Anyway everyone, Happy Halloween! I hope you have a drunken good time after all the urchins have been bought off. Since I have had no chance to create anything new for this year’s festivities, I’ll simply offer excerpts from two earlier Halloween missives that tickle my fancy.
A good gift pack to offer your cocktailian friend for Christmas. An awesome gift pack to buy yourself for Halloween!
I’ll keep this short, since you need to get up from your computer and go find a liquor store where you can buy this gift set before the drinking lamp is lit Sunday night. Crystal Head, Dan Aykroyd’s boutique vodka with the awesome bottle, is offering a gift pack this year with an equally awesome pair of shot glasses. They hold just over two ounces and are made of good, solid glass.
Among the spook-tide offering from the Liquor Fairy this year was a bottle of Three Olives Purple. Three Olives has one of the larger spread of flavors available, with more coming all the time. Purple is a bit more differentiated than most, as we’ll see in a moment.
I’ve written before about the difficulty vodka makers have in differentiating their products from their competitors. Some use sex. (Some are bit more on the nose about this than others.) Others use beautiful or gimicky packaging. The most useful thing the distillers do to make themselves stand out is to offer a flavored or infused variant or two.
Three Olives has used all these methods over the years, but they seem to have chosen to be the king of flavored vodkas as their core competency. They show sixteen flavored vodkas on their website currently, including all the basics called for in most decent cocktails that use flavored vodka, such as a citrus and a vanilla. Purple, along with the unfortunately(?) named Rangtang, are part of a new evolution in the flavored vodka field: Color. Purple looks just that, a dark, opaque concord grape purple. It makes for some very interesting looking mixtures.
The flavor is also just that, Purple. The label says “grape-flavored vodka”, but it’s purple-flavored vodka. That’s not a bad thing, by the way, just a thing you need to know when deciding what to do with this product. I happen to like purple flavored things, others don’t. That’s no different from any other infusion choice in vodka.
Now, if you like the basic flavor, what do you do with it in a drink? The initial, and easy, route to go is sweet flavors. I think most bars will use Purple in shooter-like drinks. It looks distinctive, and the flavor is a powerful quick hit. Try playing with orange curaçao, cranberry, or even real grape juice.
You can also produce an interesting Cosmopolitan variant with a sweet red wine in place of the cranberry juice.
But this is a serious cocktail blog (har!) and I wanted to come up with a drink using Purple that was more dry and/or spicy, in the vein I prefer. After a few rather unfortunate dead ends, it hit me that Purple would marry well with ginger. Purple, Canton, a splash of lime, and some orange bitters (in all sorts of different ratios) yields a tasty cocktail.
The drink that I hit on that I really like, and that I think goes really well with this whole Halloween time we have right now, is my Skeletal Mule. It is essentially nothing but a Moscow Mule, modified for spookiness. Use Purple in place of plain Three Olives or other brand vodka. And replace the copper cup with the best drinkware you can find at one of the fifty temporary Halloween supply stores that are open near you right now.
2 oz. Three Olives Purple
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
4 oz. good, spicy ginger beer.
Mix your ingredients in the vessel with ice cubes. Garish with a homemade brandied cherry impaled on a lime wheel and a chunk of dry ice.
This drink looks all Halloweeny without the dry ice, and positively Vincent Price with it. I plan on having one close at hand when answering the door for the trick or treaters this Sunday.
(A few words about Dry Ice: You can usually get it, year-round at good ice cream shops. They keep it to pack with ice cream for travel. And do not use dry ice to garnish shooters or shots! If someone drinks even a sliver of the stuff, the consequences don’t bear dwelling on. And even if there are no accidents, the bubbles in a small glass are going to splash Purple all over the place and make a mess.)
The Liquor Fairy Was Here! The following product, Three Olives Purple, was recently provided to me as promotional consideration to encourage me to discuss it. For a complete disclosure of my policies regarding promotional items and all other financial interests, please click this link, or follow the Liquor Fairy link in the header of this page.