Diá de los Muertos, or The Day of The Dead, is a Mexican holiday that dates back hundreds of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Queen of Mictlan, the Underworld in Aztec mythology). It is a holiday celebrated throughout the world that remembers friends and family members who have died with prayer, favorite foods of the dearly departed and gatherings in homes, churches and cemeteries. The festivities start on October 31st and continue through November 2nd.
Alters (ofrendas) are erected, foods are shared and colorful sugar skulls and skeletons join the party from the beyond. Generally November 1st is dedicated to children and infants who have died (Día de los Inocentes, "Day of the Innocents" or Día de los Angelitos, "Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 is reserved for the adults (Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos, "Day of the Dead").
The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds (the flowers of the dead), muertos (the bread of the dead), sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, decorations, fruit and nuts, incense, fireworks, and the sharing of gifts, favorite foods and drinks of those who have passed on with both the living and the dead.
To celebrate my loved ones from beyond I have created this lively and delicious craft cocktail:
Day of the Dead Cocktail
1-1/2 Oz. Tequila
3 Oz. Pineapple Juice
1-3/4 Oz. Orange Juice
1 Oz. Lime Juice
1 Oz. Triple Sec
Dash of Chipotle Sauce
Splash of Grenadine
Garnish: Orange Slices, Black and White Sprinkles, Day of the Dead Gummy Skulls
Dip your glass rim into Pineapple juice, then into the sprinkles. Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a fun skull glass with ice then add the tequila, triple sec, juices and chipotle sauce and stir well. Pour in the grenadine which will sink to the bottom. Add your gummy skulls and orange slices to a cocktail pick and set this across the rim. Enjoy as you celebrate your dear departed.
One of the scariest movies I saw as a little kid was "The Mummy" starring Boris Karloff. One of the most fun movie series I've seen as an adult is "The Mummy -The Mummy Returns" starring Brendan Fraser. I like mummies! Don't ask me why, I suppose I have mummy issues.
When I happened on some adorable gummy candies in the shape of a mummy I knew I had to do a cocktail using that as the garnish. I have my cute black and white hand painted martini glasses that I made a few years ago and decided a black martini was required.
That meant sacrificing my very last bottle of Blavod* Vodka. But then I had hoarded two cases for years** just for Halloween cocktails so what was I silently kvetching about? I pulled the last bottle of my beloved black spirit from the box and cracked it open. I swear a cold wind passed through my body and a sigh whispered past my ear as that bottle opened . . . or maybe the gummy mummies were coming back to life. But I digress.
The recipe also had to be fruit based because the gummy candies are fruity and I always repeat the flavors of my cocktails in their garnish. I didn't want to desaturate the black color so I pulled out my Chambord and Blue Curacao. These not only added a deep purple depth to the black but they brought citrus and black raspberry flavors to play! A bit later I grabbed my Homemade Blueberry Simple Syrup to add a bit more fruit and some extra body and sweetness to the cocktail then squeezed a bit of lime in for a dash more acidity.
A few tears over lost vodka, a few cocktails to get the balance right, a few more shakes of my trusty Boston and The Mummy Returns:
REVENGE OF THE MUMMYTINI
2 Oz. Blavod Black Vodka
(Yes, you can color plain vodka if needs be)
1/2 Oz. Blue Curacao
1/2 Oz. Chambord
1 Tbsp. Blueberry Syrup
1 Tsp. Fresh Lime Juice
Chill glass in the freezer. Add your Blavod Vodka, Blue Curacao, Chambord, the blueberry simple syrup and the lime juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Pour, rub the rim with a bit of lime zest, garnish the drink with the gummy mummy and enjoy by the light of a Halloween moon.
Have no fear of creatures that go bump in the night, your mummy will protect you.
Blavod is a premium vodka distilled in the UK which uses the herb Black Catechu to achieve their black colored vodka. The company's media states this herb is used because it doesn't add flavor and it fosters a smoother taste (less burn) from the herb's tannins. The herb itself, particularly the deep black variety, has a slightly sweet acerbic taste and, though I've tried, I have never been able to detect the taste in the straight vodka, let alone in a cocktail. The color is truly a deep black and it is a superior vodka, suitable for sipping unadorned, especially when ice cold from the freezer!
Currently there is a disruption in the importation of Blavod to the United States, but company representatives say that we will see it on shelves again in 2015. I sincerely hope so because creating this cocktail used up the very last bottle I had in reserve! I suppose I could color vodka with powdered food coloring, but it's really much cooler to pull out that sexy black bottle when entertaining! Plus you don't get those chemicals that saturate most food coloring products.
**I will often lay in a good supply of favorite spirits just in case some fool in Beancounterville decides to pull a product I love just because it doesn't make them profits!