For those of you who don’t know, I’m a bit of a movie nerd. There is probably no better example of this than the fact that most of my cocktails are named after movies, and that I tend to write posts like this one. As we get closer to Halloween I guess it’s a good time to reveal the two festive movie references on our current menu. The first is “Suspiria,” a perfect pre-dinner cocktail with some very complex and unique flavours. It combines my favourite sweet vermouth, Cocchi di Torino, with bright-red bitter Campari, herbaceous Liquore Strega, and a few heavy dashes of the Bitter Truth Creole Bitters then topped with a dry sparkling wine.

The name is inspired by a few perfectly matched elements.

First, the ingredients are almost all Italian (though we are using the local Blue Mountain Brut rather than prosecco, but still) and its flavour is reminiscent of the classic Italian aperitivo, the Negroni.

Second, it has a beautiful rich, red colour (see why this is fitting below).

And third, Strega means “witch” in Italian. This liqueur (made from over 70 herbs including saffron, fennel, and mint) was supposedly a tonic created by witches in Benevento, Italy – a region rich with legends of witchcraft dating back over 1000 years. Though the production of the liqueur reaches back to only 1860, its history and of course its name are tied closely to these supposed ‘black arts.’ The film after which this cocktail is named follows a young ballet dancer to a European dance school that she soon discovers is run by a coven of witches.

“Suspiria” (meaning “sighs” in latin) is a 1977 film by Italian horror legend Dario Argento, and has not only some amazing colour and photography but also an iconic soundtrack by the band “Goblin,” who are probably better known for their work on Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead.”

This was one of if not THE last time that a film was made in Technicolor, which gives a dreamlike and extremely vivid look to the movie. Check out some of the awesome photography below.

Try one of these witch-concoctions before your next PH meal, it’s a perfect drink for October.