“True Blood Drinks & Bites” by Alan Ball, Gianna Sobol and Benjamin Hayes; Chronicle Books ($18.95)
There isn’t a great deal of cocktail drinking on “True Blood,” the HBO series, filmed around south Louisiana, and set in the vampire- and werewolf-infested town of Bon Temps. The vampires drink blood, or the synthetic version that gives the series, which airs Sundays on HBO, its name.
The humans drink mostly beer and the occasional spirit, as when Sam Merlotte caught his cook, Lafayette, drinking “the good tequila” after-hours during a recent episode.
Which means the cocktails in “True Blood Drinks & Bites” (Chronicle Books, $18.95), a novelty book released to coincide with the new season, are created (by recipe developer Dawn Yanagihara) mostly for fan fun and don’t necessarily reflect the drinking choices of series protagonist Sookie Stackhouse and friends. (The book is credited to Alan Ball, the show’s creator and executive producer; Gianna Sobol, associated producer; and Benjamin Hayes, writers’ assistant.)
The slim volume is heavy with the color red — blood red. Nearly every drink is red or close to red, a hue imparted by an impressive range of ingredients: raspberries, blood oranges, pomegranate juice, cranberry juice, grenadine, cherry juice, Campari and sweet red vermouth. The gin-based MoonGoddess, colored by green chartreuse, is a notable exception to the theme.
Plenty of nonalcoholic punches and such are offered up along with the cocktails.
With lots of stills from the show, quotes from characters (“I tell you what, I am sick and tired of waiting around to get strangled,” Sookie says) and groan-inducing recipe names such as Arti-Choked-to-Death Dip (really?), the book is more campy curiosity than cookbook. Still, it might make a funny hostess gift for a “True Blood” viewing party. Maybe present it with a batch of Dead Red Cupcakes.