Based in Atlanta, Ga, The Spirited Librarian is a blog by bon vivant and librarian, Rose Garrett. Her posts explore books ranging from middle grade and YA to adult fiction. she suggests washing them down with a good libation.

Happy Clem-o'ween, y'all!

Happy Clem-o'ween, y'all!

 Spooky AF!

Spooky AF!

Ok, so epic Halloween cocktail goals this year. With the blog and whatnot, I really wanted to step up my game. But, what is a cocktail enthusiast to do when she has waaaaay to much social anxiety (and complete lack of event planning abilities) to actually throw a party. Why, she does the same thing she does every year! She makes LaShawna and Calli (this year, the part of Calli is played by Avery) come over and endure whatever awful movie Rob picks while she frantically pumps out cocktails to varying degrees of success.

I mentioned before that Fall means football, or rather it means people come over to watch the sports ball and I make them drinks! Halloween at the Clemberly is no exception, except that we watch scary movies instead of the footsball and I might be wearing a skeleton jumpsuit instead of ... ok, fine... I basically wear it all season. Don't judge. This year, we selected Lights Out as our movie. It had plenty of make-you-jump scenes  and "don't go in there girl!" moments to make it great for group watching, without being actually good enough to stick with you for years to come. Ahem. I still have nightmares from one of our past Clem-o'ween selection It Follows.  Just saying.

 The modest cocktail menu

The modest cocktail menu

So, after digging through Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (my very first cocktail book!) and both PDT's and Death & Co.'s recipe registers- I was able to cobble together a fairly decent Halloween-themed menu, if I do say so myself.

The night's standouts we definitely There Will Be Blood and Vampire Blues.... or maybe it was El Diablo. I honestly can't remember. Those two were both delicious, made back to back, and served AFTER the Zombie Punch... so things were understandably foggy by then. *shrugs*

The "Icky Toothpaste" award goes to Black Magic, which nobody even finished. Truly a shame. I like Fernet as much as the next borderline hipster, but paired with creme de menthe? No thank you.

So, here are the recipes, for your drinking pleasure:

Corpse Reviver #2

(reviewed previously)

Zombie Punch

(adapted from Vintage Spirits, substitutions made from the original)

  • 2 oz gold puerto rican rum
  • 2 oz overproof rum (I went halvsies with batavia arrak and Bundaberg)
  • 2 oz white puerto rican rum
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 oz lemon juice
  • 2 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 oz grenadine
  • 1 oz stirrings blood orange bitters
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

This is for two. I built enough for 4 in a mason jar and then shook by the drink.

Pour over ice (or dry ice but be careful!) in a Collins glass. 

Verdict: Not as sweet as I expected, which is a good thing. If you like your tiki drinks on the sweeter side, maybe sub dark rum for the overproof (the original calls for 151 proof demerara rum, which may be sweeter- I don’t know) and use sweetened juice. Also, I used granadine and blood orange bitter to replace the passion-fruit syrup originally called for, which may also have affected the sweetness. All in all, I’d make it again- as is. It’s a lot of ingredients, but worth the effort. Pairs well with Alex Garland’s The Beach- or with the Leo Decaprio movie, whatevs.

El Diablo

(from the PDT Cocktail Book, adapted by them from the 1972 Trader Vic’s guide)

  • 2 oz blanco tequila
  • 1 oz ginger beer
  • ¾ oz creme de cassis
  • ¾ oz lemon juice

Shake with ice and pour into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and candied ginger.

Verdict: Um… I don’t really remember? This one and Vampire Blues looked a lot alike and they were both delicious. Would definitely make again. I do remember that the smoke from the tequila really went well with the ginger’s snappy bite! Pairs well with Natalie Babbit’s The Devils Storybook.

Wicked Kiss

(from Death & Co’s Modern Classic Cocktails created by Phil Ward, riffed from the classic Widow’s Kiss.)

  • 1 oz rye
  • 1 oz apple brandy
  • ¼ oz yellow chartreuse
  • ¼ oz benedictine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.

Verdict: Like biting into a tart, refreshing apple. While a tad sweeter than I tend to go (I might try subbing green chartreuse and playing with the rye ratio next time), this is an excellent choice for your friend who refuses to let go of her appletini mix. Pairs well with Marissa Meyers Lunar Chronicles: Winter.

There Will Be Blood

(from PDT and created by John deBary who, yes, named it after the Wild West tale.)

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • ¾ oz dark creme de cacao
  • ¾ oz blood orange juice

Stir with ice and strain into a coupe.

Verdict: Considering that this was the last drink of the night and I remember it, I would say that this was possibly my favorite. You know those orange-shaped chocolate candies? Yeah, I hate those, too. But as a drink, it’s pretty righteous. This will be the next drink I remake. Pairs well Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree. 

Vampire Blues

(adapted from Jessica Gonzalez’s recipe in Death & Co. with substitutions.)

  • 1.5 oz bourbon
  • ½oz port
  • ½oz lemon juice
  • ½oz simple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin puree
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake with ice and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Grate cinnamon stick over drink and plop it in for garnish.

Verdict: See verdict for El Diablo. Same. Delicious pumpkin yummyness. This is Fall cocktail goals. Pairs well something creepy and messed up, like Dawn Kurtagich’s And The Trees Crept In.

Black Magic

(from Thomas Waugh’s recipe in Death & Co..)

  • 1 oz cognac
  • 1 oz angostura 5-year rum
  • ½oz white creme de menthe
  • ½oz simple syrup
  • 1 tsp fernet
  • 1 tsp simple syrup

Stir with ice and strain into an absinthe-rinsed coupe.

Verdict: No. Just… no. I’m a fan of fernet, I am. I love me a Hanky Panky, but the fernet + creme de menthe really took this into the mouthwash zone. I wouldn’t mind experimenting a bit with some creme de cacao and going all york peppermint patty. Pairs well with… um, making your next drink?

Night Owl

(from Alex Day’s recipe in Death & Co. with modifications to the original.)

  • 2 oz pierre ferrand ambre cognac
  • ½oz punt e mes
  • ½oz port
  • ¼ oz batavia arrack

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled coupe.

Verdict: BAM! This isn’t your grandmother’s manhattan (that doesn’t even make any sense, I know), yet the ingredients combine to create that familiar profile that evokes fireside reading and rich mahogany. If you know of batavia arrack, you know to be cautious when you see it in a drink. But, the caustic liquid actually turns out very mellow, when combined with this drink. This may make it’s way into our regular rotation at The Clemberly. Pairs well with any leather-bound book.

Happy Clem-o'ween, everyone! Imbibe responsibly!

Dreamers Often Lie

Dreamers Often Lie

A Proper Drink

A Proper Drink