Happy Hour of Horrors: Corpse Reviver

The next time you’re trying to think of something clever and creative to order at the bar, put down the Merlot and order up one of these. The Corpse Reviver gets its name from the shock it will have on your system within a few minutes of downing it. (I recommend you down it).

Serve: Straight up, without ice

Use 3/4 an ounce (that’s like, a jigger or so, right?) of each of these: brandy, apple brandy, gin, sweet vermouth, Cointreau, lemon juice and Lillet

Add a dash of absinthe

Shake together in a mixer with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Check your surroundings.

Drink.

 

Ring in the New Year with Murderous Bells: A Very Happy Hour of Horrors

the bells that committed murderThe usual gaiety of chiming bells ringing in the New Year might sound a little more sinister once you get through this short little eBook, selected by me from a collection of fairy and folklore by Welsh “Grimm” William Wirt Sikes.

Don’t walk into that churchyard or a schoolhouse without a hard-hat! There are more than just the usual hazards of daily life in rural Wales that could bring you harm. There are murderous bells afoot!

Bells on B&N 

Bells on Sony

Bells on Amazon  

You can grab your little e-reading device and buy the book, it’s less than $3, and then mix up a nice Champagne Cocktail. You’ll want to have a few before serving them to guests–to be sure they are as delicious as they sound, so you might as well test run them tonight!

If you want a nice list of other champagne and sparkling wine cocktails, check out Martha Stewart’s List HERE for amazing ideas like Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail and Lemon Drop Champagne Punch.

Bells on B&N 

Bells on Sony

Bells on Amazon  

This is Martha’s recipe, and I like it just the way it is, although I prefer just one or two drops of the bitters.

Ingredients

  • 3 drops bitters
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 4 ounces chilled Champagne

Directions

  1. Drop bitters onto sugar cube; let soak in. Place sugar cube in a Champagne flute. Add Cognac, and top with Champagne.

Happy New Year! May it be merry, bright, and safe. And be careful where you walk, for the bells of towers may be chiming your own demise.

Taming the White Rabbit~A 99 Cent Happy Hour of Horrors

TAMING THE POOKAPooka, phooka, puka. No matter how you spell it the shape shifting beastie, most commonly appearing in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, often takes the form of a black horse or a white rabbit. Even Lewis Carroll’s white rabbit was a pooka of sorts. They trick you, they lead you in the wrong direction, you are the only one who sees them and your driven to think you’re crazy. Most accounts are dismissed as the ramblings of a drunkard (Harvey) and while actually relatively harmless, there are pookas that appear to scare the living daylights out of you. YOu may be taken on a fearsome midnight ride. You may be lead on a dark-of-the-night ghost chase through a graveyard. They are really pretty unpredictable.

So to honor this beloved creature of the night, I’ve put together a collection of pooka stories form folklore, available only in digital form and priced at the low, low rate of a mere 99 cents. Includes a T. Crofton Croker story and  tales from William Butler Yeats. So grab your digital reading machine, download Taming the Pooka, and mix yourself up a stiff drink. The more you drink, the more you will believe.

Taming the Pooka on Amazon

Taming the Pooka on B&N

Try this recipe for a White Rabbit, adapted from Drinksmixer.com

3-4 oz vodka

1 oz milk

2 oz vanilla liquer

Now, if you use something like Vanilla vodka (Stoli makes one) you can omit the vanilla liqueur. I like to add a little whipped cream to the top, for fun. This version of a White Rabbit is a bit more like a White Russian, really but with vanilla. You can also make a version that involves brandy, baileys, vodka, and Kahlua. But who has all of those on hand? Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, over ice, and shake.

Serve this drink  in a coffee cup. Why? So that when no one believes your story of the pooka you saw, you can claim you were just sipping tea.

Happy Happy Hour!

Vampires for All Tastes~A Very Bloody Happy Hour of Horrors

Some of my favorite people, lovers of horror and freaks extraordinaire, are down on vampires lately. They are anti-Twilight-saga, over Anne Rice, tired of trends. But I say “BAH!” Vampires are IMMORTAL and therefore IMMORTALLY popular.  Take, for instance, the glorious vampires  of movie fame, including Bela Lugosi, those beloved Lost Boys, and that creepy little girl from Let the Right One In. And vampire stories have been churned out for centuries including Polidori’s The Vampyre and Viereck’s The House of the Vampire, not to mention the searingly sexy and somewhat taboo story Clarimonde.  And we all know and love Bram Stoker!

You can get my vampire collection, available as digital bookiewooks for your devices, for the low, low price of $1.99-2.99, including haunting cover photos and intros by this vampophile. And for your convenience I’ve sorted them by vampire-loving topics, in case you aren’t sure. You probably would like them all, of course.

So check the mirror for your reflection, dim the lights, drape yourself in some velveteen and grab the ingredients for a Bloody Mary to celebrate a rainy wintery weekend with vamps, Varla, and vodka!

The Vampyre: A Tale by Varla Ventura and John William Polidori. Best for traditionalists, fans of Frankenstein and Lord Byron, historians.

Amazon

B&N

Dracula’s Guest by Varla Ventura and Bram Stoker Best for classic vampires.

Amazon

B&N

B&N

Clarimonde by Varla Ventura and Théophile Gautier Best for necrophiliacs, priests, sexy vampires.

Amazon

The House of the Vampire by Varla Ventura and George Sylvester Viereck Best for psychic vampires.

Amazon

B&N

Here’s a fun adaptation of a Bloody Mary, which is veg friendly, for all you blood thirsty vegans out there.  What I think is key here is the lime instead of lemon, a dash of Sriracha  and the spicy garnish. I tweaked this recipe from Food.com:

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces tomato juice, but V-8 is best because it has extra salt and is yummier
  • 2 limes (most people put lemon juice but I just think lime is better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (get the Vegetarian kind so even your socially conscious drinking pals can enjoy! You can also make a Vegetarian version yourself, following this Martha Stewart recipe)
  • 3 drops Tabasco sauce AND a dash of Sriracha.
  • pepper, fresh ground
  • salt, chunky sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish (optional–and frankly I think the Sriracha gives it all the kick it needs!)
  • Garnish: I like a pickled Serrano peppers, or pepperoncinis, or pickled green beans AND a couple of olives. It’s nice to get some kind of swizzle stick to stab these things on–like a Bat swizzle stick.

Directions:

  1. Rub lemon or lime around rim of glass and then put the rim in salt.
  2. Add ice to glass.
  3. Mix Vodka, tomato juice, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, Sriracha,  salt, pepper, and horseradish (if using) and pour in glass.
  4. Garnish as mentioned above.
  5. DRINK it fast and make another.

The Screaming Banshee~A Just-in-Time Cocktail for Thanksgiving’s Happy Hour of Horrors

My Happy Hour of Horrors are usually late Friday themes but since this week is a madhouse of gluttony, joy, and frenzied family freakery, I’ll let you have a drink right now. (I always say drink early and often). But seriously, you know that over dramatic little sister that “can’t quite handle” the family gatherings and bursts into tears after a few too many? Right when you realize you’ve not had quite enough? Well, she’s probably more related to the banshee of folklore than to you, but you can’t very well prove that right?

So now, for the low-low price of just $2.99 grab your little nerdy device and buy one (or both!) of these banshee books, then rush out and get all the ingredients you’ll need for The Screaming Banshee. And when you are feeling very full and someone starts to discuss politics or religion in the post-turkey consuming haze, tuck yourself away in a corner, maybe with your coolest cousin, and drink up and read up to your heart’s content. I guarantee you the creatures in these books will make you feel a little better about those relatives you think are the worst. Your heart will grow two sizes, after being scared out of your wits.

The Malevolent Banshee by Varla Ventura and Elliot O’Donnell Amazon or B&N

Alleged Counterparts of the Banshee by Varla Ventura and Elliot O’Donnell (Currently available only on Amazon)

The Screaming Banshee

(I got this one from Good Cocktails, but as usual adapted it slightly)

Screaming Banshee Drink

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Banana Liqueur (seems a little gross but just try it!)
  • 1/2 oz. Crème de Cacao (White)
  • 1/2 oz. Cream / Half & Half/I like to use whipped cream straight from the can. And it’s nice on the drink too.

Instructions

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. So easy!!!
It’s okay to put this in a plastic pint glass so everyone thinks you’re drinking soda. No garnish necessary, but you will need some alone time. Goes great with chocolate cream pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Gnome Roast: A Huffington Post Exclusive~!

Check out my latest post on gnome roasting and other unruly or unwanted Thanksgiving alternatives here:

Varla on Huff Po

Because greedy relatives and drunken sisters are just half the fun of it all!

And get ready for this week’s Happy Hour of Horrors, coming early in time for Thanksgiving. I’ll post it Wednesday, so you have time to go buy the ingredients.

 

Sex on the Beach with Mermaids~A Happy Hour of Horrors

As the cold of November settles upon most of us, sinking into the bones and sharpening our breath, even the most heavy-caped of us might find ourselves–even for just a moment–wanting the feel of sand beneath our toes and the lapping of warm waters against our flesh. So how can we achieve these sensations, even with a few inches of snow on the ground? It’s not as (ahem) hard as you may think. Just grab yourself a copy of one of my Magical Creatures eBooks on the topic of mermaids, mix yourself up a potent Sex on the Beach, crank up your heater (and maybe your humidifier) and get wild!

Available now for under $3 you can read these on your Kindle, Nook, iPad or whatever digital creation you’ve managed to procure. Just make sure you read them before you’ve had too many cocktails, as they don’t recover from sticky spills like hardcover books!

The Mermaid of Druid Lake by Varla Ventura and Charles Weathers Bump

Amazon

B&N

Among the Mermaids by Varla Ventura, T. Crofton Croker and William Butler Yeats

Amazon

B&N 

The Mermaid’s Prophecy and Other Stories by Varla Ventura

Amazon

B&N

And once you’ve had your night of wild fun, don’t forget to read my post on my forthcoming, full-length book (pre-order here) coming this next year. I’m still accepting submissions about your mermaid encounters. I know you’ve had them. Or if you’ve got some other sea-creature or water-beast hiding in your bathtub, I want to know! If you know pirates, scuba-divers, or oceanographers, please share the call for entries with them.

Sex on the Beach

I got this basic recipe from DrinkNation but I’ve made some notes on variation to really Horror-fy it.

  • 2/3 oz. Schnapps, peach (you can add peach juice if you’d rather, but the Schnapps give it an extra kick, thus insuring you’ll get drunker. I like to use a few frozen peaches as well, but the drink can get muddled–much like your mind when you’ve had a few!)
  • 1 1/3 oz. Vodka
  • 1 1/3 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 1 1/3 oz. Orange Juice
  • Sometimes I add a splash of coconut rum here, if I have any leftover from my most recent romp with the pirates. Instead of juice you can use a syrup like Torani, and you can even sub raspberry for cranberry.

Mixing Instructions

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice.

I like to add a mermaid swizzle stick or at minimum a mini-paper parasol. You can also serve this in a martini glass but once you’ve had your third one you might want to switch to the highball. It doesn’t spill as easy!

Trust me, drink enough of these and you’ll remember a mermaid encounter or two…

The 99 Cent House and the Brain~A Happy Hour of Horrors

Oh you lovers of horror fiction, you members of the Dark and Stormy Night Brigade! You can now get Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s incredibly odd and deliciously occult story The House and the Brain, with an introduction by me,  for a mere ninety-nine cents for your Kindle! Also  available NOW as an e-book for any device of your choosing.

Famous for having written the opening line “It was a dark and stormy night” Lytton was a prolific novelist and occult scholar who was also responsible for the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword.”In The House and the Brain (1859), Lytton—who worked on such diverse projects as operas, poems, plays, historical fiction, science fiction, and romance—demonstrates his deep understanding of the occult as well as his love of suspense.

You can also check out occult superstar Lon Milo DuQuette’s digital book collection, The Magical Antiquarian Curiosity Shoppe, and his Edward Bulwer-Lytton favorite Zanoni. You can go now and get book three of Zanoni for free! And the rest are nearly free…Just click the link below.

So grab your little nookie book or iPadium or whatever it is you use to read non-paper things, click the links below, and mix yourself up Dark and Stormy cocktail so you can  settle in for a proper Happy Hour of Horrors.

Zanoni

(Amazon) (B&N)

The House and the Brain

(Amazon) (B&N)

Dark and Stormy (taken from Esquire. This recipe is the best!)

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 3 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

Glass Type: Collins glass

Instructions

Combine the rum,* the ginger beer,** and the lime juice, which is optional, in a tall glass full of ice cubes. Stir. The key here is nailing the precise ratio between the spice of the ginger beer and the richness of the rum. Depending on brands of each used, you may want to play around with the proportions.

* Bermuda’s own Gosling’s Black Seal is of course the preferred brand, but anything dark and funky will work.

** If you can find Barritt’s, it’s from Bermuda. If not, anything will work as long as it’s ginger beer and not ginger ale.

PS: Varla’s Happy Hour of Horrors –Watch for future drink and ebook combos every Friday!