Halloween Cocktails – 2018

♫ This is Halloween, this is Halloween, pumpkins scream in the dead of night ♫

I genuinely consider The Nightmare Before Christmas to be both a Halloween and Christmas film. How many other films could it possibly share that with? Not only that, but it’s a great film so boom, there, said it.

Anyway, moving on to the actual meat and potatoes of this post:

HALLOWEEN THEMED DRINKS! ♥

Yes, it’s that time of year again. There’s 3 types of people; those who go out in fancy dress and get absolutely hammered bar crawling, those who lock the doors and turn off the lights so they can pretend they’re not home, and those who enjoy a good fright fest with snacks and maybe, just maybe, some spooktacular drinks. Fancy dress is optional for the last one.

In my house, we are absolutely the latter. I love, love, LOVE Halloween. This year, I’m dressing up for work – which is already decorated for Halloween – as Alice Liddell from Alice: Madness Returns, and then when I get home it’s time to sit back with some scary films (or possibly scary games if I feel brave enough) and a couple of drinks. I’m even going to attempt a pumpkin pie so I can make one for the office on Halloween. Ain’t life grand?

Naturally, with Halloween a little only days away it was time to get our boozy thinking caps on and try our hand at some themed drinks for the special occasion.

Now, there’s plenty of existing drinks out there which are plenty appropriate – I’m looking at you Alien Brain Hemorrhage – and by all means, you should absolutely make them too. We’re going to, but why not challenge yourselves to craft something a bit different?

2 spooks 4 me

Frankenstein’s Monster

Ingredients: 1 ½ ounces vanilla vodka, 1 ½ ounces Irish Cream liqueur, 1 ½ ounces white crème de cacao, ½ ounce double cream with a 6ml syringe of crème de menthe

Method: Shake all the ingredients – barring the crème de menthe – together and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add the syringe of mint liqueur on top and allow the drinker to add it themselves.

This is quite a fun one; my husband wanted to make a skin coloured drink that had a syringe of green booze to give it a sort of decayed hue, reminiscent of Frankenstein’s famous monster. The added bonus is that the Irish Cream liqueur is obviously thicker than the crème de menthe, so the mint liqueur leaves a trail in the drink as you squeeze the syringe in. The mint itself is also quite delightful – it really lifts the whole drink to a beautiful light flavour rather than getting you bogged down with too much creaminess.

Coagulation

Ingredients: 1 ½ ounces cranberry juice, 1 ½ ounces white rum with a 20ml syringe of crème de cassis and Irish Cream liqueur (3 to 1 ratio).

Method: Pour the cranberry juice and white rum into a cocktail glass. Pour the Irish Cream liqueur into a small mixing glass and add the crème de cassis on top. Syringe some of the mixture from the second glass into the 20 ml syringe and place next to the drink for the drinker to add themselves.

So, this drink was designed to look like coagulated blood, because who doesn’t love a bit of that at Halloween? I’ll hold my hands up and say that it didn’t work out perfectly, but I still think it looks pretty cool. More like scar tissue than blood, but oh well.

Maybe I should have called it Scar Tissue instead? I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong so I’ll keep the OG name in the spirit of things. I personally love the shimmery effect that the Irish Cream liqueur and crème de cassis have in the syringe. It’s so fun to look at, and y’all know Halloween needs a bit of sparkle. I feel like it’s quite thematic to go from a cute looking syringe to a horrific gloopy mess…right?

The drink itself is pretty easy-going and a good all-rounder with a simple fruity flavour. Definitely one you can have more than a couple of, if you’re so inclined.

Black Cat

Ingredients: 2 ounces vanilla vodka, 1 ounce crème de cassis, 1 ounce cherry brandy and 2 ounce dark crème de cacao.

Method: Shake all the ingredients together and strain into a cocktail glass.

This was my second favourite cocktail of the evening. I wanted to take a step away from all the blood-and-gore themed drinks and do something a bit left field; in all the Halloween decorations you see in the shops, you can always guarantee that there’ll be an abundance of black cat themed items, and to be honest it seemed like a challenge to craft something feline-esque.

The fundamental aspect of the drink was that it had to be as dark as possible. I wasn’t sure if we could make it 100% black, but I knew that we had plenty of dark liqueurs that we could get something that would stand up to scrutiny – unless you hold it up to the light. So please don’t do that.

The Black Cat tastes like something straight out of a box of chocolate – chocolatey, boozy and sweet with fruit, it’s so moreish. Served in the beautiful opalescent coupe glass, it looks so feminine and delicate – just like a black cat prowling on Halloween.

NAILED IT.

Radiation

Ingredients: Simple syrup, Limoncello and vodka.

Method: Layer the three ingredients in the order given equally in a shot glass. Down in one and enjoy!

Is it even Halloween if you don’t some awesome shots? Similar to the Black Cat, I wanted to think outside of the box so I give to you; Radiation. This is a layered shot which adds some theater to the occasion, and the combination of lemon and simple syrup is both balanced and tasty. Given the complexity of the construction, you may want to prep these beforehand but it is worth it!

The picture on the left shows all the distinctive layers, but I did a variation on the right where I let the top two layers muddle to make the radiation look like it’s spreading through the drink. Fun, huh?

Poison Apple

Ingredients: 1 ounce apple juice, 1 ½ ounce apple schnapps, 1 ½ ounce Midori with a 6ml syringe of lemon juice

Method: Shake the first 3 ingredients together and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with a syringe of lemon juice for added zing.

Snow White is nowhere near the top of my favourite fairy tales, but damn if it doesn’t have some good ideas. The crispness of the apple juice and apple schnapps mixes perfectly with the ‘poison’ lemon juice – although you can use anything sour so feel free to mix it up with lime juice or sour mix – which results in a good drink that has a gentle flavour on the palate. Like the Coagulation cocktail, this will be one to have throughout the evening.

Transfusion

Ingredients: White crème de cacao and vodka in equal measures with a 6ml syringe of dark crème de cacao and grenadine

Method: Shake the first 3 ingredients together and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with a syringe of lemon juice for added zing.

Yes, more shots! This was another of my husband’s creations; he wanted a clear shot with a syringe of blood-like liquid so that when you emptied it into the shot glass you could see it mix in full splendor. Added bonus that it looks like clouded blood at the end. Taste wise, it’s pretty damn delicious, if sweet, and quite surprising if you don’t know what’s in it – how many people would look at a clear/red shot and think it’ll taste like chocolate?! This is a perfect shot to greet guests with if you’re hosting a party.

Blood Soaked Martini

Ingredients: Perfect Martini (2 ounces gin, ½ ounce dry vermouth and ½ ounce sweet vermouth) with a syringe of lychee liqueur and blueberry syrup in equal measures

Method: Pour a Perfect Martini into a martini glass – obvs – and serve with a 1ml syringe of lychee liqueur and blueberry syrup.

So the thought process behind this one was somewhat similar to the Transfusion shot; I wanted a martini to have a red gradient effect to look like blood pooling in the bottom of the glass. Simple, yet effective. Unlike the Transfusion however, I wanted the bulk of the drink to stay clear as I thought it looked striking especially when held, which is why only a milliliter of the lychee and blueberry syrup mixture is required.

I also wanted to keep the elegance of a pure martini but add a twist to it, and what better way than with the oft-underused lychee? It gives the drink hints of floral notes, which marries well with the clean martini flavour.

Pumpkin Spice Espresso Martini

Ingredients: 2 ounces pumpkin spice espresso, 2 ounces vanilla vodka, ½ ounce Tia Maria, 1 ounce RumChata

Method: Brew 2 ounces of pumpkin spice espresso and leave to cool. Shake with the rest of the ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy!

Last, but absolutely not least is my favourite of the whole evening: the Pumpkin Spiced Espresso Martini. Yes, I know I know – as soon as October rolls around the world becomes obsessed with pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING, but you can’t deny that it’s delicious, and so very in keeping with the holiday season. I don’t know what it is about the flavour of pumpkins, but it makes everything taste that bit more interesting – personally, I think it’s the somewhat savoury nature of the flavour that just somehow works. No questions asked, it plays.

When you think of ‘pumpkin spiced’ I’m willing to bet that a good chunk of us think of either pumpkin pies or, more likely, pumpkin spiced lattes (we can thank Starbucks for that obsession) that everyone and their dog seems to drink these days. I’m not knocking it though; although I hadn’t tried a PSL until a month ago, I’m willing to admit that it flipping beautiful, and I kinda crave another. I’m also willing to admit that Starbucks does them best, sugar content be damned.

The not-so-humble Pumpkin Spiced Latte was the inspiration for this drink; if I think of coffee and alcohol together, my mind instantly goes to the Espresso Martini. It’s a classic! Caffeine and booze, what more could you ask for? Well, it just so happens that if you use PUMPKIN SPICED GROUND COFFEE (thank you, our lord and saviour TK Maxx for stocking Granda Kaffe, £4.99)  and use that as the espresso element of the Espresso Martini…. well, goddamn magic happens, that’s what. With the spiced creaminess of the RumChata it’s sheer perfection, as clichéd as that sounds – but then again, so is the au natural Espresso Martini.

Long story short, stop reading and go make this.

Right now.

Off you pop.

Thoughts, feedback or have your own recipe? Let us know here!