Wednesday, 21 August 2013

True Blood Cocktail Special: Lumière Sparklers & Redhead Refreshers

We're all of us pretty geeky around here, and so we love a good novelty product when we find one. We've already covered Game of Thrones goblets, and Doctor Who ice cube trays, but the guys at True Blood HQ have taken this blending of geeks and eats to a whole new level.

True Blood: Drinks and Bites is a recipe book released last month featuring food and drink ideas based on this steamy vampire US show with a huge cult following. The recipes also have a distinctly Southern feel to them as a nod to the show's Louisiana setting.

The book's range of cocktails is impressive, with a selection of hardcore booze-filled treats (with names like True Death, Faerie Blood, and Stake House Special) as well as a nice section for lighter and non-alcoholic ideas.

This week we're bringing you not one but two cocktails, both of which are actually more like mocktails (but not quite, in the first instance!) - we think it's important to feature some less liver-bashing alternatives for those of us that don't always want to hit the bottle - and the True Blood guys at HBO have very kindly allowed us to recreate a couple of the recipes.

To get your hands on these and all the other amazing recipes, pick up a copy of True Blood: Drinks and Bites for £9.59 at the The Book People.

Lumière Sparklers recipe (serves 6)


  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6-8 slices peeled fresh ginger, 1 inch thick, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 6 small sprigs of rosemary, for garnish
  • 6 tbsp chilled unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 1 750ml bottle chilled sparkling apple cider

Shake it!

1. In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, and ginger to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally
to help the sugar dissolve. Add the chopped rosemary and swirl the pan. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the flavors infuse for 30 minutes.

2. Pour the infused sugar syrup through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes. Throw out the stuff in the strainer.

3. When you’re ready to serve, measure a scant 1 tablespoon of sugar syrup into each of six chilled champagne flutes or cocktail glasses, followed by 1 tablespoon of pomegranate juice. Pour ½ cup of sparkling cider into each glass. 

4. Drop a rosemary sprig into each drink and serve right away.

* The 'cup' measures are American. If you're unfamiliar with these, just make sure you use equal parts sugar and water - 1/3 cup of sugar is about 75g, so pour that into a jug, make a note of how far up the jug it reaches (e.g up to the 100ml line), and then use the identical amount of water.
For any other cup measurements, see this handy guide to cup conversions or buy what I call my lifesavers: a cup measuring set, £10 from House of Fraser.

Redhead Refresher recipe (serves 6-8)


  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn, plus some mint sprigs for garnish
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tbsp for later
  • Ice cubes

Shake it!

1. In a small saucepan, bring three cups of water to the boil over a high heat.
2. Add the hibiscus and mint leaves, and then shut off the heat. Give the mixture a stir, cover the pan, and set a timer for 20 minutes.
3. When the timer goes off, pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (or sieve) into a heat-proof pitcher. Dump out all the scary-looking junk in the strainer.
4. Add the sugar to the pitcher and stir until it dissolves. Pour in three cups of cold water to bring down the temperature, cover the pitcher, and refrigerate until nice and chilled (at least an hour.)
5. Fill each glass with ice, then pour over the refresher. Garnish each glass with a mint sprig and serve.

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