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Mixology Mailbag Designs Drinks for Lesbian Werewolf Erotica The Lesbian Werewolf Erotica Trilogy Cocktail Mixology Mailbag Designs Drinks for Lesbian Werewolf Erotica The Lesbian Werewolf Erotica Trilogy Cocktail

Mixology Mailbag Designs Drinks for Lesbian Werewolf Erotica The Lesbian Werewolf Erotica Trilogy Cocktail

by Ken Walczak
September 29, 2011

How does one go about designing a new cocktail? I'd like to serve a custom cocktail at events promoting Lunatic Fringe, the first installment in my erotic fiction trilogy about lesbian werewolves. What kind of drink would be best? — Dirty Dances with Wolves

Despite your naked self-promotion, I’m going to take a stab at your question, DDW. Partly because it allows me to rattle off hackneyed puns like “naked self-promotion,” but mostly because it sounds like it would be a howl to answer. Our motto here at Mixology Mailbag: Subtle flavors, sledgehammer humor.

Stirring up new cocktails is one of the great pleasures of maintaining a home bar. But how do you advance from that vacantly longing, slightly befuddled stare (“the Kristen Stewart”) to serving the perfect book launch beverage? The best answer is that old punchline about Carnegie Hall: “practice.” But since we have very little time before the next full moon pares down your core readers, let’s try some shortcuts to custom cocktail nirvana.

1. Drink while you pour. It’s even more important to practice drinking spirits and cocktails than it is to practice making them (even if you’re currently battling an insatiable thirst for blood or human flesh). No one turned Old Steamroller whiskey and rancid vermouth into a premium-tasting Manhattan by strength of stirring alone. Try sipping each component of your favorite cocktails by themselves, and tweak the brands or proportions each time you mix something, until you’ve figured out which flavors Grand Marnier brings to the party, and exactly why you like your Negronis mixed with more gin than Campari. Then taste a tiny splash of each and every cocktail you make to ensure you haven’t accidentally omitted or overpoured.

2. Don't be afraid to sample. Take it from the Mash Out Posse and their Aaron Neville-sampling song about sudden life changes—there is no shame in paying homage to a classic. I took this approach when I entered a cocktail competition with Whippersnapper Whiskey as the theme ingredient. Whippersnapper is a young whiskey, natch, aged partly in wine barrels, with pronounced apple and spice notes. I remembered how well those flavors mixed with gin in the original Pink Lady cocktail, then remembered a solid whiskey-and-gin concoction, the Suffering Bastard. I swapped the Bastard’s lime cordial for fresh lime juice, made a homemade ginger-apple syrup to replace the ginger beer, tweaked the proportions, and served the drink straight up. I called it the “Suffering Barrister." Think of it as my first foray into drinks inspired by famous monsters.

3. Consult a curmudgeon. Once you’ve identified the ingredients you want to entangle with each other, you’ll need to settle on proportions. Again, trial and error is best, but for a baseline I suggest looking to a true hardliner with a dogmatic approach to mixology. In his 1948 classic The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, David Embury divided the whole of cocktaildom into aromatic cocktails (base spirits plus a liqueur or fortified wine, like Martinis and Manhattans) and sours, then laid down a golden ratio for the latter of 8 parts base spirit to 2 parts sour (lemon or lime juice) to 1 part sweet (sugar, simple syrup, or a sweet liqueur).  

Mr. Embury liked a mighty strong drink. Unless you're looking to take the edge off a particularly rough lycanthropy session, mere mortals might be more comfortable with a ratio of 4:2:1. Try this at home: Think of a cocktail you’ve enjoyed while out on the town recently, one made from liquor, citrus, and a sweetener. Mix the same ingredients at home in the following proportions: 2 ounces liquor, 1 ounce citrus, and ½ ounces sweetener. You’ll be amazed how frequently that works.

4. Phone a friend. Everyone’s palate is different. Drinking should be a social activity. Invite some friends over to serve as guinea pigs while you’re experimenting. Do you happen to have Shakira in your friends list?  I understand she’s an expert on the subject.

5. Less is more. Coco Chanel said she always removed one piece of jewelry before she left the house. Keep that rule in mind as you paw through your first failed attempts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve led myself to dead ends by following the irresistible compulsion to add, add, add. When you taste your first effort and think this needs something, it often really needs a return to the drawing board. Consider the pantheon of classic cocktails: how many of them have more than three ingredients? (No, the Long Island Iced Tea is not in the pantheon.)

Woof. All that tip-giving has made me thirsty. Let’s get werewolfed, shall we?

We’ll start with a couple of ingredients that seem symbolically appropriate and let flavor dictate the rest. After all, we’re here to make a palatable Lunatic Fringe Cocktail, not a list of substances likely to appear in the pages of Lunatic Fringe itself.

I gleaned the bulk of my werewolf knowledge from True Blood, so I apologize for my limitations in that area (unless your book is long-form Jessica Hamby fan-fiction, in which case I will take two copies, thanks). But I understand that werewolves are shapeshifters, neither fully animal nor human, whose dual identity keeps them trapped between the natural and supernatural worlds. What base spirit echos this between-worldsness-for-which-Germans-and-doctoral-candidates-in-literary-theory-surely-have-a-single-word-but-I-do-not? St. George’s wonderful new Dry Rye gin should do the trick: The Dry Rye's malty, woody undertones keep it trapped squarely between the worlds of gin and whiskey.

Solerno is tangy and refreshing, and it has “blood” in its name, but sadly, it pours colorless.  So I added Dubonnet Rouge, a wine-based apéritif much like sweet vermouth. In addition to its deep red color, the Dubonnet added depth, an herbaceous richness, and dare I say, a touch of bodice-ripping romance.

After that, it was all trial and error (see tips 1 and 4, and thanks to my supernaturally lovely wife for the assistance) to perfect the two drinks I hope you will find worthy of the name Lunatic Fringe.

The “New Moon” version is rawer and a bit more bracing, and should finish with a gentle spank of spice from the rye. It stimulates the mind like a good gin drink, making it a fine cure for the Kristen Stewart stare. The “Full Moon” Fringe is more likely to need a safe word. It seems subtler in flavor and more refined, but the extra alcohol means it kicks—sorry, bites and claws—harder, and the absinthe rinse adds both a foresty undertone to the flavor and a creepy luminescence to the glass.

It’s impossible to tell at this stage whether either elixir possesses transformative powers, beyond the usual power to transform sober people into less sober people. If it turns out that they do, and you end up with a pack of genuine sexy werewolves tearing around your events, I hope you will acknowledge my contribution to the plot of the sequel. And send me two copies.

The Lunatic Fringe: New Moon

1 ½ oz. St. George Dry Rye gin
¾ oz. Dubonnet Rouge
½ oz. Solerno blood orange liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir all ingredients with cracked ice; strain and serve up.  Garnish with a brandied cherry, or a sprig of anything that resembles wolfsbane but is less poisonous.

The Lunatic Fringe: Full Moon

1 ½ oz. St. George Dry Rye gin
¾ oz. Dubonnet Rouge
½ oz. Solerno blood orange liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Splash absinthe
2-3 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine

Pour a splash of absinthe into a chilled flute, turn the glass until the inside is fully coated, and pour out the remaining absinthe. Stir the first four ingredients with cracked ice and strain into absinthe-rinsed flute. Top with champagne.

Wondering which Prohibition-era cocktails best accompany your viewing of Boardwalk Empire? Hoping to spend your next Happy Hour with a drink that evokes the memory of a favorite vacation spot? Interested in which strong drinks Ken would pair with the M.O.P.’s greatest bangers? Drop us a line at mixologymailbag@gmail.com.

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