I deliberately waited to do my Monday Classics post this week on a Tuesday because I could not resist the idea of actually posting on Halloween. In creating today’s drink, I gave myself a kind of a challenge. There were some beautiful blood oranges at MOM’s Organic Market the other day, and I knew immediately that I wanted them in my Halloween cocktail. Since they’re a citrus, there really were what felt like a million different directions I could go in, but none were scary enough. There was an idea floating around in my head that had to do with a Shakespeare quote, but I couldn’t quite nail down exactly which play it was from. Was it Hamlet? Was it Macbeth? Time for some research.
I quickly learned that Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s bloodiest plays, with its gore factor being surpassed only by Titus Andronicus, and it did indeed contain a pivotal scene with a bloody ghost in it. This ghost was formerly the character Banquo, a good and noble man, who Macbeth had murdered by his generals after the witches foretold that Banquo’s descendants would rule Scotland. Banquo’s son actually escaped and went on to later become king. Banquo’s bloody ghost appears to Macbeth at a feast, and he is visible only to him. The horrified Macbeth speaks to him, much to the shock and agitation of his fellow guests, and tells him, “Thou canst not say I did it; never shake thy gory locks at me.” So there you have it; Banquo was the bloody ghost I was remembering.
This was perfect. I had blood, I had gore, I had Scotland. Pulling in elements from two classic cocktails that use Scotch whisky as their base, I created The Bloody Ghost. The first drink is the Penicillin, Sam Ross’ modern classic that I’ve done a number of riffs on, and the second is the Rusty Nail from the 1930s. I kept the Scotch whisky, obviously, and added some Drambuie, a warm and spicy liqueur that’s perfect for fall, and is used with Scotch in the Rusty Nail. I added in blood orange juice, some rosemary simple syrup, and topped the drink with a float of Laphroiag, the same very smoky Scotch that’s used in the Penicillin. The combination totally worked. The Drambuie helped to replace the ginger/lemon/honey component that is the Penicillin’s trademark, the rosemary paired nicely with the blood orange, and the smoky float was perfect. The entire drink made me feel like I was standing knee deep in leaves watching trick or treaters go by. Happy Halloween everyone!
The Bloody Ghost
Shake all the ingredients over ice, except the Laphroaig, and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice (preferably some skull ice cubes, if you have them on hand). Float the Laphroaig on top. Enjoy!