Cocktail Recipe: The Merlotte's Neckbiter

This Sunday marks the Season Three finale of the smash HBO hit True Blood. Several people are hosting parties, and I've even heard rumors of bar screenings. Whether you'll be at home watching alone in the dark or sharing this occasion with friends, it is imperative to set the right tone.

As far as food, I'm torn between making a big pot of gumbo or just stopping by the deliciously authentic Calliope's Po-boy (2130 Jefferson St) to pick an X-Large Shrimp po-boy to go. Regardless, I know what I'll be drinking: Tru Blood cocktails.

I ordered a case ($16 for four 14 ounce bottles) from www.hbo.com before the season premiere and asked my bartender friends to come up with something good to do with the sweet Blood Orange soda. Within minutes, I was handed a concoction so deliciously sweet, minty and fresh that I knew I would have to share it. I saved a bottle for the finale, but if you don't have any, feel free to substitute any blood orange soda. Jones makes a good one with pure cane sugar and plenty of bubbles. Get some and mix up a big pitcher of these insanely good drinks, so that you won't have to pause the show when your friends (or you) start craving more blood, I mean, booze. It may not help anyone settle the Bill-versus-Eric rivalry, but you'll at least have more fun watching your favorite characters meet the True Death.

Merlotte's Neckbiter

  • 5 mint leaves
  • 1½ ounces vanilla rum
  • 4 ounces Tru Blood (or substitute any blood orange soda)
  • ½ ounce grenadine

Muddle the mint with the vanilla rum in a shaker tin. Add ice, shake to chill. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Top with Tru Blood. Drizzle in grenadine.

If making a pitcher, simply slap the mint leaves (to release the essential oils) and allow the mint to infuse the rum for about half an hour (instead of muddling) before straining and adding in the remaining ingredients. Serve chilled.

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