8 Halloween cocktail & wine ideas to spook up your party
We all love a costume drama, especially when the clocks turn back and the streets are blanketed in darkness ahead of a howling Halloween.
But creepy costumes, ghoulish get-ups and dastardly decorations aren’t the only way to delve into the dark side on October 31st. It’s only fitting that fright night tipples should exhibit the same measure of trickery and intrigue, especially with so many garishly gaudy and scary props at our disposal.
To mark the witching hour and whet your thirst for some nocturnal naughtiness, here’s how to raise the bar and style up your spread this halloween, to make the most of a haunted house…
1. M&S Blood Orange Negroni (£10, 35cl, Marks & Spencer, in store only)
Hocus-pocus! Ready-made and devilishly delicious on its own, this twist on a classic negroni has blood oranges in the mix. Just add ice and pour, or it can always be used as prerequisite to build on with a dash more Campari. Skull-shaped ice cubes and a Halloween cocktail stirrer would look fangtastic.
2. Steampunk Voodoo Spiced Rum (£25, 70cl, Steampunk.com)
Ready to fire up fright night with some black magic? Steampunk Gin has extended its range with this modern twist on a classic Caribbean spiced rum. A blend of dark rums infused with vanilla, ginger and a kick of black pepper, there’s spiced toffee on the nose with hints of cinnamon, and the soft and fruity character is best enjoyed on its own or paired with ginger beer, cola or a flavoured tonic, such as Lixir Blood Orange & Cinnamon Tonic (£1.30, 20cl, Gin Kiosk).
3. El Jimador Tequila Blanco Limited Edition Day of the Dead (£20, 70cl, Asda and Waitrose stores)
A tequila to get spirited away with, El Jimador has been clad in spine-chilling skeletons to bring some extra skulduggery to the party, and this simple serve is Mexico’s answer to a G&T.
El Jimador Paloma
Ingredients: 50ml el Jimador Blanco, 200ml. sparkling grapefruit, fresh lime, ice.
Method: Pour into a tall glass over ice, stir and garnish with a grapefruit wedge.
4. Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum (currently reduced to £16 from £19.50, 1L, Tesco)
With a black bat on the label and a vampire-esque cocktail worthy of a crypt or tombstone, this bloody tasty concoction is extremely refreshing and suits the most ghoulish dress code.
Ingredients: 50ml Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, 15ml St-Germain Elderflower liqueur, 20ml lime juice, 4 blackberries, 70ml ginger beer, white chocolate.
Method: Add all ingredients to a large wine glass, muddle the blackberries and fill up with crushed ice and give it a quick stir. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a few white chocolate shaves, fresh blackberry and a mint sprig.
5. Casamigos Blanco Tequila (£54.25, 70cl, The Whisky Exchange)
Perilously pricey but worth its limes, sales of this A-list agave (Casamigos was co-founded by George Clooney) have been going through the roof – and now the artisanal Casamigos Mezcal (£60.95, 70cl, The Whisky Exchange) is proving a favourite on the cocktail circuit.
Frightfully good, here’s how to combine their ‘best-tasting, smoothest tequila’ and ‘earthy, fruity, rich mezcal’ to recreate this creepy cocktail with a vibrant, smoky twist…
The Dark Side
Ingredients: 30ml Casamigos Mezcal, 15ml Casamigos Blanco, 15ml Absinthe, 30ml fresh lemon juice, 30ml simple syrup, 15ml egg white.
Method: Combine all ingredients into tin shaker and dry shake (no ice) for 4-6 seconds. Add ice then shake vigorously. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with dark chocolate (which we substituted for a 1/4 bar spoon of activated charcoal over the top of the cocktail, swirled with a skewer). Skull and black crow props optional.
6. Crystal Head Vodka Limited Edition John Alexander Gift Pack – ‘Dancing on the Water Lillies of Life’ (£99.95, 70cl, 31Dover.com)
With a new macabre look to celebrate Crystal Head’s 10th anniversary, this unique skull-shaped bottle will look decidedly eerie if you place it on the bar alongside some creepy cobwebs.
The first of their limited-edition Art Series Collection, the bottle is a replica of John Alexander’s oil on canvas painting, ‘Dancing on the Water Lillies of Life’, currently housed at the Dallas Museum of Art. Presented in a dark display case, jutting cheekbones morph into the curvature of ribs, halos surround the hollows of the eyes, and teeth intersect the reeds. Marvellously morbid.
7. 19 Crimes Red Wine 2017, South East Australia (Currently reduced to £7 from £8.98, Asda)
A good glug of red wine might inspire some frightful tales… Celebrating the rebellious spirit of British rogues who were guilty of at least one of 19 crimes and sentenced to live in Australia, rather than death, the offence here would be not to buy more of this crowd-pleaser (especially while it’s on special offer). A stern label with a soft centre, its red fruited nose and jammy, juicy fruits are enriched with sweet spice.
8. The Devil’s Peak Pinotage 2017, Western Cape, South Africa (£9.99, Virgin Wines)
And for a generous splash of spice and sorcery, this Prince of Darkness is a sumptuous, plummy red to really sink your teeth into. A plump, succulent wine, it’s vibrant and juicy with bold aromas of black cherries, plums and damsons, with similar flavours backed by soft tannins on the velvety smooth mouthfeel, finishing with a spicy kick on the tail. A sexy red devil to come home to.