A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was sixteen and Val was seventeen, and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Best of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a four hundred year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome nineteen year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another twenty two years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

A Christmas Journey (with Vampires, a cat, a train ride and a fight)

People don’t know who or what we are. We’ve kept it that way for centuries, as stories and myths over ride any sense of reality in the minds of men.

In December of 1875 tragedy came into our lives. My best friend Isabelle fell under the spell of rogue Vampires and almost killed my brother Max’s best friend, who was the son of my parent’s closest regular human friends. You see, for those of you who are new here, we’re Vampires. As part of the Modern Vampire movement, we go by the rule that nobody is ever turned into a Vampire without consent.

Anyway, scandal was the only word for it. Theodore Kings, my brother’s 26 year old friend was not only the smartest and most handsome regular human any of us had ever met, he was also a kind man who was engaged to be married in February. Isabella decided she wanted the handsome Teddy for herself. We almost lost Teddy, as in death. Not the death one has when turning into a Vampire, but forever death. And when my father did manage to save our beloved friend, dear Teddy was horrified at what he had become…he was horrified at what we all were…but that is another story for another time.

My parents were upset at the prospect of Isabella or any of her rogue friends contacting, or corrupting my brother Valentine or me so we were to be sent away for a few months to keep us out of trouble. The plan was to send us to New York to say with my Grandmama Lola for Christmas. I was 16 and Val was 17 and the prospect of the big city was more exciting than anything we’d ever experienced. Plus it helped us get our minds off of Isabella and Teddy. Most of all it got us away from the eyes of our parents.

Yet, Val and I were also angry that my parents had so little trust in us that they thought it necessary to ship us off clear across the country. After all, we were practically adults. In fact, in most circles at that time we would have been considered adults who could get employment, get married or live independently.

My father’s friend Nathaniel Chase agreed to take Val and I from California to New York City on the train. Nathaniel had his own private luxury car so nobody thought there would be any problems. Nathaniel was the very image of the sophisticated and charming Modern Vampire. He was also cunning and dangerous in his own ways – enough to take care of two over active Vampire teens. What trouble could a couple of teens get into when watched over by a 400 year old Vampire?

On the first night Val and I explored the train. There were dining cars, first class, second class, other private luxury cars and all sorts of interesting people. Nathaniel was busy with “business.” Unfortunately that didn’t last for long. He was scolding us for getting too friendly with people, running, sticking our heads out the window and laughing too loud. That was just the short list.

On the second night he caught Val in an embrace with an attractive woman from San Francisco. That didn’t go over too well either. Val used the excuse he was just being a Vampire. Nathaniel knew better.

On the third night there was a party in another private car in which there were plates full of beautiful treats. I had my first eclaire. It was huge – the size of a man’s hand. That with a stomach full of warm blood (from a handsome 19 year old who claimed to be the son of a famous minister), a bottle of sparkling pink wine (which I wasn’t supposed to have) and sugar (which makes Vampires absolutely ill) had me throwing up most of the night.

By the time we got to our first stay over in Chicago, Nathaniel Chase was ready to lock the both of us up for good. But he didn’t.

We stayed in a large new mansion built after the great fire of 1871. It was there for Vampires of our rank. Val and I were in heaven. Off of the train with Nathaniel gone most of the time!

Nathaniel had given us a full set of rules and warnings. Bite only on the wrist, not the neck. Don’t go into questionable parts of town (he supplied coordinates.) Do not talk to Vampires you don’t know. Don’t be turned by a pretty face. Watch for Vampire Hunters. Stay close to the house. Shop, have fun, act normal. Under no circumstance let anyone suspect you are different. Don’t act like children.

Val and I did all that and more. We were the perfect little citizens. At parties everyone commented on how charming young well-mannered people we were. I’m sure that warmed the cold heart of the old Vampire Nathaniel Chase.

On our fourth day in Chicago Val and I were walking along at dusk when we heard a great commotion coming from a warehouse. And you would be right if you guessed we were in a part of town we shouldn’t have been in.

Inside of the building a large group of men were standing in an impromptu arena yelling and cheering. We thought it might be a boxing match until we realized it was a dog fight. Beasts of all sizes had been brought in to tear each other apart. We could smell the blood and the fear in the dogs. We could also smell the excitement and blood lust in the men who watched the fights. I held Val’s arm, utterly appalled by what I saw. Ears were torn off, bowels were torn open and dogs howled and whimpered in pain.

Then just as I thought I’d seen enough a large man held something out to five growling dogs.

“I present you Lucifer. Tonight you will see before your very eyes these dogs devour the devil.” And he held up a black kitten of about 5 months who cried with pitiful mews of fear. My cold blood boiled.

Hiking up my skirts I climbed the ropes around the arena and entered the ring. I yelled at the man to put down the cat. He laughed. Then I growled at him showing my fangs. In horror the man lashed out striking me across the face. His large ring made a gash across my cheek. Val jumped the ropes and came to my rescue. Knocking them man down he was about to tear his arm off when someone grabbed us up by our collars and threw both of us out into the snow.

Nathaniel Chase and two other Vampires stood there looking at us in disgust. We could hear the commotion inside of the warehouse grow louder.

Nathaniel pulled me to him and yanked me into a waiting carriage. “You could have had us all killed.” His coat smelled slightly of patchouli and roses. I saw a long light brown hair against the black of his jacket. He’d been visiting a woman. I should have known.

“You were with a woman weren’t you?” I glared at him with the triumph of someone too stupid to know what I was saying.

His eyes lit up with a fire and he pulled me around in front of his face holding both of my arms like vices. “It isn’t just small animals that they kill. They kill what they do not know or understand. They kill what they fear. They kill anything they see as evil.”

“But they’re evil themselves,” I stammered back, unable to move or remove myself from his glare.

“No, it is their world, so be it if it is ruled by ignorance and superstition. You must NEVER show yourself for what you are. Never. So help me God Juliette, if you ever do anything like this again I will make sure you will spend the rest of your days drinking rancid blood out of a gourd, in a dungeon so deep you’ll forget there are stars in the sky.”

He let me go and turned to my brother. “As for you Valentine. I have no words to express my disappointment in you.”

One of the other Vampires, an elegant looking man called Joseph pulled a small black kitten out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. “I believe this is yours. Do not forget the price you paid for his freedom.”

All the way back Nathaniel lectured us on responsibility and stupidity. When we returned to the house he vanished into the study with the two men. We were told to go to our rooms and stay there until midnight.

I lay on my bed and cried my heart out. Val came in and sat quietly next to me. We were utter failures.

When the large clock at the end of the hall struck midnight we left the room and went in search of Nathaniel Chase.

On the balcony he stood cradling the sleeping kitten in his arms. He quietly sang to himself in Welsh the old song “All Through the Night.”

All the stars’ twinkles say

All through the night

“This is the way to the realm of glory,”

All through the night.

Darkness is another light

That exposes true beauty

The Heavenly family in peace

All through the night.

“You have Lucifer,” I said stroking the purring kitten under his chin.

Nathaniel gave me a rare smile. “His name is Gabrielle now. He’ll go where I go. Do you know who Gabrielle was.”

“I believe an arch angel,” said Val.

“Gabrielle was a messenger. So is this little beast in my arms, brought to us in order to teach the two of you humility. But also to teach me what good hearts you have. Compassion is a rare and wonderful thing. It can also be a danger if you react in fear and by letting your heart lead the way.” He held up a hand knowing what I was going to say. “Your heart and the feelings of your heart are important. But you must be smart. You must not be like your friend Isabelle who turned a man into a Vampire, almost killing him and committing his soul to Hell. She claimed it was romantic but it was cruel and selfish.” He handed me the cat now called Gabriel. “Take care of this cat until we get to your Grandmama’s, then he is mine. And Juliette, remember that we are like dark angels who inhabit the night. No matter how much good we may do we are still to be feared by those who are not our kind.”

Gabrielle lived for another 22 years and went everywhere with Nathaniel Chase.

Val and I got to our Grandmama Lola’s house in New York City by Christmas Eve night.

Nathaniel Chase still doesn’t have much confidence in me. I made mistakes with my heart over the years, as did Val. But we learned that we must keep our hearts to ourselves and take action with our brains and with conviction and with deliberate action.

A few weeks ago I visited Nathaniel, along with my brother Val and my husband Teddy. He still looked the same as he did in 1875. He still has a black cat. The current one is named Michael. They’re all named after angels. Small dark angels of hope and love.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from all of the Vampires and their cats.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

This story was first posted December, 2013

Musings on a Visit With Ancient Vampires and Longfellow

The night is come, but not too soon;
And sinking silently,
All silently, the little moon
Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven
But the cold light of stars;
And the first watch of night is given
To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love?
The star of love and dreams?

~ Longfellow

 

Over the past few weeks I haven’t been visiting the Elders as much as I should. I’m busy. I’m not that busy, but the days get away from me. Everything happens. Nothing happens so I get held up. It is amazing how nothing can fill one’s day.

“Why don’t you ever come to visit anymore?”

“I was there last week.”

“It seems longer. We want to see you.”

I packed a bag with things I thought they might like; novels, odd bits of glass to form into mosaics, sketch pads, pencils, old 78 rpm records, a cute sweater for Eleora.

Eleora tends to wear clothing until it falls apart and makes her look like a lost waif without a home. The sweater is a deep burgundy color, soft and a little over sized, like a tunic. My teenage daughter wears sweaters like that with leggings. Eleora usually just wears dresses. I think legging would be cute on her so I include a pair.

I put everything in my car then I got distracted again. An hour later I finally left.

When I arrived at the Victorian farmhouse Tellias met me at the door. Despite the rain he peered at me with round rose colored glasses to protect his eyes from the sun. He wore black tuxedo pants with black suspenders over a white shirt and topped with a gray zipped up hoodie with the name James embroidered on the front pocket place.  I didn’t ask who James was. He didn’t tell me.

He kissed me and helped me with my bag, then gave me a hug and ushered me into the parlor. The Christmas tree was still up, covered with tiny black bats and silver webs of fancy Victorian embroidery thread. Tiny blown glass Santas with blacked out eyes stared into nowhere.

I looked around for Eleora. She is usually there when I arrive, dancing around me and singing, unless of course, something is wrong.

Tellias knew I noticed and said, “Eleora is asleep right now.”

“She sleeps a lot.”

“It is daytime my dear. You forget too often that we’re Vampires. You also forget that we’re old.”

I kissed his cheek and went upstairs to see Eleora.

She lay on the bed on top of the covers wearing an ugly plaid skirt and a misshaped orange sweater. Despite the horrible clothing she was beautiful, like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White waiting for a kiss. She looked absolutely dead but that was to be expected from a sleeping Vampire. For someone over two thousand years old she looks remarkably young. By that I mean she looks like she is about twenty.

I picked up a volume of poetry on the night stand. It was Longfellow. I thought of Rodney Dangerfield in back to school. You know the line where the girl says her favorite subject is poetry and he says, “Really? Well, maybe you can help me straighten out my Longfellow.” I laughed out loud.

As usual I lost track of time reading poems I’d read a hundred times when I heard running noises from a variety of feet coming up the stairs and into the bedroom. An old black cat jumped on the bed with a yowl mixed with excited purrs. A small girl, aged four, jumped into my arms.

“Juliette,” she yelled wrapping her cold little arms around my neck and giving me a kiss.

“And you brought Michael. Is your daddy downstairs?”

The child grabbed Michael the cat and threw him over her shoulder, then jumped on the bed. “I shall wake the dead,” she yelled.

Eleora opened her eyes wide and smiled, then held out her arms for the child.

I left Eleora and the small child named Miranda and went downstairs. The cat followed at my heels.

I could hear Eleora and Miranda laughing. Then the noise changed to the laughter of men from the large main room of the house.

Miranda’s father Nathaniel Chase was there of course. After two hundred years with his long time love they’d finally decided to settle down and have a family. Of course that wasn’t a good description because to me Nathaniel Chase has always been the most settled being I’ve ever known. He never went anywhere without one of his black cats (always named after archangels.)

And my dear old dad was there. The dear old Vampire himself had shown up. He gave me a big hug and a kiss. I had no idea why they’d shown up. Tellias was also obviously surprised to see his old friends. OK they are old to me, each going into their fifth century, but young to Tellias. Anyway…

We caught up on news. I’d turned someone into a Vampire over the holidays. No, I didn’t tell you about that one. Maybe later. My father and Nathaniel were by just to see how the Ancient Vampires were doing.

I was glad they were there, but part of me was sort of annoyed. I’m always the one who is there for them. I’m the first there is anything happens. Even with my brother Val and my Grandmama Lola there part of the time, if anything hits the fan with Tellias and Eleora I’m the one who is there.

But at the same time I was happy to see everyone, especially tiny, cute and delightful Miranda. A Vampire child, born to Vampire parents, is a rare and wonderful thing.

Miranda and Eleora came down to join us. I finally convinced Eleora to put on the leggings with the new sweater. She looked like a college student, all hip and trendy. It was good to see. One is never too old for style and flair.

On the way home I thought about how things have changed. I thought about how things haven’t changed. I thought about the rain, and what I needed to do when I got home, and the schedules of my busy children and husband.

Sometimes there is too much, but sometimes there isn’t enough. This morning ended up being just right.

That’s it. Just my morning.

Don’t forget that the wonderful horror anthology Creepies 2 is still free for downloading. Click here for information and horror and art from my undead heart. 

And if you have people in your life who are elderly or alone or lost go visit them. Do it today. Don’t feel uncomfortable or put out. Just do it.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday the 31st – Kiss a Black Cat (and cocktails)

Black kitty catToday is Friday the 31st.

That is 13 backwards.

So in Vampire culture that means you will get thirteen times the good luck and none of the bad.

So go kiss a black cat and make sure you have enough limes for cocktails tonight.

Note: If you don’t have a black cat any cat will do. Also don’t forget to kiss the Vampire.

NEVER forget to kiss the Vampire!

 

 

Vampire Head Rush

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 12 oz Dark Beer (Teddy Suggests something like Downtown Brown)
  • 2 oz Blood
  • Pour all in a tall glass over ice.

Clara calls it a head rush because she says it looks like something out of a toilet. Middle School humor.

Oh well. 

If you aren’t a vampire leave out the blood.

————————————————————————-

Werewolf on the Rocks

  • 3 oz Bourbon
  • Splash of dry Vermouth
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • A twist of lemon peel
  • Pour over frozen blood balls (ice cubes made from blood poured and frozen in cute little shapes)

If you aren’t a vampire make ice cubes out of orange or cranberry juice (yum).

———————————————————————–

Vampire Iced Tea

  • 1 gallon water
  • 12-15 tea bags – any flavor you want. We like a nice strong black tea with a touch of fruit in it. Lady Earl Gray works well. Put tea bags and water in a jar. Put it outside in the sun for about 2-3 hours to brew. Don’t put it on the grass – it won’t get hot enough. A drive way or deck works best.
  • 1 jar (32 oz) of unsweetened Cranberry Juice (we like Trader Joes)
  • 12 oz blood
  • Artificial sweetener of your choice to taste (remember dear human visitors that we don’t handle sugar well)
  • Mix it all up and pour over ice with a sprig of mint and a sprig of rosemary.
  • Adults – add a large slosh of Vodka or Bourbon to the mix for some extra punch to this punch!

If you aren’t a vampire replace the blood with more cranberry juice, orange juice or more vodka.

——————————————————————

Vampire Nuts

Kids and adults like this mix. If teen boys are around I usually triple the recipe.

  • 1½ cup hazelnuts (roasted)
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (roasted)
  • 1 cup whole cashews (roasted)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves or pieces (roasted)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Grade A maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp powered blood (optional – be I recommend – it adds a bit of bite to the nuts)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, combine the hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sage, thyme, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, sea salt and black pepper. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet or stone (I like using my stone) and place in the oven. Bake, stirring occasionally, until browned and fragrant, about 15 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If you aren’t a vampire leave out the powdered blood.

———————————————————————————

And the perfect cocktail to go with those nuts is…

Nocturnal Summer Cooler

  • 6 limes
  • 1 cup packed mint leaves, no stems, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
  • 3 unwaxed cucumbers
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups gin (we like the kind in the green bottle)
  • 1 cup purified blood
  • Sparkling water

1. Thinly slice 3 limes and place in a pitcher. Juice the rest and add juice to pitcher. Add mint leaves. Slice 2 cucumbers and add, then add sugar. Stir. Add gin. Place in refrigerator  30 minutes or longer.

2. Peel remaining cucumber and cut lengthwise into 6 spears.

3. Fill 6 highball or other large glasses with ice. Strain mixture from pitcher into each. Top with a splash of sparkling water, garnish each glass with a sprig of mint and a cucumber spear, and serve. You can also garnish with a sprig of rosemary for a more savory taste.

If you aren’t a vampire replace the blood with your favorite juice (we like cranberry or blueberry)

And as always, don’t drink and drive!