In accordance with the brief, it can be a pitcher drink quite easily because All Hallows is all about sharing your bounty, thus I’ve given the measures in unspecified units.
3 parts pure apple juice
1 part Fireball – a cinnamon Canadian whisky
½ part rum infused with fresh ginger root
A twist of lemon
Pour into glass, agitate slightly with a swizzle and serve.
One ‘eyeball’ to garnish.
One confession (optional, but you may find it difficult not to)
COCKTAIL RATING: Easy
HIT OR MISS: Hit!
I rather like autumn, the way the certain trees fade downwards through winegum reds and yellows pleases my eyes and brings out my inner poet. My inner poet, unfortunately, is a little bit crap. This is probably why I have to also unleash my inner mad scientist. Charitable souls have said of me that I have an ‘inquiring mind’. In truth, I’m the cat killed by curiosity.
To that end, I reasoned that what the world really needs, is an experimental cocktail blog, which would satisfy the wild-haired lunatic inside (could be either poet or scientist, now I think about it). The premise of this cocktail had to be Halloween, given said festival is right around the corner.
Now, I don’t actually celebrate Halloween as such. For me All Hallows is the end of the year and a time to spend with friends and family and other misc. loved ones. Because of this, I wanted to try to combine my festival with the more mainstream celebration of ghouls, witches, vampires and the Avengers.
It made sense to me to look into the origin of my own celebration. Not the Crowley-esque “real” origin, but rather how I came to this. Back when I was a teenager and thought I was rebelling in all new, previously unseen ways (I wasn’t), I got into Wicca in an intense but unfocussed kind of way. Yes, black and attitude featured quite heavily while I was a teen. Oh god, past me, why were you so terrible? In Wicca, as I remember it (but remember I was a teenager and therefore quite terrible), Halloween, or Samhain, was the spiritually significant night for witchcraft (that’s magick with a ‘k’) when the veil between life and death was at its thinnest. One of the rather expensive books I could not afford so read behind the joss-stick racks at a Wiccan store filled with healing crystals and dragon statues, I read that it would be appropriate to set an extra place at the table that night for anyone who came calling. In hindsight, if my dear dead grandfather had knocked on the door, I might have lost my mind. Especially since he was cremated and buried at sea.
But you know, to someone who had already lost a lot of significant people in his life even at that point, the was an odd, macabre comfort in the idea that my loved ones, on that particular night, would be close enough to almost touch.
You can probably divine that these days I do not hold such beliefs. I still see All Hallows as the end of the year and a celebration of life and death, but in a more harvest-orientated sort of way. Since most other people celebrate something on 31 October, there’s no shortage of friends and family I can spend my night with in accordance with my own beliefs. It’s important to say ‘goodbye’ to them at the end of the year. My reasoning is that after the harvest was done in the olden times, labourers would have one last knees-up, then leave the farm to return to their own homes for the winter. And not everybody survived winter. As is still the case, unfortunately. So All Hallows, or Samhain or Halloween or whatever you want to call it, is an important date where you have bounty to share and celebrate, and also to say goodbye in readiness for winter.
So how does that fit into a cocktail?
A good question that I’m glad you asked. Taking the idea of my own harvest festival and modern traditional Halloween, I came up with apples/fruits, sweets and death.
Death was kind of hard to find a flavour for that wasn’t a) illegal, or b) revolting. So I had a bit more of a think like Lyra and her aleithometer, and found a secondary association I have with death, which is my grandfather. The first death of a human loved one I ever had to deal with when I was still eight or nine years old. When I think of Granddad, I think of whisky and I think of rum (he was a sailor). So my cocktail will ignite the cockles of your heart by using both whisky and rum. No no, stay with me.
I love apples. I’m crazy about them. Bobbing apples was my favourite Halloween game before that urban myth about razor blades stopped the whole practice. Apple juice on its own is pretty tame and spices that go so well with apples are cinnamon and ginger. By these powers combined, I created something I call the Spiced Apple Confession.
I made the eyeball, not with lychees as I would usually (I think everybody else had the same idea and the shops were fresh out of both tinned and fresh lychees), but out of sweets in true Trick and Treat madness. I got some red wine gums (oh hoho, we’ve come full circle!) and melted down some milk bottles in the oven. I then twirled the wine gums in the sticky, taffy-like milk bottles, left them to cool and painted a red iris and black pupil on it in food colouring mixed into paint with icing sugar.
Confectionary and baking are magic to me, as well as science. I feel like a flippin’ wizard when I’m in my kitchen. Especially when making pancakes. Flippin’, flippin’ … d’ya see what I did there?!
Ahem. So cookery is magic. Which brings me to the last ingredient. The confession.
As a trying-to-be-tough-but-actually-very-book-and-computer-game-nerdy youth, I had secret, sinful pleasures that nobody could ever know about.
The Worst Witch.
Past me loved that book. And yes, oh god, yes, past me loved the film. Every terrible, plot-hole riddled aspect of it. I had a really weird liking for Miss Hardbroom, who I’m sure I wasn’t supposed to like.
You’ve surely seen the Grand Wizard’s song on the internet, if not, a quick Youtube search will unearth this … ‘experience’ for you. I can promise you, once I’m done drinking this cocktail, I may be heard singing that dreadful, dreadful song. If I never write another article, you will know that my housemates killed me for this transgression.
Tune in next fortnight for more experimental kitchen shenanigans. Happy All Hallows everyone! Don’t forget to call your family from time to time.
Please obey the law of your local state and/or country and only drink if you are of legal age and don’t drink and drive.