Food & Drink

Pour Out a Mother-In-Law Cocktail for Game of Thrones’ Badass Lady Boss

When it comes to Game of Thrones, no character is safe. In this series, writer and bartender Chris Vola crafts a cocktail and then pours one out for the major deaths in every episode of season 7 of Game of Thrones.

The Queen of Thorns was never one to mince words with fools.

Possessed of a sharp voice and an even sharper mind, Lady Olenna detested her intellectual inferiors (aka pretty much everyone else on the show) almost as much as those who would seek to harm her family. For decades, the de facto ruler of Highgarden embarked on a Tywin Lannister-esque mission to enhance the Tyrell brand, a campaign that culminated in her granddaughter Margaery’s ascension to the Crown.

To say that the Queen of Thorns was protective would be like saying Ramsay Bolton had daddy issues. In a move that rivaled many of Cersei Lannister’s most brutal plots, Olenna orchestrated the horrific poison-related death of her deranged grandson-in-law, King Joffrey, paving the way for Margaery to wed his easily manipulated, kitten-loving younger brother. But in the end, Lady Tyrell was no match for her more imaginative (and bloodthirsty) rival. She could only watch in horror as Cersei reduced her descendants to ashes and laid waste to the Tyrell army in its ancestral home.

Faced with the prospect of her own chemically expedited demise and the annihilation of her house, Olenna remained characteristically shrewd-tongued as she coldly admitted to Jamie Lannister that she killed his son/nephew saying, “Tell Cersei, I want her to know it was me,” causing viewers everywhere to nod in sad admiration of an undeniably badass woman.

According to Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, shortly before World War I, a New Orleans woman inherited a recipe for a whiskey drink from her mother-in-law, a concoction that was later popularized by the woman’s grandson, Brooks Baldwin. Originally meant to be stored in a lead crystal decanter—a vessel that has been scientifically proven to slowly poison its contents—the Mother-In-Law cocktail is a powerful blend of mostly bourbon and bitters, with a bite worthy of the most respected and feared relative-by-marriage in the Seven Kingdoms. Though its first sip is certainly astringent, the drink also features floral notes, and an herbal, citrusy finish that evokes the bountiful harvests for which the Tyrells and The Reach were best known—until the Mad Queen turned Highgarden into a garden of death.

Whether trying to come to terms with the loss of one of Westeros’ fiercest matriarchs, or prepping for a visit with the in-laws, the Mother-In-Law is a tasty, necessarily aggressive choice.


3 oz bourbon
1 bar spoon maraschino liqueur
1 bar spoon orange curaçao
1 bar spoon Amer Picon (or Amaro CioCiaro)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Brandied cherry, for garnish

Combine all ingredients save for the cherry in an ice-filled mixing glass.
Stir and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass.
Garnish with a brandied cherry.

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