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Weekend Sip: For a truly haunted Halloween, try sipping on this vodka possessed by a demonic doll

The bottle

Harridan Vodka Paranormal Reserve edition, $199

The back story

How about a little spirit, as in all things spooky, to go along with your bottle of spirits?

That’s the idea behind this new offering from Harridan, itself a fairly new vodka brand (it launched at the end of 2020). What makes this limited-edition bottle — only 666 are being sold — so haunted? The liquid is actually the same as what goes into the standard Harridan ($60), a twice-distilled organic vodka made from New York State-grown corn. But in this case the bottles were all “rested” for 30 days in the Occult Museum, located in Monroe, Conn. Specifically, they were positioned near the infamous Annabelle — a doll that is said to have strange and, yes, spooky powers. (Alas, it’s no longer possible to see Annabelle in person, since the museum is closed to the public, but you can always stream one of the Annabelle movies inspired by the doll.)

For Harridan founder Bridgette Taylor, the idea was essentially an extension of what Harridan is all about. The brand was inspired by her general interest in the occult and her perception that vodkas marketed to women often played into feminine stereotypes (think low-alcohol and pink bottles). So, Harridan goes the other way — it’s higher in alcohol (88 proof) than the norm and has an edge to its brand identity (the name itself gives you a clue — a harridan is defined as a bossy, older woman).

Taylor decided she would take things to the next level come Halloween time. She did a spooky-themed bottle last year that quickly sold out. This year, she wanted to expand her vision, so she got in touch with the folks behind the Occult Museum and inquired if her bottles could spend some time with Annabelle. Sure enough, they agreed. The final touch? The special edition bottles come in a wooden box inspired by the classic ouija board.

When a spirit meets spirits: Annabelle and the Harridan bottles.

Harridan Vodka

What we think about it

Who doesn’t love a good scare come Halloween? Admittedly, you’re paying a premium for this fright given that you can purchase the same Harridan vodka — sans the Annabelle experience — for much less. As far as the liquid itself, it’s a vodka slightly on the sweeter, fruitier side — Taylor says you can even pick up notes of bananas — that reflects a style when vodka isn’t distilled a gazillion times and actually expresses some honest-to-goodness flavor.

How to enjoy it

Taylor offers a really frightful suggestion: Use this “paranormal” vodka in a martini but add a pinch of activated charcoal to the cocktail to give it a very Halloween-inspired dark coloring. Also, if you have lots of cash and really want to take your scariness to the next level, Harridan is offering one bottle — for $13,000 — that was placed inside Annabelle’s protective case.

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