The Thirteen Drinks of Halloween 2020 – Ten

There is something comforting about cemeteries. In spite of the spooky connotations in our literature and culture, I don’t know that I have ever felt fear in one. Sadness, nostalgia, loss, comfort, relief and even hope, but not fear. Well, that is not quite true. I have felt fear of the unknown, not wanting to leave the confines of the graveyard into a world without the person you just laid to rest. That is a different kind of fear though, and one I cannot help you with. There are many things we must face alone, but not yet. So, please join me as we stand and make the Haunted Graveyard.

I used them both already, but did you know that graveyards and cemeteries are technically not the same thing? It’s a subtle distinction, but graveyards are typically attached to a church or other house of worship and often limited to members of that faith. While cemeteries are pieces of land set aside for the burial of all in a community, well, all who can pay the fees associated. I’m going to continue to use them interchangeably, but recognize that I may be wrong, depending on where you are standing. Yes, I am being willfully ignorant in this particular case, but purely out of a desire to keep my creative options open. Oh, and stubbornness. One thing I will not compromise on, though, is the spelling of cemetery. There is no “A” in that word, never has been, never will be, no matter how many times it is misspelled on so many “cemetaries”.

Still I find them soothing, whether there is a church in the background or not. After all, they are a place of rest. My understanding of the spirit world would seem to make a burial ground one of the least likely spots for a decent haunting, if you assume that the buried have been laid to rest. I would think that most of your haints would be found outside the walls. Speaking of that, were you aware that whether it is a cemetery or a graveyard or a burial ground, it must have some sort of fence, wall or barrier surrounding it? It’s true. People are dying to get in. I’ll let myself out.

Grab your tins and pop in 3 ounces of whiskey, I went with Clyde Mays Alabama Style Whiskey, to take advantage of those apple overtones; 1 ounce of maple syrup, 2 orange slices, a fresh sprig of rosemary and 3-4 stabs of angostura bitters. Add ice and shake well to the beat of Camille Saint-Saëns “Danse Macabre“, ’tis the season, after all. This is another one of those Mandela Effect things. I always remembered this as the music for the black and white Disney “Skeleton Dance“. It is not, but perhaps it should have been. I prefer my false memories to reality, yet again. You are really going to want to shake this one hard to beat up those orange slices and release the oils from that rosemary. Double strain over a large artisanal ice cube in something suitably funereal. Garnish with some burnt rosemary sprigs and serve. For the record, I wish I had brought a better torch, so I could have really flamed up that rosemary, the lighter just didn’t cut it.

Well, that is just a maple old-fashioned, isn’t it. They tried to disguise it with a catchy name and by tossing in some whole orange bits and rosemary, but there is no fooling the tastebuds. Not to say there is anything wrong with this drink, it is lovely, the orange and rosemary help balance the sweetness of the maple syrup, but I don’t think we are far enough from the source to really call this one a new drink. I would honestly probably back the maple off a little bit or use a more interesting whiskey next time. This one is perfect for pouring out for your homies or if you are having folks over who really love Old-Fashioneds, but you want to give it a spooky name and you want the place to smell like burned rosemary, which you probably do, it is lovely.

I like to walk around cemeteries. To wonder as I wander about the lives memorialized there. Of late, I have taken to wandering the cemetery where my mortal coil will most likely wait out eternity once I have shuffled it off. There is a certain serenity in considering the end of the journey. Knowing that, if things work out, that this peaceful place will be visited by those who remember. That they will stand in the shade of that same magnolia, where I stood and thought about my place in the cosmic dance. Looking backward through the generations buried here and forward down the line of those yet to come, it makes you feel a part of something. A reminder that we are chapters in a larger story, make sure your part is a good one. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay spooky, my friends.