Spooky Season Summons Spirits
It’s spooky season. And what’s not to like about that?
Fall is my partner’s absolute, hands down, bar-none, favourite season. And Hallowe’en might just be her favourite holiday. Whether you’re about tricks or treats, ghosts or goddesses, Fawkes or Frank N. Furter, there is much to love and a great deal more to do.
That could be a crisp autumn walk hand-in-hand with your loved one as you whisper sweet nothings and fantasize about erotic somethings. Perhaps an intimate picnic for two (plus resident ghosts) in your local cemetery. Or a tour of the neighbourhood’s spooktacular decorations. Maybe you’re just carving your own jack o’lantern, ready for all of the monsters darkening your door and scarfing your candy.
The Bear Knows Cocktails
Whatever the situation, you may—call me crazy—be looking for a cocktail to complement the occasion. Fall is an awesome time to move past the wine, beer and mixed drinks that tend to dominate summer. (Summer is SUCH a pushover that way). And let’s be clear… October needs a cocktail of it’s very own.
If you’re struggling with what that might be, look no further… the bear has got your back. Not just a pretty face and a kinky submissive with a service bent, I also happen know my way around a drinks cabinet. I know my Hawthorne strainer from my Boston shaker, and I’m not afraid to use either (or both of them) when the moment is appropriate. Which, if we’re honest, is most evenings.
Finding a Drink For Dark Corners…
But what to serve? The cooler seasons lend themselves well to the darker liquors. A depth of richness and intensity of flavour that speaks of cozy cuddles while buried deep under blankets, confident gazes across crowded rooms and glowing warmth on a crisp autumn day. Think bourbon, whiskey, rum. Caramel and colour and texture and warm, full flavours.
But if we’re really going to get into the swing of Hallowe’en, we’re going to have to get our ghoul on as well. There is a time and place for the comfortable and familiar. You might default to a Manhattan or an Old Fashioned. And those are fine, fine choices. But they are safe choices. October does not want safe. It craves mystery and shadows and spectres and dark corners and dangerous doings. We want a cocktail that says, “Boo!” and means it.
And I have just the thing.
…And Delightful Debauchery
Few places on earth celebrate spooky season quite so well as New Orleans. A place of magic and fantasy and debauchery and delight. Where vampires walk and vespers comes with jazz music. Where the gap between worlds is a little narrower and the cracks open just a little wider, especially at this wondrously wicked time of year.
So our drink for October is… the Vieux Carré.
The Vieux Carré
The Vieux Carré is a classic New Orleans cocktail, with a rich heritage and a richer flavour profile. It traces its heritages back to the 1930s in the Big Easy, and its name is in fact a nod to the French Quarter. It was originally created by Walter Bergeron, the head bartender at the Monteleone Hotel, a luxury landmark that still anchors the French Quarter to this day.
If your cocktail tendencies stray towards Manhattans and Old Fashioneds, this is going to feel almost familiar, while still nudging you out of your comfort zone. What I love about the Vieux Carré is that it combines the traditional cocktail ingredients of whiskey and vermouth with two brandies (and two bitters). That’s exactly the kind of spirits that a cocktail designed for spirit season requires.
What You’ll Need
A mixing tin (we’ll be stirring, not shaking)
A strainer (please don’t use a fork)
A rocks glass (this would be your lowball one)
(makes one cocktail)
- 3/4 oz. Rye whiskey (please make it a good one)
- 3/4 oz. cognac (yes, you can use brandy, but quality counts)
- 3/4 oz. red vermouth
- 1/2 oz. bénédictine liqueur
- 2 drops Angostura bitters
- 2 drops Peychaud’s bitters
- Cocktail cherry (maraschino is fine, rye is even better, do not use a store cherry in bright pink liquid or I will haunt you)
Mix the ingredients together over ice, stirring well for about 30 seconds until well cold.
Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice.
Garnish with cherry and enjoy.