Drink of the Week: Tru Blood Cocktails at Alex's Bar

If you're susceptible to the allure of cheap entertainment, chances are you've already fallen prey to HBO's titillating vampire saga, True Blood. With every episode packed to maximum capacity with sex, drugs, and ingenious cliffhangers, it isn't hard to get hooked.

Too bad the same can't be said for the novelty Tru Blood drink launched by HBO's marketing team to appease the demand of fans desperate to sink their teeth into Bill Compton's drink of choice. For those unfamiliar with the show, the fictional Tru Blood is a synthetic blood drink that allows vampires to sustain themselves without their human hosts. Apparently it tastes like crap and not much more can be said for its novelty counterpart.

A sugary concoction of random vitamins and artificial blood orange flavoring, novelty Tru Blood tastes as synthetic to humans as the fictional drink must taste to vampires. As you can probably imagine, this does not bode well for the new Tru Blood cocktails. But despite their almost unpalatable flavor, they are fangtastically fun and what better place to suck on a Tru Blood cocktail than on set at Alex's Bar in downtown Long Beach!

If you weren't already in the know, Alex's Bar is the actual venue used to film True Blood's Fangtasia vampire nightclub scenes in seasons one and two. Their dim red lighting and walls cluttered with vintage liquor plaques and local mixed media art create the perfect ambiance in which to play vampire for the night and toss back some Tru Blood cocktails. We sampled the three most popular varieties and found the following:

The Plasmapolitan

If you've ever had a regular cosmopolitan cocktail, you pretty much know what to expect. The Plasmapolitan is made with the same base ingredients of Cointreau and lime juice, but uses Citron lemon flavored vodka and replaces the cranberry juice with Tru Blood. Cointreau is the dominating flavor and hits you with an intense initial sweetness that coats your mouth with an almost medicinal quality. Cranberry juice works to counterbalance this effect by adding a cleansing tartness to the drink, but this unfortunately does not happen when replaced with Tru Blood. Not only does the Tru Blood intensify the sweetness of Cointreau, but completely overpowers the fresh lime juice and leaves you smacking your lips with the aftertaste of Flintstones chewable Vitamins.

The Fangbanger

A simple mix of vodka and Tru Blood, the Fangbanger is a step up from the Plasmopolitan because it actually tastes like it's supposed to… Cactus Cooler. If you're not a fan of the artificially flavored orange soda, you're not going to like this drink. Tru Blood is supposedly blood orange flavored, but the it tastes about as much so as a green Jolly Rancher tastes like real apple. In addition to this, despite packing 24 grams of genuine refined sugar, the drink still manages to taste like it is sweetened with aspartame. This is possibly due to the presence of miscellaneous vitamins added to give you a boost of energy. If you order this drink, make sure to request premium vodka, otherwise the bartender will default to the cheap well vodka which only adds to the mess by adding an acrid bite.

Death on the Beach

The best of the bunch, Death on the Beach is a mixture of Tru Blood, vodka, peach schnapps, and pineapple juice. This is also a very sweet cocktail, but the real pineapple juice manages to buffer Tru Blood's synthetic “orange” flavor and the peach schnapps leaves you with a pleasant aftertaste. The effect is like drinking a glass of liquefied Haribo gummy bears.

Honestly, these cocktails are a hangover waiting to happen, but $5 a glass isn't much to pay for the amusement of feeling like a part of your favorite show. Be nice to the bartender and they might even let you keep the awesome bottle as a souvenir. Cheers!

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