Boos and Booze: The Shining and Hot Buttered (red) Rum

Halloween Cocktail Pairings. Photo Credit: Carla Davis
Halloween Cocktail Pairings. Photo Credit: Carla Davis /
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The Shining
MT. HOOD, OR – Timberline Lodge (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images) /

Boos and Booze is a series dedicated to recommending a great book for Halloween with a custom-made drink pairing. Today’s choice is The Shining, paired with a warm, comforting rum cocktail.

Stephen King’s The Shining is best known for Jack Nicholson’s scenery-chewing performance as Jack Torrance, but before Stanley Kubrick put the ax in Nicholson’s hand, there was a paperback book with a shiny silver cover, unadorned except for the blank face of a boy.

Jack Torrance is a recovering alcoholic trying to save his marriage after accidently breaking his son Danny’s arm while drunk. He has also lost his job as a college instructor after assaulting a student, and has accepted the winter caretaking job at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado.

The Overlook has quite a past, and is full of ghosts. That’s not good for little Danny, who has some psychic ability that these spirits are very attracted to. The hotel cook, Dick Halloran, refers to this power (which he has a lesser degree of) as “the shining,” and he tells Danny to call out to him psychically if he needs help.

All of the best, spooky moments of the movie are in the book version of The Shining, except for the maze, which replaced the frightening topiary animals that try to harm Danny. But, more importantly, the book includes something that Kubrick left out of his adaptation: the slow mental disintegration of Jack Torrance. While there is no denying that Nicholson gave a fantastic performance, he appeared a little off the rails from the very beginning.

Over the long winter, Jack begins to fall apart, and poor little Danny is stalked by the things that live in the Overlook, including the rotting corpse of a woman. Eventually, all three of the Torrances are trapped in the hotel, with both Wendy and Danny desperately trying to get away from the murderous Jack, who has succumbed to the Overlook’s evil influence.

When the story and setting of The Shining start to give you a chill, you can enjoy a warm, bracing custom cocktail created by Orlando bartender Jessica Doten. Jessica started practicing her craft in 2006 at a college-town bar in upstate New York, and now works in one of the bustling centers of American tourism. A self-proclaimed Pokemon master, she has spent the COVID-19 shutdown honing her craft, providing virtual lessons and learning to play the ukulele.

She is very excited to be a part of Boos and Booze and is enjoying flexing her creative muscles by creating some fun and exciting cocktails. She hopes to introduce readers to combinations they may have never tried before.