Heights Taco & Tamale Co. bar manager Emily Brown has created a spooky October cocktail menu inspired by R.L. Stine’s ’90s children’s horror fiction series, “Goosebumps.” The menu debuted yesterday at Heights Taco & Tamale Co. We caught up with Brown after the lunch shift yesterday to talk about the menu.
“Halloween is my favorite holiday,” she said. “The Halloween menu is kind of the highlight of my job each year.”
Brown said that she was having a hard time coming up with a concept this year and then she came across a “Goosebumps” book.
“I was like, ‘That’s it. That’s what I want to do.’ So I started looking up names of the books that I thought would make good drink names. I kind of went off that as far as which cocktails to make,” she said.
For “Monster Blood,” (Riazul Reposado, Genepy, Blue Curacao, lime, vitamin B tincture and tonic) Brown knew she wanted something that could glow green.
“It actually has vitamin B powder and the quinine in the tonic water makes it glow under black light,” she said.
Brown said she’s waiting on some black light coasters to come in. “They sent us some broken ones, so they haven’t actually come in yet, but when they do, they will glow under black light. I’ve tried it out with a black light flashlight, it does work, which is very exciting,” she said.
“The Horror at Camp Jellyjam” (sesame oil washed El Dorado Three Year, Amaro Pasubio, blueberry compote, brown sugar spiced syrup, lemon, Angostura bitters) is a play on a PB&J, Brown said. “I didn’t want to do anything with peanuts because too many people are allergic, so I did a sesame oil infused rum because the tahini sesame flavor kind of mimics peanut butter. It has a lot of blueberry in it too,” she said.
“Full Moon Fever” (Old Forester Rye, Fernet Branca, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, ginger syrup, lemon, lime, egg white) was created by Brown’s coworker Dominick Pottker. “It’s delicious, I’m so excited about it,” Brown said. “It has a werewolf stencil on top of an egg white, and I’m also really excited that we got to introduce a vegan alternative egg white that Fee Brothers puts out. They put out a lot of bitters, and they started making Fee Foam which is a vegan alternative to egg white,” she said.
Brown thinks that “Vampire Breath” (Barr Hill Tom Cat, Copper & Kings Absinthe, macerated raspberry syrup, lemon) is a good introduction to absinthe.
“It’s [served] in a very gothic-style Nick and Nora glass that I just imagine a vampire would drink out of,” Brown said. “It’s blood red and it has a little clipping from a brand new ‘Goosebumps’ book that had just been printed. It has a little tiny clothespin that clips a piece of [a page of] of the actual book on it, so you get to read a little piece of the book with it,” she said.
The drink menus are placed inside of hollowed out “Goosebumps” books.
“We tried to make like a secret compartment,” Brown said. “Each book you get the first chapter and then after the first chapter, we glued together all the pages and cut out a little compartment.” Brown said that contactless menus are available as well.
The Goosebumps menu probably ranks second among Brown’s favorites, she said. Last year’s Halloween menu ranks number one. It was a “Pick your poison menu where each drink was inspired by, named after and resembled a different type of poison. They were served in poison vials with historical facts and stuff like that. I just love Halloween,” she said.
Brown said that she and her brother had all of the “Goosebumps” books growing up.
“We would get them at scholastic book fairs. One of my reps just told me [they are] still happening, which makes me really happy. I love ‘Goosebumps,’ and I think Halloween is a really good time for nostalgia,” she said.