This spooky, Halloween-y cocktail is a riff off the classic Boulevardier, made with Whiskey or Bourbon, Compari, and Sweet Red Vermouth. I’ve swapped the Vermouth with a Beet Red Shrub mix. You’ll find this cocktail to be slightly bitter from the Compari, woody from the Whiskey, and earthy from the beet shrub. It’s hauntingly good. Note: this recipe is an easy 2:1 ratio, so scale as needed. See notes below for recipe alterations.
- Green Olives stuffed with red pepper
- Drinking water
- 1 1/2 oz. Sugar Bush Whiskey
- 3/4 oz. Compari
- 3/4 oz. Beet Shrub Mix
- 3 drops of Angostura Bitters (optional)
At least 8 hours before serving, make the eyeballs using a cylindrical ice mold. Place a toothpick in the asterisk* of the olive, and place the red pepper side down. Repeat. Cover, carefully wiggling the toothpicks through the holes of the mold. Fill with water and freeze until solid for at least 8 hours. Once frozen, peel away the mold and break off the remainder of the tooth pick. Note: good flavored ice starts with the best water. Use the water that you drink.
Make the Boo-levardier. Mix together all of the drink ingredients. Stir to emulsify. Pour and serve. Dilute with a splash of sparkling water, if desired. Add an eyeball or two per glass. Garnish with a slice of beet, if desired.
Let’s break these flavors down a bit more so you can understand how to customize your drink. Feel free to swap out different varieties of Whiskey or Bourbon here, one you’d enjoy to sip on on its own. Now, Compari is Compari. It’s bitter. My first Compari drink was off putting. So much so, I didn’t finish it. Since, I’ve developed a palate for it and I love it, when well balanced. If you’re new to this bitter, scale back to 1/2 oz. and skip the extra bitters altogether. Speaking of bitters, my friend Erik gave me one of his homemade bitter kits, Easy and Company, and I made my own. It’s a great present, but needs a little time, like 4 weeks. So start your present-making now. Finally, those olive, eyeball ice rounds add a delicious salty note to this drink. It’s nearly unnoticeable, but highly noticeable without. If skipping the spooky cubes, add a tiny spoon of olive juice into the mix. Either way, don’t skip adding ice. The larger the cube the better and the slower the melt. Dig back into the math lesson on surface area here. Smaller cubes have a higher surface area ratio and will melt faster, diluting your drink.