Last week was all about planning comestibles for your Halloween Party. This week, let's move to potables. To those who scoff, "Halloween -- yet another excuse for feckless Americans to get their drink on," I reply, "You are not invited to my party." Besides, while Halloween certainly presents ample opportunities to try "spooky" cocktails, spirit-free libations can be just as fun. Here are ten Halloween drinks for adults, children and all those in between.
10. Brain Hemorrhage. Full disclaimer: This cocktail is my invention, but please don't let that turn you off. Inspired by an ice-cube tray that makes cubes shaped like skulls, I combined spiced rum with pineapple juice and coconut cream (which hides the skull until it starts to "bleed," i.e., melt). Serve to your neurotic friends.
9. Jones Halloween Soda. For a certain period of time, Jones Soda issued Halloween flavors annually. Then, that stopped for some reason, even though Halloween continued. Hmmm. Anyway, the themed mini-cans have emerged in flavors including Red Licorice, Candy Corn, Blood Orange and Caramel Apple. Another reality without explanation: They're available only at Target.
8. Candy Corn Jell-O Shots. It is increasingly coming to my attention that many people really hate candy corn. I don't know what happened in your childhood to make you loathe this perfectly inoffensive candy, but suspend your post-traumatic stress for a moment and give these shots a chance. They'll taste more citrus-y than corny.
7. "Scientist Potion." Dry ice is cool (pun intended), but educate yourself on proper handling before you construct these kid-friendly frothing beverages, or else you'll be celebrating Halloween in the emergency room. Once you've got that covered, use these drinks to show off in front of the other parents at the school party.
6. Floating Heads Punch. Possibly the creepiest Halloween beverage I have encountered on the interwebs, this Halloween punch looks like a bunch of shrunken heads floating in blood. It tastes delicious.
5. Devilish Manhattan. A lovely seasonal spin on a classic cocktail, the Devilish Manhattan burns with a cocoa sweetness thanks to the inclusion of Crave chocolate chili liqueur. But, much like the devil, this drink tends to sneak up on you, so go easy, tiger, and sip rather than gulp.
4. Graveyard Mud Brownie Milkshake. Hats off to Lizbeth McGow for this creative concoction; she also has a cool recipe for Zombie Skin Muddy Buddies. I love the combination of crunch (skeleton candy! cocoa puffs!) and cream (butter pecan ice cream) in this milkshake. Take Liz's suggestion and use chocolate milk for extra dirty richness.
3. Black Lagoon. Martha may be known for her rather intricate recipes with an excessive number of ingredients, and this cocktail is no exception. You'll need vodka (okay, I can buy that), lemon juice (ditto), rosemary-lemon syrup and licorice ice cubes. The final ingredient is key to ensuring the drink's darkening effect, and, along with the syrup, can also be reused in other drinks (for example, try dropping one cube in an otherwise neat glass of absinthe). Worth going the extra mile for a classy adult Halloween fete.
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2. Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer. The favorite fermented beverage of "a certain boy wizard," butterscotch beer, with its soft sweetness and non-syrupy consistency, will also please those who can't make the magic happen. It's officially unofficially also great with a splash of whiskey. And, in that vein...
1. Pumpkin Sour. The "pumpkin juice," I like to think, that you drink on graduation night from Hogwarts. I have tried many pumpkin-flavored mixed drinks in my lifetime and few actually taste like the squash (exception: the pumpkin margarita at Original Ninfa's). Note that in the directions it says one "heaping" spoon of pumpkin puree; that's key to making sure the pumpkin balances the bourbon. Still too stiff? Add more maple syrup.