In Good Spirits
Story and Photography by Cheré Coen
October is the best time to chase ghosts at the Myrtles Plantation and to try the specialty cocktail in their honor.
It was the apex of summer and mixologist Ashley Vezina was busy creating refreshing craft cocktails at the Myrtles Plantation’s Restaurant 1796. With temperatures in St. Francisville, Louisiana, reaching toward the high 90s, most visitors were choosing the coconut and blueberry-flavored Azalea drink or the spicy Smoky Magnolia with its Mezcal, crushed pineapple, Triple Sec and simple syrup accented with fresh mint and jalapenos. But Vezina’s thoughts were already turning to fall, the busiest time of year for the full-service bed-and-breakfast inn.
That’s because the Myrtles is known for its ghost inhabitants — about 10 different spirits haunt the Louisiana plantation, according to General Manager Morgan Moss. The plantation has been labeled “America’s Most Haunted House,” which makes October the busiest month for the inn that also offers house tours. Moss estimates that more than a thousand visitors arrive each weekend in October, the month that ends in All Hallow’s Eve, in the hopes of seeing one of the ghosts, viewing the blood still lingering on the staircase or catching one of the children reported to routinely roam the property.
Naturally, those visitors will be in search of other spirits — the alcoholic kind — and Vezina is there to help. The Michigan native created “A Ghost Chaser” cocktail to keep visitors in the mood, a creamy combination of Godiva Chocolate and Bayou Rum’s Satsuma liqueurs with Rumchata and Half and Half, the rim lined with caramel syrup that drips down the glass, adding to that ghostly feeling. A blood red drizzle of Luxado cherry juice on top adds an ominous feel.
Vezina started working at Restaurant 1796 when it opened in February. The Myrtles’ old restaurant burned in 2017 and the new incarnation with a nod to the plantation’s origin features a roaring 10-foot hearth that’s perfect for a chilly fall visit. The restaurant’s bar overlooks the patio and fountain and on fall evenings the bar’s Dutch doors open to let in the cool night air. Visitors may also choose to take their spirits outside in case a ghost happens by.
As for Vezina, she’s seen the “shadow man” appear in the window of the main house, heard knocking on the wall opposite the bar when no one was there. One night she swore there were kids playing on the grounds outside but a peek found the place empty.
Is the Mrytles the most haunted place in America? You be the judge.
A Ghost Chaser
1 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 ounce Rumchata
1 1/2 ounce Bayou Rum’s Satsuma Rum Liqueur
1 ounce Half and Half
Luxardo cherry juice to drizzle
Directions: Combine the first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker and mix. Pour the caramel syrup on to a plate and dip a coupe cocktail glass upside down in the syrup to line the rim of the glass, letting the caramel drip down the sides when the glass is right side up. Pour the mixture from the shaker into the glass and drizzle the top with the Luxardo cherry juice on top.Read More in DeSoto Magazine online.