Sip the Whiskey Drink Inspired by The Shining’s The Gold Room Bar
Haters be damned. We’ll go ahead and say it… The Shining is one of the most important and frightening films ever made. Directed by the celluloid visionary Stanley Kubrick, based on the novel by famed horror storyteller Stephen King and starring a young, crazy-haired and crazy talented Jack Nicholson, this movie is chock FULL o’ goodness. It contains layers of pop-culture gold, from truly nightmare-inducing imagery, era-and-genre-defining quotes and thousands of YouTube channels dedicated to deciphering the film’s alleged Illuminati symbolism.
The film is also home to one of the most simultaneously stoic and reassuring barmen of all time, Lloyd of the Overlook Hotel’s classic destination, The Gold Room. As the unhinged main character of the film, Jack Torrance says, “I like you Lloyd… You were always the best of ‘em. Best goddamned bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine… Or Portland, Oregon for that matter.”
We are offered glimpses of the The Gold Room in its 1920’s heydey, the gilded room bustling with women in flapper dresses and men in tuxedos celebrating the 4th of July with bottles of Champagne. When a wild-eyed Torrance takes a seat at the bar, Lloyd serves as a confidant as he pours glass after glass of Jack Daniels listening as his customer vents his frustrations with his wife Wendy, the bat-wielding waif scared out of her mind by the bizarrely violent visions she sees throughout the hotel.
Now that we’ve set the scene, it’s time to enjoy a drink. No, not a cliché Redrum-themed drink that involves rum and food coloring but a classic Improved Whiskey Cocktail, the perfect drink to sip at the illuminated bar of The Gold Room. This cocktail recipe was first found in 1876, in Jerry Thomas’ Bar-Tender’s Guide as an “improvement” to the Old Fashioned with the addition of maraschino liqueur and absinthe. Keep in mind that at this time, there were so few cocktails that this was a unique spin on a basic drink. Making the drink is so simple that you won’t even need Lloyd’s help. A sugar cube -- or simple syrup--is muddled with maraschino liqueur, anise-tinged absinthe and two types of bitters then stirred to combine. Add your whiskey--we prefer overproof rye whiskey -- a large ice cube, and squeeze your lemon peel to express the oil, and add the peel to your drink.
With a drink this tasty, not even the woman in Room 237, those creepy twins or the man in the bear suit can kill the festive mood. After all, it’s just a movie…Or is it?
2 Ounces Whiskey (we prefer 100 proof Rye Whiskey)
1 Small Sugar Cube or ¼ Ounce Simple Syrup
1 Bar Spoon Maraschino Liqueur
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Peychaud's Bitters
1 Dash Absinthe
Garnish: Lemon or Orange Peel
Lemon or Orange Peel for Garnish
Large Ice Cube
1. Muddle sugar cube (or simple syrup) with maraschino liqueur, absinthe, Angostura bitters, and Peychaud’s bitters.
2. Add whiskey and stir to combine.
3. Add large ice cube and stir until chilled.
4. Squeeze lemon peel to express oil and add to glass.