*Alert! There may be some spoilers for “Stranger Things” in this post. You have been alerted.*
Assuming you’re anything like me, you binged on Netflix’s “Stranger Things” in two sittings, probably while sipping on a delicious cocktail or two. Everyone watches 4 hours of TV and drinks 3 cocktails a day, right?
While there is some debate amongst my friends about the quality of the storytelling (even though some are clearly wrong, the show is amazing) the visual aesthetic that “Stranger Things” accomplishes is undeniable. The settings, props, wardrobe, all the way down to the fonts are freaking fantastic.
I obviously had to make some cocktails inspired by this throwback show. In the first of this series of fancy as fuck stranger cocktails, I present to you The Upside Down, a blackberry cocktail. Be sure to check out the other cocktails inspired by “Stranger Things”, an Espresso Bourbon and Chocolate martini inspired by Mama Byers and the Ginger Maple Fizz inspired by 11.
The “Upside Down”,one of the more striking settings in the show, is a hellish landscape in some parallel (or upside down) dimension of our world, only expressed through the nightmares of a depressed maniac with an alien fetish.
From the haunting grayish blue tint to whatever the hell those floating specks are, everything about the “Upside Down” is unsettling. This blackberry cocktail is much more palatable than whatever they’re serving in that hell, but I did add a splash of Ouzo to give it a slightly “off” black licorice quality that helps invoke the sense of dread the characters feel. (If you’re not familiar with Ouzo, check out this post.)
I muddled whole blackberries so that the floating seed pods would like monster eggs, or whatever other freaky shit one can imagine exists in the upside down. The deep crimson color represents the blood the nightmare creature will suck out of you as it feeds on all of you.
So say a prayer for Barb and suck down this creepily delicious cocktail.
The Upside Down
If you lack a muddler and shaker, you can stir it in a glass, but I recommend getting a bartending toolkit. You can find them for pretty cheap online (Amazon link). (You can buy a fancier set, but I find a cheapie set works just fine when I’m mixing cocktails at home.)
9 oz (just over a cup) Vodka
3 oz Simple syrup
3 oz Lime juice
3 oz Ouzo
1/2 lb Blackberries
Water to taste
Put the blackberries in a pitcher and smash em up, add the rest of the ingredients and stir vigorously. To serve immediately add ice and stir again. If pre-batching for later, allow cocktail to chill in the fridge without ice and give it a stir before serving.
A skewered blackberry or two looks pretty fancy sitting on top of the crimson drink.
Add a yogurt covered blueberry to the skewer. It should crack slightly, evoking the haunting image of whatever the eerie floating particles in the Upside Down are (seriously though, what is that shit?)
Fancy As Fuck
Go outside and get yourself a stick to use as a skewer. Optimally it would be from haunted nightmare dimension, but that is entirely optional. Cleaning the stick off first is not optional (seriously, wash that stick, birds poop on trees.) Skewer your berries and then add a black licorice monster. I bought a bag of licorice Scottie Dogs (Amazon link) and cut their ears and tail off.
Suddenly what was once an adorable puppy is now pretty terrifying. The black licorice will complement the anise in the Ouzo. And for your friends who don’t black licorice, tell them that all candy tastes like black licorice when you’re in the Upside Down.
To properly set the mood, you should serve The Upside Down while listening to the sounds of a deer being devoured.
And since I’m fairly shameless, here are some affiliate links to other quality Amazon products!