It's hard to think of a cocktail as "scary," especially when drinks are most commonly consumed in spaces that are fun and social, not isolated and creepy. But what's the opposite of a Sex on the Beach, the antithesis of a Slippery Nipple? What kind of cocktail could summon the undead, or make your barstool suddenly seem like it's engulfed in shadowy figures and sinister intentions?
If you're going to talk about evocative cocktails, you've got to talk to Tony Conigliaro, the mastermind at London's Drink Factory, where martinis can taste like operas and a sip of rum can transform into a mouthful of Cuban cigar smoke.
It was with this expertise of libatory dimension in mind that we asked Conigliaro to scare our asses off with some weird and wicked gothic pours.
Start with the vampire-friendly Nosferatini, named, of course, for Nosferatu, one of the earliest horror films to horrify ladies and gentlemen in the silent cinema in 1922. Though it begins with a base like any other classic martini—gin, dry vermouth—the addition of red food coloring mixed with powdered iron and caster sugar transforms it into something decidedly more bloody. And trust us, the visual effect is nothing to scoff at… unless you want a pair of fangs in your neck.
Next up is a Silver Bullet, based on a cocktail from the Nosferatu era, actually. Though with this one, it's werewolves you'll have on the brain, not bloodsuckers. "Werewolves, beware: it tastes silvery," Conigliaro warns, and not just because of its combination of gin and Kummel Wolfschmidt liqueur. It's the colloidal silver actually mixed into the drink that'll do it.
RECIPE: Silver Bullet
Finally, for the boney maloneys and skeleton-sniffers out there, there's the more lithely named Bone Marrow Cocktail. As you might guess, this is not merely a name. But in all fairness, there isn't the actual stuff of bones in here either: It's faux. We combined gelatin with whisky, licorice, and porcini mushrooms, and put it in the fridge to develop a very marrow-like consistency before throwing it in some bones with whiskey.
RECIPE: Bone Marrow Cocktail
Have one of each, and then say goodnight. But don't say we didn't warn you that your dreams might not be so sweet.
WATCH: How to Make Gothic Cocktails with Tony Conigliaro