view, Tucker and Dale are the worst kind of psycho killers, but the audience is in on the secret. They’re really just a couple of good ol’ boys who want to spend a weekend alone in the woods getting back to nature and cracking a few cold beers. What happens during their vacation is really just a series of unfortunate, hilarious, and grisly events. With that in mind, you could probably crack a few Pabst Blue Ribbons to enjoy with this movie, but since cocktails is the theme, cocktails (made with beer) is what you’re going to get. The classic Shandy:
6 ounces pale ale or lager beer (Your favorite cheap beer works great for this!)
6 ounces ginger ale, ginger beer, lemon lime soda (Sprite), or sparkling lemonade
For the garnish: lemon wedge (optional)
Optional: 1 dash bitters adds a complex flavor
Add the beer and mixer to a glass and stir gently to combine. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Cabin in the Woods —
Similar to Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, Cabin in the Woods is another movie that brilliantly subverts the most cliché horror movie tropes. “Five friends arrive at a secluded cabin with clear rules for their retreat. But when protocol is broken, punishment is swift — and everyone will pay.” While Tucker and Dale use irony and humor as their main tool, Cabin in the Woods sticks to its horror roots. It’s got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. It’s got monsters and nightmares galore. You want dismembered body parts? It’s got twenty (at least)!
Don’t watch the end if you have a weak stomach, but if a little (okay, a lot) of blood and gore is your thing, then a classic Bloody Mary might be the perfect movie refreshment for you.
1 lemon wedge
1 lime wedge
2 ounces vodka
4 ounces tomato juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch smoked paprika
Garnish: parsley sprig
Garnish: green olives
Garnish: lime wedge
Garnish: celery stalk
Pour some celery salt onto a small plate. Rub the juicy side of the lemon or lime wedge along the lip of a pint glass. Roll the outer edge of the glass in celery salt until fully coated, then fill the glass with ice and set aside. Squeeze the lemon and lime wedges into a shaker and drop them in. Add the vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Tabasco, Worcestershire, black pepper, paprika, plus a pinch of celery salt along with ice and shake gently. Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with parsley sprig, 2 speared green olives, a lime wedge and a celery stalk (optional).
The Lost Boys —
This was the first “real” horror movie I remember watching as a kid. I still love the soundtrack to this day. It was fully of great 80s cheese and glamorous vampire boys that would put poor Edward Cullen to shame. Classic duo Corey Haim and Corey Feldman use every tool in their arsenal—holy water, wooden stakes, and of course garlic—to battle a coven of blood sucking fiends and save their hot, broody older brother from supernatural, evil influences. If you want a drink that’ll keep away the vampires, too, then a Black Garlic Mojito might be just the thing for you:
1½ ounce dark rum
1 orange wheel, sliced into halves
3 basil leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
1 ounce black garlic simple syrup*
Muddle basil and half an orange wheel in the bottom of a rocks glass filled with ice. Add black garlic syrup and rum. Stir, and top with soda water. Garnish with orange and basil.
*Black garlic simple syrup
½ cup hot water
½ cup Demerara sugar
3 cloves black garlic
1–2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
To make syrup: Bring water to boil. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Pour the syrup into a blender and add garlic. Blend until the garlic is finely ground. Use a fine-mesh strainer to remove any solids. Add the vinegar and taste. It should taste slightly acidic with a sweet, earthy finish.
Karissa Laurel lives in North Carolina with her kid, her husband, the occasional in-law, and a very hairy husky named Bonnie. Some of her favorite things are coffee, dark chocolate, superheroes, and Star Wars. She can quote Princess Bride verbatim. In the summer, she’s camping, kayaking, and boating at the lake, and in the winter, she’s skiing or curled up with a good book. She is the author of the Urban Fantasy trilogy, The Norse Chronicles; Touch of Smoke, a stand-alone paranormal romance; and The Stormbourne Chronicles, a YA second-world fantasy trilogy.
Serendipity at the End of the World —
Serendipity Blite and her sister, Bloom, use their unique talents to survive the apocalyptic aftermath of the Dead Disease. When Bloom is kidnapped, Sera is determined to get her back. Attempting a rescue mission in an undead-infested city would be suicidal, so Sera forms a specialized team to help retrieve her sister. But unfortunate accident sets Sera teetering on the edge of death. She must fight to save her own life, because surviving could mean finding family, love, and possibly a cure.
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