As Halloween draws near, a plethora of new movies and shows of the dark and thrilling variety are being released. As such, Options has picked five scary TV series and paired them with the perfect tipple to calm your nerves after you have faced a few jump scares.
Botakliquor x You
This month, Season 3 of psychological thriller You premiered on Netflix and it did not disappoint. In this season, we see the main character Joe Goldberg — a deeply obsessive serial killer — settle into a life of domestic bliss with his wife, Love, and baby son, Henry. As seen in the second season, both husband and wife are just as capable of violent outbursts and murder as the other, but is that enough to keep them together? The third season shows the extent of their obsessions and instability, exacerbated by the prying eyes and fake people in the fictional town of Madre Linda.
What makes You uncomfortable and creepy is how realistic Joe’s stalking could be, especially in the age of social media. His eyes are forever on the lookout for his new obsession, which, although ever-changing, is always referred to as “you” in his narration. So, the perfect cocktail to pair with this show is Botakliquor’s Mata Kucing (RM40), which is Malay for “longan” and means “cat’s eye”. Inspired by its namesake herbal drink that is a staple in the Petaling Street area, this drink is a concoction of longan, monk fruit, water chestnut, gin, cacao and snow fungus, which is perched atop the drink as a decorative garnish. Not as herbal as one would expect, the Mata Kucing is sweet and perfect for a hot day, with a longan-forward finish.
Botakliquor, 156 Jalan Petaling, KL. Wed-Sat, 5.30pm-midnight; Tues, 9am-5pm. 03 2022 1100.
The Deceased x Squid Game
The South Korean TV series Squid Game — which is making viewers worldwide gasp by twisting innocent, childhood games into a dangerous, high-stakes competition — is one of Netflix’s most watched shows. Randomly chosen individuals who are considered to be dregs of society — those with insurmountable debts and the likes of gangsters and cheats — are invited to play these games for an incredible cash prize. The catch: The penalty for losing means death. It is violent and at times gruesome but, like William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, it explores human nature and behaviour. Writer and director of Squid Game Hwang Dong-hyuk was inspired by the class disparity in South Korea and his own troubles.
It would be remiss to have a list of cocktails for Halloween without mentioning The Deceased, a speakeasy in KL whose decor and drinks revolve around death and horror. Inspired by the Squid Game series, the bartenders behind The Deceased have concocted two titillating tipples. The first is called Red Light, Green Light or U Die (RM48) and it contains Black Tears Cuban spiced rum, Chinese yellow wine, chocolate bitters, fresh lime juice, popcorn syrup and red dragon fruit. This cocktail is smokey and refreshing, but if you prefer a floral and sour drink, try Poke the Dalgona (RM48), which has Black Tears Cuban spiced rum, Giffard Cocogif liqueur, MDGE La Miraculeuse Bordeaux, salted caramel syrup, fresh lemon juice and aromatic bitters. It also comes with a Dalgona candy, inspired by Squid Game’s most nail-biting episode.
The Deceased, 55 Jalan Sultan, KL. Daily, 4pm-midnight; closed on Tues. 018 200 0262.
Claret x American Horror Story
The 10th season of American Horror Story has landed on Disney+ and it is aptly called Double Feature, as it tackles both vampires and aliens. Fans of the horror anthology will see that this season is a nod to the roots of the show — it was last seen in Season 1, where the series focused solely on one family. In Double Feature, struggling writer Harry Gardener takes his pregnant wife and amateur interior designer, Doris, and their daughter, Alma, to a creepy, middle-of-nowhere place called Provincetown. A mysterious black pill finds its way into Harry’s hands, one that promises to fulfil all his dreams, but the price is far bloodier than he anticipated. While the first segment of this season revolves around sharpened teeth, blood sucking and pale people, the latter part takes a more extraterrestrial route.
As a nod to the vampires of Double Feature, pair this with a cocktail from Claret called Nosferatu (RM40+), named after the 1922 vampire film. Strong and well balanced, this tipple contains Disaronno Amaretto, gin, home-made lemon syrup, rosemary and creole bitters. Served in an old-fashioned glass with a large ice cube, Nosferatu is finished with bitters, which creates a ring at the top with a red, almost blood-like shade.
Claret, Level 23A Tower B, The Troika, 19 Persiaran KLCC, KL. Daily, 5pm-1am. 03 2162 0886.
Coley x Them
Created by Little Marvin and executive produced by Lena Waithe, Them is not for the faint-hearted. Available on Amazon Prime Video, this show is part of an anthology series, and while it has garnered mixed reviews, it will definitely have you on the edge of your seat. Them takes viewers back to 1953, where a black family moves from North Carolina to East Compton, Los Angeles, during the Second Great Migration. We see glimpses of the horrors in the Emory family’s past, and their move is meant to signify a new beginning. As they are the first black family in an all-white neighbourhood, however, it is clear that their problems have only just begun. As they are tormented by angry and racist neighbours, they also encounter an evil presence that haunts their home. Filled with jump scares, eerie music and stunning cinematography, Them takes place over 10 days, spread across 10 episodes. We would definitely caution against watching it alone.
To pair with the classic American settings in Them, we have chosen Coley’s Peanut Butter & Jelly (RM46) cocktail. Concocted with turmeric leaf-infused tequila, Mancino Bianco Ambrato, blueberry, roasted peanuts and black salt, it is incredible how perfectly this drink tastes like its name. It smells like peanuts and even tastes of it in the first sip, but slowly, a sweetness follows, giving it that jelly or jam flavour. My companion, one who is not as familiar with the classic American sandwich, said it reminded her of apam balik — which, in a way, is our local variation of the American snack.
Coley, 6G Jalan Abdullah, off Jalan Bangsar, KL. Tues-Thurs, 5pm-1am; Fri-Sat, 5pm-1am; Sun, 5pm-11pm. 019 270 9179.
Wildflowers x Just Beyond
If you are not one who can stand the guts and gore of horror flicks, but perhaps enjoy the nostalgia of teen books and shows such as Goosebumps, give Just Beyond a go. Based on Boom! Studio’s graphic novels by R L Stine — the go-to horror writer of my early teenage years — the show offers eight episodes of varying stories on aliens and ghosts to monsters, witches and creepy technology. Just Beyond also includes all the hallmarks of high school teenage drama, such as first crushes, making friends and bullies. It is the perfect balance of education and entertainment, with a dash of horror. Available on Disney+, Just Beyond is still Halloween-worthy, especially if your regular programmes for the season are the likes of Are you Afraid of the Dark? and The Corpse Bride.
Watch Just Beyond with the cocktail called Mr Brooke from Wildflowers. Made with tuak, jasmine gin, elderflower liqueur, lavender syrup and lemon, this drink is sweet and goes down easily. Served with a floral garnish in a coupe glass, it looks inviting. Like the cinematic version of R L Stine’s graphic novel, Mr Brooke has a complex flavour worth savouring slowly.
Wildflowers, 153 Jalan Petaling, KL. Tues-Thurs, 5-10pm; Fri-Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-10pm; closed on Mondays. 03 2856 3369.
This article first appeared on Oct 25, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.