Monster’s Blood: A Halloween Cocktail

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“Halloween! Halloween! / In this town we call home / Everyone hail to the pumpkin song” ~ Danny Elfman from The Nightmare Before Christmas

Ladies and gentlemen, it is Halloween! A very merry Halloween to all of you. Halloween means many things to many people — to children, it is a yearly opportunity to binge on candy with parental approval; for dentists, it really is the nightmare before Christmas; for young adults, it is an excuse to add “sexy” as a prefix to any inanimate or animate object in the universe and thereby make it a costume; and for older adults, it is either a time to fork out money for candy for other people or a time to go out and party.

I decided to create a beverage for the 21+ crowd. Whether you choose to stay home and give candy to kids or have a drink at home before you go out and get crazy, this beverage is for you. It is a blood-red concoction that is strong, sweet, and sure to please you and your fellow party-goers. It makes for a mighty fine martini, tastes smooth on the rocks, or can be pumped up with a lemon-lime soda to make a big bowl of punch.

And did I mention it is blood-red? Dexter would be proud.

Ingredients

100% de agave tequila (I chose Luna Azul Blanco)

Red Apple Schnapps (DeKuyper makes a good one; you can also use Sour Apple Pucker if you cannot find Red Apple)

Sparkling lime water (Or lemon, or a non-fruit sparkling water is fine)

Cinnamon

Sugar

Lime wedge

Ice

Tools You Will Need

Shaker

Pint glass

Shot glass or instrument for measuring

Cutting knife

Cutting board

Glass(es) to pour beverage in

Halloween garnish(es), like eyeballs, fingers, or squid tentacles

Directions

1. Start off with a 100% de agave tequila. This is important: If a tequila does not explicitly state on the bottle that it is 100% de agave, this means the tequila has been cut with inferior ingredients. A pure tequila is made with agave juicies, but often times manufacturers will add other glucose or fructose sugars to keep costs down. A “mixed” tequila, referred to by tequila producers and aficionados as “mixto,” can contain up to 49% of sugars not from agave plants. Compared to mixto tequilas, 100% de agave tequilas have a more complex, refined taste and will taste infinitely better in the following cocktail.

You do not have to buy an expensive tequila. As long as it is 100% de agave, it will suffice. (100% de agave does not mean, though, that it is an amazing tequila. But it will be more amazing than, say, Tortilla Gold, which is a “tequila-flavored” grain alcohol.) I bought Luna Azul Blanco Tequila, which goes for about $20 at Northwest Liquor on Coburg Road.

2. Measure 1 part tequila in the shaker. By “1 part” I mean whatever form of measurement you are going to use. If you are making one drink, 1 part would likely equal 1 shot, or 1.5 ounces. If you are making a bowl of punch, 1 part might equal 1 or 2 cups, depending on how big your bowl is. (And if you are making more than one or two drinks, you obviously would not use a shaker. Maybe mix everything in a pitcher or the punch bowl itself.)

3. Measure 2 parts of the Red Apple Schnapps into the shaker. (So if you used 1, 1.5 ounce shot of tequila, you would use 2 shots of Red Apple Schnapps.)

4. Add ice to the shaker, enough to match the liquids. If making drink in a punch bowl, skip Steps Four and Five.

5. Place the pint glass over the shaker. Ensure that the two are securely attached. Shake the shaker vigorously until the liquors are mixed and ice-cold.

6. Now you need to prepare the glass(es) you will be using. In a plastic bag, combine cinnamon and sugar (use a little more sugar than cinnamon). Then pour the cinnamon-sugar mixture onto a plate.

7. Carefully cut the lime into wedges on the cutting board.

8. Make a slit in the middle of a lime wedge. Then run the lime along the rim(s) of the glass(es).

9. Turn the glass over and place the rim(s) of the glass(es) onto the plate of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

10. Make sure it looks both beautiful and delicious.

11. Now that the glassware is ready, remove the pint glass from the shaker. Then measure 2 parts of sparkling lime water into shaker or punch bowl.

12. Pour the contents of shaker carefully into glassware, ensuring that cinnamon-sugar rim stays intact. If you are making this drink in a punch bowl, at this point you would carefully stir everything and then add enough ice to keep the drink cold.

13. Variations for personal taste: I made this cocktail to be both strong and sweet. Feel free to vary the amount of each ingredient to fit your taste preferences. If you want the drink less strong, you can add more soda water or use less tequila. If you want the drink less sweet, you should simply use less Red Apple Schnapps, the source of the sweetness. If you don’t like bubbles in your drink, omit the sparkling water and consider straining the cocktail into a chilled martini glass for a slow-sipping experience. If you are making punch for a big group, instead of sparkling water use 7-Up or some other lemon-lime soda and use a lot of it to stretch out the drink’s longevity while still maintaining adequate flavor and strength.

14. Add Halloween garnishes. Go to a nearby party store and get plastic eyeballs and severed fingers to spruce up the cocktail. Or you can do what I did: I went to Hiron’s and got a squid tentacle. (Squids are my favorite sea monster.)

15. Happy Halloween! And remember to drink responsibly!

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