The Scream

1.5 ounces scotch
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 ounce sweet vermouth
3 ounces hard cider (dry or sweet, it's up to you!)

Before heading out to the Twin Cities Horror Festival, you need something bracing. A little liquid courage, right? I know I do. Going out. Where the people are. And their faces. I need something.

Okay, let's start with scotch. I know it's unusual to put scotch in a cocktail, but don't be SCARED! Ha ha. We're going for that sitting-around-the-campfire, telling-ghost-stories feel, so pick a nice, not-too-expensive scotch with a little smokiness to it. This is fun, right? We're already starting to forget about the sound the blood makes in our head.

Pour the scotch into a shaker with ice, the lemon juice, and vermouth. I thought of using grenadine rather than vermouth - I wanted something nice and red, like BLOOD! Ha ha. But most commercially available grenadine is just red sugar water. I've started making my own grenadine from pomegranate juice, sugar and a pomegranate liqueur. It's nice, but that's asking a lot of you.

Do you smell that? Me, too.

It's probably okay.

So sweet vermouth it is. Give everything a real good shake. Don't be gentle. Really wrap your hands around that thing and shake. Like you have to do to the neck of that goat man who comes to us in dreams. LOL!

Strain your GHOULISH DELIGHT mixture into a nice glass and top up with chilled cider. I chose cider to evoke autumnal memories of bobbing for apples. The cheerful sight of gleaming apples in a big tub. The laughter of children. The shock of plunging through the spittle-flecked surface. The darkness. Your too-warm ears, filled, emptied, filled, emptied. You remind yourself that those are apples thumping against your skull. Not toads. Oh God! My jaw. Why are there flashes of light? YOU WILL NEVER GET AN APPLE THIS WAY. Air! I need air!

This is going great!

Feel free to pour your cocktail into a THERMOS BOTTLE and take it with you to TCHF. Or not. There might be rules about that. And the recipe easily doubles so you can share it with a "friend." Ha ha. I laugh because, of course, "friendship" is one of those funny little lies we tell ourselves to keep away the truth because the truth would be too terrible.

See you at the theater!