This month’s Cocktailery celebrates Halloween with (cue the theremin) Drinks … of the Weird! I’m going to give you three drink recipes that are going to sound kind of strange. I’ve field tested all three of these, and they taste pretty good, once you get over the weirdness.
First: Beer with grenadine.
One of my bartending school classmates popped by my place of employment once, looking for something she called a “Dirty Birdie” (a very dirty Grey Goose martini). When I didn’t have any Grey Goose (that’s the sort of place I work), she said she’d like a Corona with grenadine.
I thought she was kidding. She said she’d tell me when to stop. I popped open her Corona and let a thin stream of grenadine slide into the bottle until the beer was quite red. Then I put the lime in the bottleneck, as is customary, and watched the fun.
She enjoyed it a great deal. I figured I’d learned something new but could not conceive of actually drinking such a thing. Some time later, on a business trip to Virginia Beach, I made a hot new friend who was attending a wedding at the hotel where I was staying. He and his fellow guests were in the ballroom trying to empty a keg, he explained. It was already paid for and shameful to waste, he said. Would I care to join him for a beer or two?
(BTW, before this exchange, when he asked me what I did for a living, I told him I wrote erotic romance. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that doesn’t open doors.)
In the ballroom, I met some of his hot (and inebriated) friends, all of whom were enjoying beer with grenadine. They all offered me one to try, so I took the plunge for the sake of exploration.
It’s really very tasty. I’d thought it would be sweet and cloying, but it’s not, if it’s mixed correctly. The grenadine adds a pleasant counterpoint to the more savory taste of the beer. Definitely worth repeating.
Want to try one? Take your bottle of beer (a bottle’s easiest, I think, but you can pour a can into a glass just as easily, and the keg is always an option), and take a sip from the top before doing anything else. This is like taking a sip from your water bottle before adding Crystal Light. You need the space. Then let the grenadine stream slowly into the bottle. My experience is that this is nearly impossible (or at least DAMNED FRUSTRATING) to do without a pour spout. Seriously, go buy some of those. Stop every so often and taste this. You want more grenadine than it takes just to change colors, but it is kind of easy to put in too much. Be bold carefully.
I have seen this called grenabeer and Christmas beer. It’s not a Monaco – you have to add lemonade for that. Enjoy!
Next stop: Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper and Grape Soda.
It didn’t take long for me to develop a post-shift routine for the transition period between closing up and going to bed. For months, I wound down with some late-night television and one of those big cans of grape soda. For some reason, all that sugar – and there is a LOT of sugar in grape soda – would ease me down toward bedtime. Since I heart my grape soda so very much, I started looking for beverages I could mix with it.
I ran across this blog post from Thirsty South, in which the blogger mentioned that he caught the faintest whiff of grape soda when he enjoyed his SoCo Fiery Pepper. I love the way regular SoCo smells – it’s a beautiful, herbaceous scent, a breath away from being a lovely cologne – but I don’t smell grape soda in it.
He did give me an idea, though.
One night, I resolved to try SoCo Fiery Pepper mixed with grape soda. Just to see. I still don’t smell grape soda in my SoCo, but they mesh together perfectly. The Tabasco isn’t salty at all, but it’s not sweet, either. Trying to get my taste buds around the pure bloom of the spice … that’s weird in the best way.
Try it sometime with a regular can of grape soda and a minibottle (around 1.5 ounces) of Southern Comfort Fiery Pepper.
End of the Line: Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum.
This isn’t really a weird drink. It’s just going to make *you* weird. Ready?
First, head out to your purveyor of spirits and ask him for exactly what is in the header. He may lead you right to it, I don’t know. For years, I had to go to Jamaica to get mine, and when it was finally here, I was able to find it in the store. Some folks will try to give you the rum cream, though. That isn’t what you want. You want this.
Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum is known among Jamaicans (like my family) simply as “white rum.” It is 63% alcohol, so don’t lose the cap. Few things evaporate like 126 proof liquor.
Start everyone with a half-shot. I have entertained some pretty seasoned drinkers at my salon. They all agreed to humor the little lady by starting with a half-shot, and every one of them later said that was plenty for them.
I myself have never done more than a half-shot. That’s plenty weird for me.
Seriously, when you’re done, put the cap back on. You’re about to forget where it went.
This is perfect for girls’ night parties or any other occasion where people want to get to know each other but might be feeling a bit shy. Have everyone shoot at the same time and then exhale on a shared exclamation (try “DIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!” from Flash Gordon for kicks). Once that’s done, everyone will become more voluble and talkative – I’ve never seen anyone made mean by white rum.
The next morning, even if that’s really all you had, you’re going to feel kind of odd. Because the fermentation by-products that often cause hangovers have been distilled out of white rum, you will feel kind of weird, like you’re in a dream sequence with a high production value, but you will not feel hung over in the traditional sense. That moment of ‘wow, is this Earth?’ is kind of nice sometimes, as long as you don’t have to go to work that morning.
You put the cap back on, right?
Nunc est bibendum, friends. What are you having?