If you’re bracing for a bleak winter by lining up a box-set binge, then at least there’s a glut of options on the gogglebox right now. And as you settle on the sofa, the moment will be capped if you find the most appropriate drink to sip as you get square eyes. Here then, are some perfect pairs.
Succession, with Old Fashioned
Sky Atlantic/HBO’s Succession revels in a luxurious backdrop of deal-making private helicopter drops and tête-à-tête tension on over-sized yachts, along with impossibly expensive tailoring, timepieces and indeed discerning drinks.
From Connor Roy’s hyper decanted wine poured from a blender to Roman’s dirty martinis, or Greg and Tom’s bottle serve vodka in a nightclub, luxury liquids reinforce the show’s indulgence.
But since it’s Logan Roy’s old-fashioned media mogul’s tactics will win the day, we suggest an Old Fashioned to go with his ruthless values. And what better American whiskey to use than Elijah Craig Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon (£45.45, Whisky Exchange). Elijah was an 18th century preacher-turned distiller and a winner. He was a pioneer in his own field and many feel he was the father of bourbon, courtesy of his influence on the charring of American oak barrels. Having retrieved his own barrels from a fire, he decided to use them for storing bourbon and discovered the charred interior bestowed a balance of smokiness and sweetness. It’s a technique still used today.
Ozark with Tapatio Tequila
The Netflix series will go live with a fourth series in January and will undoubtedly remain a fine advertisement for the slogan: ‘drugs are for mugs’. No spoilers for those keen to binge from season one, but the opening exploits deals with the trials and tribulations of Jason Bateman’s financial adviser as he become embroiled with Mexico’s Navarro Drug Cartel.
The prospect of a bloodthirsty cartel leader popping up at any moment makes for an unsettling drama, so calm nerves with one of Mexico’s more welcome exports – tequila. One of the best producers of 100% agave spirits today is Carlos Camarena who distils Tapatio, and his Excelencia Gran Reserva Extra Anejo is a remarkable spirit worth investing in. (£179, Whisky Exchange)
Squid Game with the Red Light Cocktail
If anyone needs a drink it’s the 456 contestants in Netflix’s Squid Game. If you’ve not succumbed yet, fair enough – not many of us need this level of fictional violence and misery in our lives. Reruns of Cheers are much more cheerful, and would frankly provide more content here.
Even so, you’ll only need to watch the trailer to witness the massive redlight green light doll, a feature of the game where ‘contestants’ are seen creeping forwards on a green light, then stopping on a red, only to be gunned down if they’re caught moving by the doll. Lovely stuff.
So opt for a Red Light cocktail, which will remind you that staying still is nice, warm and safe, but also includes Underberg, which will leave you with a very bitter taste.
The Red Light cocktail
45ml ounces Grand Marnier
Combine all ingredients in a mixing Stir all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled coupe.
American Crime Story with a Martini (or three)
The latest incarnation of this minis series takes on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, and nothing light can be made of that. But please also consider another unforgivable acts of this presidency, his Budget Enforcement and Deficit Reduction Act of 1993. While celebrated for an estimated $15.3bn in savings to the government over five years, with an exceptional 4% economic growth, one side effect of the bill was that it drastically cut the tax break on a business-related meal by a whopping 50 percent. In doing this, Clinton essentially extinguished the iconic ‘working’ Three Martini Lunch.
Show your contempt for Clinton by enjoying a martini with the show, perhaps opt for one instead of three, and use a classic gin, stirred, with a modest dash of vermouth and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.
5 parts London Dry gin
1 part dry vermouth
Stir on ice and strain into the glass, garnish with lemon rind or olive
All Creatures Great & Small with Rhubarb Gin
Who doesn’t like a touch of twee England? No one, no one doesn’t like it, especially the Americans who, like a dehydrated cat in need of veterinary care, are lapping up the Channel Five interpretation of James Herriot’s autobiographical novel, All Creatures Great and Small. And what better drink to sip on while you’re at it than Warner’s Gin?
Warner’s Creator Tom Warner has done his fair share of dairy farming but after helping drive forward the craft gin movement, converted ten acres of land to cultivate botanicals for his gin. He’s based in Northamptonshire but his Warner’s Rhubarb (£38, Warner’s Distillery Shop) contains a third of freshly pressed juice, and since the spiritual home of rhubarb is Yorkshire, we think this synergy of farmer and gin flavour is too convenient to pass up.
Foundation with Blue Lagoon
While ambitious, it seems David S. Goyer’s attempt to adapt Isaac Asimov’s Foundation has earned enough credit to almost justify the rather sizeable investment from Apple TV+. Certainly the extraordinary scale of the show suggests TV Sci Fi has come a long way since Star Trek. Interestingly Asimov was a friend Of Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry and even consulted on the show. It’s unlikely he was behind the creation of Romulan Ale though, the blue drink Captain T Kirk and many other captains of the Star Ship Enterprise have stomached while engaged in alien negotiations.
There have been no blue drinks in Foundation as yet, but it won’t be long, just you watch, because they remain a crucial prop to signal a show is navigating future outerspace. So for Foundation, try the Blue Lagoon, which looks a little like Romulan Ale, but tastes a lot better, and indeed, beats Klingon Blood Wine.
25ml blue curaçao
Fill a hurricane glass or collins glass with ice. Shake vodka and curaçao on ice, strain over into the glass, top with Sprite and garnish with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry.