Monthly Archives: October 2014

Drink of the Week: Tiki-la Zombie

Both tiki drinks and zombies have been, um, on the brain lately. Tiki cocktails because I’m writing about their resurgence in my Calgary Herald column next week; zombies because season 5 of The Walking Dead just started (also, zombies have taken over our neighbourhood in the run up to Oct. 31). So, today being Halloween and all, I thought I would combine the two forces. Behold: a tiki zombie cocktail made with tequila (not rum). Hence the name.

Drink this Halloween cocktail too fast and you might get a brain freeze.

Drink this Halloween cocktail too fast and you might get a brain freeze.

Really, this drink is just a glorified tequila sunrise (it’s actually tastier than that, with bonus lime and mint, and agave syrup instead of grenadine). I chose it because it came up as a “Day of the Dead” cocktail in a Google search and it’s the right colour (orange). Oddly, it didn’t have a name, but when I put it in the awesome $1.50 Dollarama skeleton mug and added the garnish, it took on the appearance of a tequila tiki drink. So, Tiki-la Zombie.

Wanted: a mini umbrella and a swirly straw.

Wanted: a mini umbrella and a swirly straw.

Tiki-la Zombie

  • 2 oz Cazadores tequila
  • 2 oz blood orange juice
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 1/2 oz agave syrup
  • 8 mint leaves

Method: Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, shake with ice and then strain into a skeleton mug. Garnish with a mint sprig atop an orange wheel.

Beware of toxic creature!

Back when I was writing about homestyle and interior design for the Calgary Herald, I never dreamed I would one day turn into the kind of person who buys a throwaway “Beware of Toxic Creature” sign from Dollarama. Motherhood has led me down the road of chintzy holiday decorating; more specifically, pleas from my daughter swayed me to succumb.

Avery also bought a toxic creature to accompany the sign. It's on her head.

Avery also bought a toxic creature to accompany the sign. It’s on her head.

Avery: “Mommy, can we go to the dollar store this weekend to buy Halloween decorations? Please?”

Me: Protracted, awkward silence.

Avery: “I’ll spend my own money.”

Me: Sigh. “Oh, alright…”

It’s not that I’m a Halloweenie, I just don’t see the point of hanging up a bunch of cheap caution tape, fake spider webs and sock ghosts that are just going to blow away and get wrecked. Yes, it brings the children joy to admire these trinkets and those of the neighbours, but here’s an idea: What if we just carve pumpkins! Isn’t that enough? Do we really have to invest in a life-size coffin and skeleton to get into the spirit of the holiday?

Stumbled across this gem    on an evening walk.

Stumbled across this gem on an evening walk.

This over-the-top love affair with Halloween kitsch is new, and it’s but one way the holiday has changed since I was a kid. Now, everywhere you go you see faux skeletons bursting out of graves, animatronic witches stirring pots, and creepy zombie girls holding a brain to their mouth while they sing Ring  Around the Rosie. In my neighbourhood, it’s a thing, and it gains momentum every year. All of the above frights are stationed outside of homes within a one-block radius. It kind of puts our dollar store display to shame.

Behold: Zombie girl!

Behold: Zombie girl!

It’s also, I don’t know, terrifying if you’re a little kid just trying to get some candy. When Avery was two she ran home crying from the house at the end of our block after the motion-activated skeleton came to life when she got into range of the front door.

Bursting out of a grave near us.

Bursting out of a grave near us.

One of the nearby homes that goes all-out is owned by a bachelor who doesn’t even have kids! His yard has morphed into a cemetery, and it’s watched over by a table peopled with Halloween horror hall-of-famers including Freddy Krueger,  Jason and Ghostface from the Scream movies. It’s a miracle Avery and especially Bennett will even walk by on Halloween night. (Storing this crap for the other 51 weeks of the year would be the other miracle.)

Jason, Scream mask guy and Freddy Kreuger hold court at The Zang, a neighbourhood home that goes all-out for Halloween.

Jason, Scream mask guy and Freddy Kreuger hold court at The Zang, a neighbourhood home that goes all-out for Halloween.

When I was young, I’m pretty sure homes weren’t decked out with tombstones and tarantulas. There were carved pumpkins. So what’s changed? Mainly, Halloween has become a big commercial holiday — spending is expected to reach $7.4-billion this year, and I’m pretty sure it’s not all being dropped on candy and costumes (actually, $350-million will be spent on pet costumes, but I think I’ll save that topic for another post).

In the meantime, I’ll cringe inwardly at the tacky scene our front porch has become, but outwardly, I’ll smile every time Avery runs outside to adjust a spider web and ghost. I’m also content in the knowledge Avery only spent $7 at Dollarama (as opposed to $160 on the Rosemary Zombie Girl). True, she’ll have to buy some replacement props next year, but I’m okay with that.

Drink of the Week: French 68

Bar C in Calgary makes great cocktails and this week they’re shaking them for charity. Since Tuesday, the 17th Avenue eatery and cocktail lounge has been donating the proceeds from sales of a daily featured cocktail to a local charity chosen by the customer from six options: Making Changes, The Mustard Seed, Inn from the Cold, Calgary Humane Society, CUPS, and Big Brothers & Big Sisters Calgary.

Why the generous heart? It’s Bar C’s second anniversary and the restaurant wants to thank Calgarians for their patronage while at the same time giving back to the community. Cocktails for Charity is the result.

Today’s featured cocktail is a French 68, a bubbly sip rendered delicious by the mingling of sweet blood orange syrup with bitter Campari and savoury Hendricks Gin. Three dashes of lavender bitters finish the drink with a floral flourish. Enjoy, and remember to savour this one as you toast the weekend and — if you’re imbibing at Bar C — the charity of your choice.

Today's featured drink during Cocktails for Charity week at Bar C is the bubbly French 68.

Today’s Cocktails for Charity featured drink at Bar C is the bubbly French 68.

French 68

  • 100 mL prosecco
  • 1 oz blood orange syrup*
  • 1/2 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Hendricks Gin
  • 3 dashes Scrappy’s lavender bitters

Method: Chill martini glass. Pour syrup, Campari, and Hendricks gin into shaker over ice. Shake and strain into glass. Top with prosecco. Finish with Scrappy’s bitters. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Blood Orange Syrup

  • 1/3 L of blood orange purée
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 8 sprigs rosemary

Method: Remove rosemary leaves from stalk and chop finely. Bring sugar and water to a boil. Add rosemary. Simmer until sugar well dissolved. Remove from heat and add blood orange purée.

— Recipes courtesy Bar C