Blood Lab

I thought it was going to be a simple matter of adding twice as much cold water as usual to cherry JELL-O mix, but it turned out that making drinkable "blood" that is, matching the color, opacity and viscosity of blood in a delish, seasonally appropriate cocktail was far more complicated than I thought.

The thinned JELL-O came out too clear and globby, so I added a little chocolate syrup (the blood double in Psycho, according to my spouse, who used to work at a visual effects company), and the flow and color improved instantly. However, I couldn’t help but make a face while tasting it. "Hey, it’s not bad," my husband proclaimed, trying to be supportive. "Kind of like liquid cherry-flavored Tootsie Rolls." As though that was something you might actually voluntarily drink a glass of.

Read on for more blood and guts…

Glass of Blood

And thus began four nights of drinkable "blood" experiments,
involving two flavors of Kool-Aid, three varietals of red wine,
cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, tomato juice, corn syrup, cornstarch, cocoa, flour, honey, milk, sweetened condensed milk, coconut
milk, orange juice, raspberry sorbet, strawberry syrup, grenadine and
two vials of red food coloring.

Oh, playing mad scientist had its moments. Like when I got all giddy
to discover that both cherry and black cherry Kool-Aid mix look exactly
like blood when just a little water is added. The only problem?
Extremely strong Kool-Aid tastes disgusting. Cornstarch added to wine
or pomegranate juice was another viscous contender (as it happens,
blood’s not just thicker than water; it’s also thicker than wine and
juice) and even tasted pretty good, but in the end I just couldn’t
shake the feeling I was drinking cherry pie filling.

Soon my kitchen counter laboratory was overrun with glasses and cups
and bowls filled with teaspoons of liquid in shades of every red in the
Crayola box. I took to testing new creations by dripping drops of them
on the back of my hand. Did they look realistically gory or like I’d
been caught with my fingers in the grape jelly jar? But after countless
concoctions, flashes of inspiration and hours of trying this, that, and
what if I added a spoonful of strawberry syrup, nothing seemed up to
snuff. My drinkable blood sucked. Was the traditional Bloody Mary
(which, ahem, is really quite orange) the closest I could come?

But then I started thinking about how the word for sangria comes from sangre,
the Spanish word for blood. What if I skipped the fruit pieces and
focused on making my Halloween version as bloody good as I could? Okay,
you won’t attract any sharks with this recipe if you pour it on your
hand. But in the glass, it makes a pretty convincing fake and it’s
sure to satisfy your most bloodthirsty guests.

Bloody Good Sangria

  • 6 cups cheap red wine (the redder the better — try zinfandel, pinot noir or chianti)
  • 2 1/2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups grenadine
  • 18 drops of red food coloring

Mix well in a large pitcher. Serve chilled or warmed to 98.6 degrees.

Think you can come up with a recipe for an even better blood doppelganger you can drink? Share it here!