Halloween is the perfect time to get a little…. weird. So forget the Blue Moons and dry ice Kool-Aid punch. Let’s kick it up a notch with some serious cocktail recipes for this spooky season.
Starting off the list, something out of left field. The minds at the Aviary Cocktail Bar have a whole flight of Chartreuse infusions in their book of cocktail recipes, The Aviary Cocktail Book, not to mention what else they do with Chartreuse (does the word “pyrolyzing” mean anything to you?). But the Honeydew Chartreuse gets special mention due to its bright green hue, perfect for Halloween. The combination of Yellow Chartreuse, made with over 100 different plants and flowers, and sour lime juice, sweet honeydew melon and the grassy notes of Aloe Liquor is about as close as you can get to a true witch’s brew.
- 488 grams of Yellow Chartreuse
- 172 grams of honeydew melon juice
- 124 grams of of Chareau Aloe Liquor
- 184 grams of lime juice
- Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher or mixing bowl.
- Strain the mixture and chill thoroughly.
Yes, grams – very scientific, I know. You should read the rest of the book.
Niki’s Holiday Punch
This recipe works equally well for Halloween as it does for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Created by the beverage director of Manuela restaurant, Niki Kotantoulas, Niki’s Holiday Punch is designed to bridge the gap between Californian and Southern cuisine. The recipe appears in large batch size, making it perfect for parties. The choice of liquor is also left open, so you can mix and match to your liking.
- 1 gallon of fresh apple cider
- 1 to 1.5 bottles spirit of choice (depending how strong you enjoy your cocktails). This recipe works with aged rum, whisky, brandy, mezcal, or aged tequila.
- 1 quart of lemon juice
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 2 vanilla beans
- 20 dashes of Angostura Bitters
- 20 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
- 1 apple
- Pour one gallon of apple cider in a shallow pan and add the cinnamon sticks and split vanilla beans. Turn your burner on high and let the mixture reduce by half. (About 30 minutes).
- When finished, pour the hot cider reduction through a fine mesh strainer to remove any large particles.
- Add in the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Let the mixture cool.
- In a large punch bowl, add in your spirit of choice, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and bitters. You may need to add more or less sugar to taste.
- Add one quart of ice cubes to the mixture to water down to the correct ratio and to chill the punch. Let the ice cubes melt. Add a large ice cube 15 minutes before serving . (You can prep this out by freezing a large 6×6 Tupperware of water the night before).
- Take a whole apple and cut it into wheels, longways. Dust with cinnamon and sugar and then char on a grill. Garnish the punch with these slices.
A fair bit of work, but well worth it.
Crossing the flavor and color spectrum, we have another drink that is perfectly suited to Halloween. The El Guapo cocktail utilizes the syrup of prickly pears (you can find it online) to get is fluorescent pink color. But it’s not all looks and no substance. The balance of acidity and sweetness is top notch, and a good, crisp ginger beer makes all the difference. This is a great drink to make for Dia de los Muertos as well. This recipe was adapted from supercall.com.
- 2 oz of tequila
- ½ oz of prickly pear syrup
- ¾ oz of lime juice
- Ginger beer to top
- 1 lime wedge
- Shake tequila, prickly pear syrup and lime juice with ice.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
- Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
Keep a couple of the cactus needles and paddles if you can get them and you got yourself a nice little voodoo set going.
While it’s named after its infamous hangover effects rather than its inherent spookiness, the Zombie still makes the list on name alone. Besides, you’re really only a few cherry eyeballs and floating plastic spiders away from making anything fit a Halloween theme. The mix of rums and juice is a classic combination, perfect for punch bowl serving. Try it with Ableforth’s Rumbullion, a spiced dark rum with notes of apricot and orange peel. You can find our review and score of Ableforth’s Rumbullion on our Spirits Review page.
- 10oz of Ableforth’s Rumbullion
- 10oz of light rum
- 10oz of apricot liquor
- 20oz of orange juice
- 5oz of lime juice
- 10 dashes of lime bitters
- Orange slices and cherries for garnish
- Bacardi 151
- Combine light rum, dark rum, apricot liquor, orange juice, and bitters in a large punch bowl.
- Chill until ready to serve.
- Add ice and garnishes. Keep a bottle of 151 handy to top off anyone dipping into the punch bowl.
Make it right, and there will be more zombies the morning after, than the night of Halloween.
By Aldo Moreno