To tie in with True Blood’s final run of episodes HBO have released some great merchandise. One such item is the True Blood: Drinks & Bites cookbook. I got a copy of this last week and tried out a few of the recipes over the weekend.
Set in lavish hardback, True Blood: Drinks & Bites is written by Gianna Sobol, Alan Ball and Benjamin Hayes, all of whom have had some role in making True Blood. The recipes come from Dawn Yanagihara, a professional recipe developer along with the god-awful names, some of which are incredibly cringe worthy. The majority of the recipes are photographed by Alex Farnum, a food and lifestyle photographer.
Drinks & Bites is divided into three parts: ‘For Teetotalers’, ‘For Boozehounds’ and ‘Bites’. I tried recipes from all three segments.
Introduced by Jessica Hamby (and written in her voice), ‘For Teetotalers’ features non-alcoholic drinks, which for the most part use fruit juice as a substitute. I tried ‘Glamourade’, a mocktail of blackberries, lime, sparkling water and sugar. The recipe for this serves 7 or 8 people, but after 1 glass of this concoction you’ll have had enough. As nice as ‘Glamourade’ is, it’s incredibly sweet.
I also made ‘Blood of Lilith’, combining unsweetened berries, sugar, lemon and cranberry juice and chilled Orangina. This was more to my liking, and it was refreshing and particularly moreish despite being rather tart – it’s a good job this recipe serves 6 – 8 people, because you’ll be going back for seconds. However like most things, it’s individual preference really. Some things you’ll love, some you’ll loathe. That said there is plenty to choose from, so give them all a chance before you dismiss any.
Pam de Beuafort opens ‘For Boozehounds’. ‘Now, being a vampire,’ Pam declares in the overview, ‘I may not be able to enjoy the kind of pleasure a well-mixed cocktail brings, but I sure know how to give pleasure.’ It may not be laced with the profanities we’ve come to know and love Pam for, but it is unmistakeably her. These introductions, along with the facts, images and character quotes throughout the book, help to tie this to True Blood and make it an all-the-more unique affair. The recipes could realistically form the backbone of many cookbooks, but it’s this flair which makes it a necessary for any True Blood fan who likes to throw a party.
From this segment I tried ‘Sex Is a Bitch’, accompanied by a picture of the gorgeous Jason brooding sexily. It’s a cocktail of vodka (my favourite), Campari (I used bitter orange as a substitute and it worked just as great), vermouth, cranberry and grapefruit juice. The juice makes the drink slightly bitter but the alcohol in it really packs a punch.
Next came ‘Spirit Lifter’, combining southern comfort, whiskey, lemon juice, grenadine and coca-cola. Whiskey aside, this drink is perfect. I may try it with vodka the next time.
I also tried ‘Tequila Brujo’, which consisted of tequila, strawberries, grenadine, sugar, salt and pepper. This one burned, but it burned good – only drink this one if you want to get drunk.
There are other recipes from this segment I want to try: the cringe-worthily named ‘Maenad á Trois’, which contains ginger and Prosecco (possibly for a more refined affair); ‘V Shooters’ (because who doesn’t love a shot? Again, I may use vodka in this mix instead); and ‘Screaming Ginger’ (based purely upon the name alone).
‘Bites’, the final part, is introduced by Mama Maxine Fortenberry. The first recipe I tried was ‘Spiced Nuts’ which, you guessed it, were nice and spicy. They contained salt, cinnamon, chili powder, ground black pepper, allspice and tabasco sauce to create a burning taste (thankfully I had my ‘Sex Is a Bitch’ cocktail to wash them down with).
I also made the ‘Dead Red Cupcakes’, which contained cocoa powder, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Accompanying these was a red drizzle sauce, used to create a blood-effect. These cupcakes need to be tried to be believed. There’s lots to choose from in this section and I predict the ‘Terry B’s Mini-Burgers’ and ‘Stackhouse Ribs’ will go down a storm for meat-eaters.
Buy True Blood: Drinks & Bites and celebrate the final season in style. The cocktails and most of the bites can be made beforehand so they’ll be keep till Sunday evening when you’re sitting down to watch True Blood. But drink responsibly kids – you don’t want a fangover (yeah, I went there) come Monday morning.
The True Blood: Drinks & Bites cookbook is available now at the HBO store here.