Let the little ones have their candy because the best Halloween treats don’t come in fun-size wrappers or boxes. An adult beverage is the way to go, and you can have even more fun if you embrace the spirit of the holiday. Some like their drinks sweet. Some like them savory. A few even go for something with spice. These seven cocktails cover all the bases, so there’s something for everyone. One sip will prove Halloween definitely isn’t just for the kids.
1. The Bone
Adding a little bit of Halloween flair to a drink can be as simple as shaking in a few dashes of hot sauce. The condiment adds a bit of heat that’s always appropriate for ghoulish drinks. We like this simple concoction from Esquire. Just shake, strain, and sip.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
- 3 dashes hot sauce
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until well combined, strain into a glass, and serve.
2. Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater
Pumpkin butter is sort of a misleading term because the spread is more akin to a jam. It’s usually made by cooking down puréed pumpkin, sugar, and the typical lineup of fall spices. You can find it in just about any grocery store once fall rolls around, or you can also make it at home. It’s great on toast and the like, but it’s also ideal for seasonal cocktails.
Whether you go the homemade route or opt for something from the store, be sure to put your pumpkin butter to use in this spirited drink from mixologist Johnny Swet, which he shared with Imbibe Magazine. The spices play nicely with the richness of port while bitters offer balance. You may end up always drinking your pumpkin from now on.
- 2 ounces applejack
- 1 ounce tawny port
- 2 barspoons pumpkin butter
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- Orange twist
Directions: Combine applejack, port, pumpkin butter, and bitters in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with orange twist, and serve.
3. Bloody Black Currant Punch
Some people go all-out with a festive punch made from dozens of ingredients and dry ice to create a smoking effect. It just seems like a lot of work for drinks. Batch cocktails are meant to make things easier on hosts, not more difficult. For a simpler approach to entertaining, go for Martha Stewart Living’s deep, dark punch. This four-ingredient recipe requires almost no effort, and you can make it up to three days in advance. Cheers to that.
- 1¼ cups brandy
- ¼ cup sugar
- 4 cups black currant nectar
- 1½ cups cold seltzer
Directions: Stir brandy and sugar in a large bowl to combine. Add nectar, and stir. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. If desired, mixture can be stored in the fridge in a covered, airtight container for up to three days. Just before serving, add seltzer.
4. Black Devil Martini
Not everyone wants a Halloween cocktail with a sugar level to match the sweetness of candy. This twist on a martini from the America Professional Bartending Schools of Illinois in Chicago, featured on Cooking Channel, is the perfect way to enjoy a cocktail without experiencing a sugar overload. The usual gin is replaced with rum for a deeper flavor and an eerie look. Black olives complete the theme.
- 2 ounces dark rum
- ½ ounce dry vermouth
- Black olive
Directions: Stir rum and vermouth in an ice-filled glass. Strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with olive, and serve.
5. Smoky, Hot Scotch Apple Cider
Give hot cider a distinctly adult feel with Chowhound’s whiskey-spiked recipe. It’s warming both from the temperature as well as the booze, making it perfect for a chilly fall evening. Opt for maple syrup in place of the honey for more of a smoky feel.
If you’re serving a crowd, go ahead and make a big batch of hot cider without the alcohol. Leave out a bottle of both types of whiskey for friends to spike their own drinks. Make sure to have measuring spoons and jiggers on hand, because freely pouring peated whiskey is a good way to ruin this beverage.
- ½ cup apple cider
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- 1 (1-by-2-inch) lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons single-malt whiskey
- ¼ teaspoon heavily peated Scotch whiskey
- 1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions: Heat apple cider, honey, cinnamon, and lemon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until honey is dissolved and cinnamon is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add both whiskeys and lemon juice. Stir until combined, then pour into a heatproof glass. Serve.
6. Iron Complex
Sage and ginger lend a huge dose of aromatic appeal to this delicious cocktail from bartender Revae Shneider, featured by the Chicago Tribune. As for the Halloween theme, it comes when you drizzle in a little bit of red cherry lambic. The beer also adds some fizz and a bit of tartness. Though you can buy ginger syrup, it’s a cinch to make at home. Just bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil and add some fresh ginger slices. Let the mixture steep off the heat for about 30 minutes, then strain out the ginger.
- 3 ounces Scotch whiskey
- 1½ ounces ginger syrup
- 1½ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
- 5 sage leaves
- Cherry lambic
Directions: Combine Scotch, ginger syrup, lime juice, and sage in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake for 30 seconds. Pour into an ice-filled glass. Hold a spoon over the drink, back-side facing up. Slowly pour cherry lambic over the spoon to let it drizzle into the drink. Serve.
7. Spiced Chocolate
For the those with a sweet tooth, this spicy chocolate cocktail from Patrón Tequila, featured on Liquor.com, is even better than a candy bar. It’s rich, creamy, and packs a pretty good kick from the chiles and tequila. Try other types of dried chiles for different flavor profiles. Ancho is a good choice for those who don’t like things too spicy, and chipotle adds a little bit of smoky flavor.
- 1 ounce coffee liqueur
- 1½ ounces reposado tequila
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes, plus more
- ¾ ounce dark chocolate liqueur
- Whipped cream
Directions: Add both liqueurs and tequila to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, then strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with whipped cream and red pepper flakes.