We've teamed up with the GastroGays, everyone's favourite purveyors of food and booze themed fun, to bring you Halloween cocktails that are guaranteed to thrill and chill on this most hallowed of eves.
Pumpkin Spooked Espresso Martini
As the leaves turn brown and darkness descends each year, let's face it: pumpkin spice is the real phantom that terrorises the spooky season – are we right? Every drink seems to have a spiced undertone! So we wanted to add an All Hallow's twist to the traditional Espresso Martini, imbued with a heinous orange hue (and citrus flavour) alongside that abominable pumpkin spice blend.
For a classic Espresso Martini, omit the orange colouring, Cointreau and Bitters, but we love the orange at the bloody heart of this!
• Double measure (70ml) Vodka
• Double measure (70ml) Kahlua
• Single Measure (35ml) Cointreau
• Single Measure (35ml) Spiced Simple Syrup – see below
• Single measure (35ml) freshly-brewed espresso, chilled
• A drop of orange gel colouring (optional)
• Lots of ice
• Angostura Bitters (optional)
For the spiced simple syrup
• 2 sticks cinnamon, broken in half
• 3 green cardamon pods, crushed
• 1 clove
• Peel of half an orange
• 1 whole nutmeg
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1. The day before - or at least an hour before - the party, make your espresso – as many shots of it as you think you may need and allow to chill completely, this won't work with hot espresso fresh from the machine or moka pot. Also, make your spiced simple syrup. Once chilled, keep both in the fridge until used.
2. To make the spiced syrup, it works best if you happen to have any empty tea filters, basically tea bags without any filling, which are available in many supermarkets at the moment. Otherwise, a tea pot used for herbal and loose leaf teas can work too. Put all the the spices and the orange peel in the tea bag, and place into boiled water for 10 minutes. Once stewed, remove, pour the infused water into a saucepan with the sugar on a medium heat, bringing to the boil. When at temperature, it will start to bubble ferociously and reduce in volume. When it starts to look sticky, remove from the pan and into a jug able to take hot liquid. Leave to cool and if you want to continue the infusion, add the teabag back in. It won't be as sweet or sticky as a traditional simple syrup, mind you- we want the spices to come through! When cold, store in the fridge until needed.
3. In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka, Kahlua, coffee and Cointreau with a drop of food colouring and fill the shaker almost to the top with ice. Clamp on the lid and shake as vigorously as you can for 30 seconds. The key to getting a frothy head is keeping everything very cold, using lots and lots of ice and forcing lots of movement of air throughout the shaker's ingredients.
4. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass and you can add an optional freaky but fabulous addition of a 'blood splatter' of Angostura Bitters across the creamy top. Devilishly delicious!
2. Shrunken Head Punch
Every Hallowe'en party needs a great big punchbowl to punctuate proceedings and this is a fun, grown-up version. Somewhere between bobbing for apples and a hefty rum cocktail is our shrunken head punch, which is creepy and creative in equal measure. Sure to steal the show as a table centrepiece, you can bob for apple 'heads' if you like but we guarantee this crowd-pleaser cocktail will be all drunk up before the night's end. For an alcohol-free version, or a kids' version, simply use half cola and half ginger beer.
• 5 large cooking apples, peeled, halved and cored
• 2 large lemons, juiced
• 2 parts Dark Rum
• 2 parts pineapple Juice
• 4 parts ginger beer
• 4 parts (or topped up) with cola
1. To make the shrunken heads, on the curved part of the apple halves, use a teaspoon (both ends can work) to carve out scary, ugly or funny faces. When complete, immediately dump into a basin of cold water with the lemon juice and leftover peels. This step is crucial as it stops the apples entirely discolouring, though the carved bits of the apples will turn brown a little, which only adds to the ghoulish gore.
2. Assemble the punch ingredients by adding the rum and pineapple juice to a large punch bowl, followed by the ginger beer and cola – which will both leave an eerie 'scum' on the top of the mixture which isn't scum at all and is incredibly drinkable and delicious! The apple halves will float on the top of the punch for maximum spooooky effect. Cheers to that!
3. The Black Pearl
If your Monster Mash bash is going a bit 'Pirates of the Caribbean', this is the ideal drink to tempt your hearties. Sure to put the wind behind your sails, this is a dangerously dark cocktail with a bright orange edge. Yo, Ho, Yo, Ho, A Pirate's Life For Me….
• 3-4 fresh blackberries
• Juice of 1/2 lime, and one extra slice of lime
• Single measure Crème de Cassis
• Single measure fresh grapefruit juice
• Double measure vodka
• Granulated sugar
• Orange gel food colouring
1. Before making the cocktail, colour some granulated sugar with the tiniest drop of orange gel colouring. Keep stirring and mixing to make it orange, as pastel or electric as you like. Set to one side.
2. Muddle the blackberries at the bottom of a shaker until completely broken down. Add the vodka, Crème de Cassis, lime juice and grapefruit juice and top with ice. Attach the lid and shake vigorously for 25-30 seconds.
3. When just ready to serve, run the lime slice around the edge of the chilled martini glass and turn over into the coloured sugar to make an orange sugared rim.
4. Immediately strain the cocktail into the glass and serve with a blackberry garnish.
4. The Rum Swamp
Slimy creatures live in muddy waters. A dirty undergrowth littered with worms around icy rockery and goodness knows what else, but take a drink and you'll be pleasantly surprised! Refreshing and sweet, The Rum Swamp is minty fresh with a subtle, sharp bramble of bitterness.
• 6-8 fresh mint leaves
• 2 teaspoons of agave syrup
• 1/2 lime, cut again into 4 smaller slices
• 60ml dark rum
• 6 dashes of Angostura bitters
• ice cubes
• 1 pack of gummy worms or snakes (non sugar-coated ones)
1. Put the mint leaves, syrup and lime in the bottom of a your glass, and using a muddler (or the end of a wooden spoon if you haven't got one), muddle them all together, carefully, just until the mint is bruised and the juice of the limes has mostly come out.
2. Add the rum and the bitters and stir everything to combine
3. When serving, you want the worms to appear throughout the glass, so place one at the bottom of the glass, throw a few cubes in, add another worm or two in a different position, crawling up the glass, then pour over the drink. Top up with soda water if necessary.
4. For decoration, and to give it a bit of an abandoned Caribbean island vibe in homage to the rum, take some cocktail umbrellas and rip the paper off. Top with a sprig of mint. Alternatively, if you would rather use crushed ice, as is more traditional for a mojito style drink, mix the worms in with the ice before shovelling into the glasses and you can use a Nutribullet or similar to make the crushed ice.
If that's not enough to quench your thirst for the perfect Halloween drink, we don't know what is! But it might be available on Deliveroo.