Spooky Cocktails: Because Halloween isn’t Just for Kids
Its nearly that time of year…Actually, it been that time of year since vampire mania started in 2008… Anyway, its nearly halloween, and as the title suggests, it isn’t just for kids.
One great way to make halloween truly fang-tastic for everyone is cocktails!
So, may I present you with my guide to making some vampy cocktails (for adults and kids)!
There are no set recipes when making a halloween cocktail as such, but the following guide will give you an idea as to what stuff will make a halloween party, or just a night in watching one of the latest vampire phenomenons more fun!
To buy any of the drinks mentioned in the list, you can google it, go to a local specialist alcohol shop or try your local supermarket – larger stores are more likely to stock a wider range of alcohol, as are European supermarkets like Lidl, Netto and Aldi.
- CAMPARI – A bitter Italian drink made with herbs and fruit. Has a distinct deep red colour. 20.5% – 28% ABV
- RED VERMOUTH – The sweetest variety of Vermouth available. Has a sweet, but slightly medicinal taste due to the herb infusions, and tastes similar to weak wine. 15% ABV
- RED CURACAO – Similar to the common Blue Curacao, and the less common Green Curacao and Orange Curacao, this beverage has a delicate, slgihtly bitter, slightly tart, subtle taste. 25% ABV
- CHERRY BRANDY – A drink of German origin, made by fermenting whole sour cherries in Brandy. Traditional Cherry brandy has virtually no sweetness, and has a slightly sour, almond taste (from the cherry stones). 25% – 40% ABV
- CHERRY SOURZ – Part of the Sourz collection, this drink has quite a sweet and sour taste with good flavour. It makes a great mixer and is also very drinkable neat. 15% ABV
- VARIOUS FLAVOUR LIQUEURS (STRAWBERRY, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, CRANBERRY) – They usually have a sweet taste, with a slight tartness and bitterness. There are different varieties of fruit liqueur, including the fruit puree mixed with the alcohol, fruit fermented with the alcohol, and fruit juice concentrate blended with the alcohol. 10% – 40% ABV
- VARIOUS FLAVOUR VODKA MIXES (STRAWBERRY, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, CRANBERRY) – These are similar to the liqueurs, but the fruit product is blended with vodka specifically, and usually have a much higher alcohol content. They are generally much fruiter than the liqueurs, but less sweet. 30% – 40%
- VARIOUS FLAVOUR SPIRITS (STRAWBERRY, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, CRANBERRY) – Very, very similar to the liqueurs. The distinction between liqueurs and spirits is that liqueurs contain added sugar whereas spirits do not, so the spirits are slighly less sweet. 10% – 40% ABV
- RED ABSINTH – WARNING VERY HIGH ALCOHOL CONTENT – Similar to its cousing, absinth, red absinth has a very unique cinnamon flavour, and whilst the alcohol gives it an acute sharpness, it is also very delicate and fine in flavour. 60% – 70% ABV
- RED WINE – A classic red drink made from fermenting crushed grapes with yeast to form alcohol. Its taste varies depending on the grape and/or yeast variety used, and the time it is left to ferment for. 5% – 30% ABV
- RED SAMBUCA – Exactly the same taste as the traditional sambuca, but with a distict red colour. Sambuca is an aniseed liqueur. 40% ABV
- WHISKY – A golden brown coloured alcohol made from fermented, mashed grains. There are strict laws governing the whisky making process, paticularly in Scotland. Whisky has a very musky, aged tasted which comes from the grains and aging in oak barrels. Its has a famous heat when drunk. Very ideal for a bit of fire in the drinks.
- EVERCLEAR – WARNING HIGH ALCOHOL CONTENT – The most alcoholic drink legally sold in the world, this is made with pure ethanol and water. This is for those who really want some fire in their drink. It is available in two strength varieties. 59% & 95% ABV
- RUM – WARNING HIGH ALCOHOL CONTENT – There are many varieties of rum including white rum, golden run and dark rum. Rum is a reasonaably sweet liqueur made from fermented sugarcane and sugarcane products. This is generally of less than 50% ABV, but much tronger varieties are available. 30% – 80% ABV.
- GIN – A clear alcohol with a non-sweet, bitter yet smooth taste. It is made by fermenting Juniper berries with alcohol and other herbs, spices and botanicals such as citrus peel, cinnamon, nutmeg and saffron. 37.5% – 50% ABV
- SLOE GIN – Made in a similar process to gin, but made with blackthorn berries which give it a distinct and dark red-purple colour. The flavour is quite tart and sightly bitter, but sweet, subtle and delicate. 15% – 30% ABV (By the way, this is very nice with plain apple juice!)
- SOUTHERN COMFORT – A deep ginger colour, this has a distinctly fruity, sweet, spicy and musky scent. It is a mix of fruit, spices and bourbon, and as the name suggests, originates from southern USA. It also comes in read to drink cocktails, and is an ideal drink for lovers of True Blood, which like the drink, originates from the heart of the deep south in the USA. 15% – 50% ABV
- CREAMY LIQUEURS – For more authenticity, because blood isn’t tranparent and also if you like smoother or creamier drinks. Cookies and cream (I have only seen this one at Lidl, however), Baileys or toffee are flavours I would recommend. It also helps thicken the drink up a little. 15% – 30% ABV
- GRENADINE – A very, very, very sweet fruity syrup with a strong scarlet red colour. Ideal to add some colour to a drink, or sweetness if you find your drink is too sour, butter or just lacking something sweet
- FRUIT JUICE (STRAWBERRY, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, CRANBERRY, GUAVA, RED GRAPE, BLOOD ORANGE JUICE, TOMATO) – Slighty sweet and fruity, but different varieties have different qualities; cranberry juice is not so sweet, quite sharp, tart and has a thin consistency, whereas guava juice is very sweet, smooth, delicate and quite thick in consistency
- CARBONATED DRINKS (CHERRYADE, PINK LEMONADE, STRAWBERRY LEMONADE, VIMTO, LEMONADE, IRN BRU, GINGER BEER, COLA E.C.T.) – Great for adding a sweet fizz to your drinks!
- FRUIT SQUASH (STRAWBERRY, CHERRY, RASPBERRY, CRANBERRY, GUAVA, RED GRAPE, BLOOD ORANGE JUICE) – Great for kids if they want carbonated water and fruit squash, but for the adults, these can be great additions to alcoholic cocktails, or toplain shots (i.e. vodka) to give them a new flavour, or just nice to add a little flavour to a cocktail (Vimto have just released a gorgeous new cherry Vimto, which I recommend)
- ENERGY DRINK – Golden in colour, but can be disguised by grenadine or food colouring, and makes a fantastic alternative to alcohol for drivers or people who don’t drink; you get the highs that come with alcohol, but you don’t consume any alcohol. It also keeps you going through the night, which is good considering halloween is a nightime activity
- CHILLIES/TABASCO – Great for a kick of heat. Either add tabasco to a thick cocktail, or add some sliced chillies when you mix the cocktail and strain them out
- BLOOD ORANGE SLICES – The insides of blood oranges actually look like solidified blood, so look great as an alternative to lemon/lime/orange slices or wedges in your drink!
- FOOD COLOURING – Just to make your drink a little redder
- GLYCERINE – If you want to go the whole hog and give your drink a true blood like consistency, then warm a small amount of glycerine and add it to your drink, but you can do it cold as well. It’s a clear, odourless,very sweet, treacle-like substance used in pharmaceuticals, foods and drinks. It is often used as a substitute for sugar in the manufacturing industry because of its health benefits (it does not attack the teeth unlike sugar, and also, it does not raise blood sugar levels)
Anyway, so the basic theory behind these cocktails, is choose an alcholic drink/some alcholic drinks you like, or that go well together, and then a non-alcholic drink or two (and not just greanadine on its own!), mix them, shake them, stir them or whatever and drink. Obviously aside from this list, there are plenty of other drinks you can use – things like schnapps, alcopops and so on an so fourth.
An example of a cocktail I would make could be – 2 measures of Southern Comfort, 1 measure of red vermouth, added to a mix of 200ml lemonade and 100ml Irn Bru, then to finish a few drops of red food colouring. I don’t know if it would taste good, prehaps you could let me know! It is inspired by True Blood – my theory behind it is that the south (the origin of True Blood) has very deep, earthy, spiced flavours that are bold and strong. So obviously, you have to start with Southern Comfort – the drink of the south. Then I put some red vermouth in there because it isn’t too strong, and it brings a slightly tart, slightly sweet, hint of fruitiness to the mix. Then lemonade, well its the classic mixer to go with SoCo, and I think having anything other than lemonade as a main mixer would be too overpowering. Then Irn Bru becuase its more of a background flavour and really enhances the spices of the SoCo whilst giving it a little tang of citrus to the drink. Irn Bru also goes excellently with whisky, and considering SoCo is a whisky liqueur, means logically, it should go very well with SoCo anyway!
Anyway, enjoy halloween guys. Have fun, but DRINK SENSIBLY!!!!! And if you aren’t going to drink sensibly, make sure you don’t make too much noise, don’t drink if you have kids, and do all the un-sensible drinking in your own home – its too cold to be wandering about in the streets drunkenly at midnight!!! Plus the kids that stay up to see halloween out might actually think you are a zombie who has risen from the dead and they may try to kick you! And trust me when crazy ass kids attack you because they think you’re a zombie, its not fun!