Literary Libations" is a new series here in the Dapper Press Study where we take a look at a book we love and pair it with the perfect cocktail!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a must-read thrill ride for pop culture fans who fist-pumped and bee-bopped their way through the 1980s. Accurately described by The New York Times as “Willy Wonka meets The Matrix,” RPO takes readers into a complex and immersive video game universe that’s built upon both popular and obscure music, movies, TV shows, and video games from the 1980s.
And the book pulls off another fun trick: it’s dystopian. The 1980s have surged back to popularity in the fairly-distant future all thanks to one video game programmer’s obsession with its culture, and we’re left with a “strap in and have fun” sort of post-apocalyptic geek adventure. If you were alive in the decade of blocky suits and one sparkly glove, you should do yourself a favor and get lost in this book.
So of course, if Ready Player One were a drink, it would have to be a quintessential 80s cocktail. This was a decade when mixed drinks were more function than form. According to LA Magazine, “Bars weren’t so much for enjoying a well-made drink as they were for forgetting all your ills and hooking up. It was all a sweet, sticky drunken haze.” () Cocktails were made with bottled mixers, canned sugar, and juice poured out of plastic fruit. And as long as it did the trick, it was deemed a success.
Oh, and the brighter the color, the better. The 80s really loved color.
There are quite a few cocktails that saw prominence in the 80s—the Long Island Iced Tea, the Fuzzy Navel, the Piña Colada (thanks, Rupert Holmes)—but given RPO’s dystopian storyline, I think we can safely say that if the book were a drink, it would be the world-infamous Hurricane.
The Hurricane is widely known for its New Orleans roots, and sure, RPO has pretty much nothing at all to do with the Mardi Gras capital of the world. But it’s an adequately sickly-sweet cocktail with a name that evokes imminent, world-shattering disaster. Of course, to really make the Hurricane Ready Player One-appropriate, we’ll need to tweak the recipe juuuuuust a little. Sure, we’ll keep the rum. The dark rum, and the light rum, and, since we’re talking absolute dystopia here, we’ll even add a splash of overproof rum. But forget the orange juice. We couldn’t possibly make an 80s music-blockbuster-and-video-game cocktail without mixing it with the decade’s most perfect sugary drink.
That’s right. We’re going full Ecto Cooler* for this one. We’re pleased to present the Ectoplasmic Hurricane.
Since Hi-C’s Ecto Cooler is a sweet, sweet green in color, we’ll have to ditch the passion fruit and the grenadine as well. The color combos just don’t jive. So we’ve made a few replacements. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
· 2 oz White rum
· 2 oz Dark rum
· 0.5 oz Overproof rum
· 1 oz Lime juice
· 3 oz Hi-C Ecto Cooler (or homemade equivalent—see below)
· 0.5 oz Simple syrup
· 0.5 oz Midori
· Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.
· Shake well
· Fill a Hurricane glass with ice, then strain shaken mixture into the glass
· Garnish with a kiwi slice
*Ecto Cooler hasn’t been produced in, I don’t know, a couple of decades, but fear not! With the new Ghostbusters movie coming out, the rumor mill is abuzz with supposedly confirmed reports of the return of the Ecto! But just in case that turns out to be a cruel lie, we dug up this recipe for homemade “Ecto Cooler” on the interwebs. Have we tried it? No. Can we vouch for it? No. Does the site look legit? Not especially. But hey. It’s something.