Reviewing Hauntingly Good Spirits: A Historical Romp Through the Supernatural by Way of the NOLA Bar Scene

I was recently offered a cocktail book that was developed around the New Orleans (NOLA) bar scene, and the area’s reputation for being haunted. Aptly titled Hauntingly Good Spirits, “travel enthusiasts and Big Easy locals Christi Keating Sumich and Sharon Keating take you on a historical romp through the supernatural by way of the NOLA bar scene and its spirits…” I was interested in learning more about NOLA’s “cocktails to die for” as stated on the cover, so I requested a copy. My book review is below, and below that is information in italics from the website.

My Review

The glossy paperback is less than 150 pages long, with five sections that include eight recipes in each. At the end of each section is a short “Haunted History” essay with local sites to visit and why you should check them out. These stories, as well as the cocktails, interested me greatly.

After thumbing through the book, I chose a few recipes to try, noting that Absinthe – the Green Fairy – had a part in each of the ones I had selected. (I’m a fan of Absinthe and the last time I was in NOLA I spent some time trying the locate the best Sazerac in town!) I can’t repeat the recipes for these cocktails for you in my review, but further down you can find a list of just some of the cocktail recipes you will find in the book. If you are an Absinthe fan, don’t miss part one of the book where every cocktail incorporates Absinthe.

Every recipe faces a mouthwatering photo of the finished cocktail, complete with garnish and a hint of spooky fog in the background – nice touch! From the introduction you will learn why NOLA is called “The City of the Dead” and why caskets sometimes “drift away”. When a hurricane is forecasted it’s the liquor that the residents stock up on and there’s always plenty of people walking around with alcoholic beverages in their cups – hurricane pending or not. Because of the “thriving culture of death” there are plenty of “creepy” named cocktails to be had, and of course the very popular jazz funeral parties where deceased pals are sent off with a toast at the end.

The next section explains how to use the book, including the handy cocktail index, and the section after that has some cool and useful recipes for cocktail syrups. Part two is about their cemeteries, part three is ghost stories, part four is for vampire enthusiasts, and finally, voodoo and witchcraft is covered in part five. Look for the “libation Lagniappe” if you want “a little something extra” from the cocktail recipes. Locally made ingredients and spirits are recommended, and lastly, a map of the bars for your NOLA visit!

A snippet for you: As I mentioned above being an Absinthe fan that was the first story I thumbed over the pages to read, “Revival of the Fittest”. The Old Absinthe House is a place for ghost sightings of both Andrew Jackson and the pirate John Lafitte. Go to the Belle Epoque to see the original absinthe fountain, learn about the “second-line parade and dance” in the jazz funerals, and don’t look for the blue lights in Bayou Barataria to avoid sacrificed pirates protecting buried treasure!  A few more places to visit – and a couple not to visit – are mentioned, but again, I don’t want to give away too much! My recommendation: You must pick up this book, and try a few recipes,  before planning your next trip to NOLA.


Capture the paranormal essence of New Orleans in a glass with 40 tasty, gothic, and unique cocktails designed for Spooky Season and the great beyond.

Few places possess such a robust, thriving culture of death as does the soulful city of New Orleans. In this captivating cocktail book, travel enthusiasts and Big Easy locals Christi Keating Sumich and Sharon Keating take you on a historical romp through the supernatural by way of the NOLA bar scene and its spirits (the boos and the booze!) celebrating local New Orleans ingredients and the hometown mixologists who make them sing.

Separated into five sections—Reverence and Revelry, Cemetery Spirits, Ghosts & Haunted Libations, Vampire Bars with Killer Cocktails, and Voodoo & Witchcraft—Hauntingly Good Spirits unearths the eerie roots of the city’s culture as you savor spooky sips like:

  • Corpse Reviver
  • Spooky Smoked Sazerac
  • Soggy Grave
  • Deadly Vipers
  • Drunk Ghost
  • Mistakes Were Made
  • Bloody Gin Fizz
  • Fang-ria
  • Undead Gentleman
  • The Gris-Gris
  • Night Tripper
  • Saint 75
  • And more!

Work up a thirst by exploring all the spooky NOLA places mentioned in the Haunted History sections and reference the Spirit Guide map for their locations throughout the city.

Serving up cocktails that are delicious, steeped in spookiness, and historically accurate, let Hauntingly Good Spirits be your guide for your next trip to the City of the Dead during Spooky Season and beyond as you plunge into these decadent drinks and the creepy culture that inspired them.

Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email to ask a question about wine or spirits.