Cherry Sematary: The Must Try Halloween Cocktail

As the legend goes, Steven King, the master of horror, was a huge Ramones fan.  While the Ramones were playing in New England, King invited the band to his home in Maine.  There, they received a personalized copy of Pet Sematary.

Dee Dee Ramone, the bassist, disappeared only to reappear an hour later with lyrics to the title track to the upcoming soundtrack for Steven King’s theatrical release of Pet Cematary.  The movie and the soundtrack would go on to enjoy massive commercial success, and the song, Pet Sematary, by the Ramones would become their most successful single.   Shockingly, seeing how they have catalogue filled with earth shifting hits. 

The song itself is corny, pulling on generic Halloween imagery.  It’s caulk full of synths, giving it a commercially polished sound, which was a massive departure for the godfathers of punk rock.  It even rips off catchy choruses from previous Ramones songs. 

With that all being said, I have been listening to it nonstop for the last week.  I can’t get it out of my head. It’s the ultimate earworm.  I used to roll my eyes whenever the song would come on, viewing it as a blatant cash grab by one of the punk rock greats. 

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Now I realize it’s the musical equivalent of watching Evil Dead.  Campiness oozes from each lyric in all the right ways.  I had missed just how fun this song was and how it captured the Halloween season in a way that few songs could.  And did I mention I’ve been listening to it non-stop for the last week?  HOLY SHIT it’s catchy. 

sparkling ice black cherry

How could I make a cocktail that captured the greatness of this seasonal song? The first thing I did was head straight for the bottle of vodka.  Vodka is much maligned in the cocktail world for being flavorless bringing little substance to the party, but it is the number one sold and consumed spirit in the country, so it has mass appeal. 

Using it is my cheeky nod to Pet Sematary being the Ramones greatest commercial success.  Next, you have to make it bubbly and fun.  I picked up a pack of black cherry soda water 1) because black cherry soda water is delicious, and 2) the brand I picked up had a beautiful, vibrant red color that stemmed from all-natural ingredients with no added sugar.  This seemed like the makings of an excellent vodka Collins riff.  The fresh squeezed lime juice and homemade grenadine chose themselves. 

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Naming it was even easier.  Cherry Sematary.  The Ramones might not have wanted to be buried in a Pet Sematary, but I’ll gladly lay head down for eternal rest in the Cherry Sematary. 

cherry vodka drink

This drink is like an earworm song.  The moment you taste it, even though it might not initially be your jam, you’re going to catch yourself going back for more and more sips until you’re forced to fix another one.  It’s juicy.  SUPER juicy.  It’s fresh and vibrant.  It’s sparkling and exciting.  It has a vibrant bright red color.  It is sneaky good.   Extremely crushable.  Be careful making this drink.  You might end up drinking it for an entire week!

  • 1.5 oz Vodka – I prefer Ketel One
  • .75 Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • *.50 Homemade grenadine
  • Black Cherry soda water
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Combine the vodka, lime juice, and grenadine in a shaker.  Add ice and shake for 5-7 seconds.   Strain the cocktail into a tall, slim Collins glass.  Add ice to the glass and top the cocktail with black cherry soda water. 

Stir to incorporate the ingredients.  Garnish with a black cherry, or if you’re feeling festive, a spider or something else spooky. Press play on Pet Sematary by the Ramones, hit repeat, kick back, and enjoy!

Want to learn how to make grenadine?  Simply add 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of pomegranate juice to a sauce pan and turn it to medium-high.  You have the option to add other flavor components here, such as hibiscus, cinnamon, clove, orange peels, whatever you like!  Stir the ingredients until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Let cool and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.    

For more from Deke Dunne, follow him on instagram, and click here for more cocktail content.


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