This is my latest cocktail concoction. I’ve been toying with the idea for a while and how to execute it. I mean, to bestow a cocktail with the namesake of the man who portrayed the most famous bloodsucker of all time it has to be very good.
It’s not just for the classic Dracula that I love Béla Lugosi. Sure, his portrayal of the dark count of a Transylvanian castle—and his thickly accented, haunting voice—made him an icon, but he brought allure and malevolence to so many other roles. He was the mastermind behind the mind-controlled zombies in White Zombie, a chemist unleashes evil bats to attack anyone using the aftershave lotion he developed (I’m not sure whether the camp was intentional or not but I don’t care), and he was the sinister Dr. Eric Vornoff in Ed Wood’s questionable classic Bride of the Monster (the camp here was definitely not intentional, but it is in every way and I love it. It’s also my favorite Ed Wood film… Or Plan 9. It’s a tight race). I know he tried to break out of the horror genre and typecasting, and I’m only perpetuating it a little by this, but I can’t help but think of these films this time of year.
When I was thinking of what type of recipe to make in honor of Mr. Lugosi, I first jumped to goulash. Lugosi was Hungarian and, as we all know, goulash as we know it is at the very least slightly rooted in the Hungarian dish of the same name. Not only that but… Ghoul-ash. I almost couldn’t help it. But I wanted something a little more original and after a lot of consideration I decided on this cocktail. Its’ based on a Hungarian cocktail called a Grand Fashion. Essentially, it’s a mix of white rum, cherry and orange juice and a Hungarian red wine called Egri Bikavér, which translates to “bull’s blood”—so fitting. However, finding Egri Bikavér proved a little difficult for me. I briefly considered just substituting another wine, but I decided against it, and I think appropriately so because, you know: “I never drink… wine.”
Shake white rum, cherry brandy, triple sec and cherry juice with ice and strain into an 8-ounce glass filled with ice. One great variation is adding a splash of Domaine de Canton, a French ginger-infused liqueur, to the mix. It’s not entirely necessary—trust me, it’s just as good without it—but the slight citrusy zip from the ginger is nice. You could always, I would imagine, make a little ginger simple syrup if you wanted (you really don’t need much—just ¼ ounce per cocktail—but you could make a small batch of ginger syrup and freeze what you don’t use. Mix ¾ cup sugar, 6 tablespoons of water, and 3 ounces of chopped fresh ginger in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30 minutes before straining.) You can even make a big batch of them in a pitcher and just measure out 3 ½ ounces (or 3 ¾ ounces if you’re using the ginger liqueur/syrup) into the shaker.
If you’ve got a Halloween party coming up this is a great one to serve. A sinister crimson red cocktail—it will be a huge hit on All Hallows’ Eve!
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