If you're plotting a Halloween bash, you've probably already started thinking about your costume (and your dog's costume) and the deviled egg eyeballs you're going to prepare. Today, we'll help you get set up on the drinks front, from beer suggestions to scary DIY candy-flavored drinks to totally delicious pumpkin cocktails and other autumnal libations.
'Halloween' on Serious Eats
Which sweet wines work well with Halloween candy? Here are a few easy suggestions for what to drink with the candy you've collected.
By pairing pumpkin with bold spirits like bourbon and mezcal, these drinks highlight both the sweet and savory sides of fall's favorite gourd.
Quick: look over both shoulders. Are the kids out of the room? Great. Then listen up: you don't have to let the kids take Halloween away from you anymore. Once the kids are asleep, your Halloween can really begin, with these awesome (and weird) candy-infused spirits. The basic idea: take popular Halloween candy, dump 'em in a jar full of hooch, wait until it tastes great.
A few years ago, I visited mixologist Todd Thrasher at the cozy bar at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria, Virginia. Thrasher and the rest of Restaurant Eve's staff had just gotten into the bloody Showtime series "Dexter" and had created a few cocktails in the show's honor. One in particular stood out: a Cardamaro and vodka-based drink with a thick egg white layer sliced with a bright red streak of pomegranate molasses.
I work as a weekend door schlub at a bar near a fancy college, which means every year I spend the Saturday before Halloween reminding the world's smartest morons that their masks do not make them invisible so they still need to follow the standard rules regarding where to pee and whom to touch. And yes, cash only, even though you have a furry purple cape (we get a lot of King Fridays).
You had the decapitated mannequin in the front yard. The spooky lighting was lit. The creepy sound effects record from the 1960s was blaring from the turntable. You were set to scare the heck out of some unsuspecting trick-or-treaters and then reward their fearlessness with a bounty of sugary treats. The only problem was, not many kids showed up. Now what? You're stuck with buckets and bags full of candy. Might as well throw a party and serve all that candy with beer.
While we wouldn't necessarily recommend getting sloshed while you're manning the front door Halloween night, we must say: booze makes Halloween candy taste better. We recently pillaged the liquor cabinet to put this theory to the test, aiming to find the perfect match between a few classic Halloween candies their ideal spirit pairing. What should you drink with a Snickers? Which alcohol is best sipped with Junior Mints? We have all the answers for you here today.
There's just something cozy about pumpkin and spice, and once autumn's arrived, I want to cram pumpkin into everything I eat and drink. Getting pumpkin into a cocktail can be a little messy and goopy, so I like to whip up a batch of pumpkin liqueur to ensure that I can conveniently drink pumpkin pie cocktails for months to come. This recipe doesn't take long, so you can even finish it in time for that Halloween party you're having.
Brunch is a great reason to share a meal with friends and family—but it's also a great excuse to have a cocktail in the morning with no sense of guilt. These autumn-appropriate cocktails evoke October with spiced pumpkin and cider as well as sweet maple, ginger, and tea. The recipes have all been written (and tested) to serve a crowd, so invite your loved ones over for bacon and a beverage.
I've been writing the Bottom Shelf for less than a year, but I've been preparing for it my entire adult life. I've become pretty well desensitized to the shudders and whimpers that can accompany bouts with fortified wines, flavored vodkas, 99-cent schnappses, and the like. I feel the pain like any other mortal, but I'm not deterred by it. I don't even consider something "bum wine" anymore unless it was fermented using actual bum parts.
Your costume's ready, down to the fake blood and creepy contact lenses—but if your Halloween party doesn't include a pumpkin cocktail, it's really not complete. We asked a few of our favorite bartenders, including Jessica Gonzalez of Death & Co. in New York, Rhiannon Enlil of Cure in New Orleans, and Adam Robinson of The Bent Brick in Portland, OR, to help us out with a few delicious pumpkin-spiked drinks to help you celebrate. Check out the drinks (and get the recipes) in the slideshow.
Looking for something for the kids to drink while you're celebrating fall with pumpkin beer? This seasonal soda from Portland, Maine's Maine Root smells like freshly grated nutmeg and clove, and tastes somewhere between cream soda and ginger beer with enough spices to evoke your favorite fall squash pie.
I had a happy enough childhood by most reasonable measures. My parents were nice people who didn't much care for children but loved and provided for me anyway. I give them a lot of credit for that, because it's easy to devote your life to raising your children if you happen to be wired to do so. My parents, despite their extreme youth, didn't know how to relate to children very well, which is why I was lucky enough to be raised as a miniature adult. Adults are WAY cooler than kids.
Surely jack-o-lantern-flavored, cinnamon-perfumed beer isn't serious beer. We tried seven pumpkin beers, and as it turns out, some were actually pretty good—especially with a bowl of chili.
When it comes to Halloween wine, of course it's as important as ever that the wine is good value and tastes great. That's the treats part of trick-or-treat. But how about the wine's costume? For me, the trick to Halloween wine is to find one that is not only affordable and tasty--it has to have a label that's perfect for the Witching Hour, too.