Picture this: You’re on trick-or-treat detail and looking for something to sneak into a to-go cup. Or you’re on doorbell duty, looking to take the edge off a sugary parade of Disney princesses and giant ladybugs. Or you’re hosting that annual slashfest movie night, or your vaunted yearly screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and want to get good and warped while you Do The Time Warp (again). We’ve got you covered with cocktail options for every palate and every situation, from savvy mixologists and scary-cool bars. Enjoy!
This comes from Jaime Salas, National Milagro Ambassador. I can personally vouch for the fact that if you want to turn any occasion into your own personal Day of the Dead, you can’t do better. Drink what he’s serving, set your alarm for bright and early the next day and: Presto! Instant muerto. I’m not a tequila person in general, and Milagro is one of a very few exceptions—it’s delicious. But if you have another brand allegiance, you have my endorsement to branch out, as always. I guarantee you will not go wrong with this stuff.
2 parts Milagro Anejo
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
¾ part Blackberry Syrup
1 EA Sage leaf
1 part Hibiscus Tea
1 part Ginger Beer
Method: Build all ingredients except ginger beer in a punch bowl over a block of ice. Top with ginger beer right before stirring intermittently. Garnish with blackberries and sage.
Ashley Thomas, West Coast Sailor Jerry Ambassador, offered this evil little shot for those who like to revel in the fruit-friendly goodness of rum. One and you’ll be quipping “And I would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!” Two, and you’ll dial that back to a sotto voce “Rut roh…”
1 part Sailor Jerry rum
1 part Savage Apple
1 part Melon Liqueur
1 part Pineapple Juice
1 part Whipped Cream
Method: Combine all in a shaker with ice, strain into shot glasses and top with whipped cream
National Ancho Reyes Ambassador Camille Austin recommends keeping it simple so you can focus on getting your Dr. Frankenfurter costume just right versus sweating it over housemade celeriac bitters or seven different kinds of amaro. Plenty of sweat to be had from knocking back this chile-bomb anyway-and grapefruit and fizz are its perfect foil.
1½ part Ancho Reyes Verde
4 part Q Grapefruit Soda
Method: Build in a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a squeeze of lime.
Hosting a party? Here’s a large-format cocktail based on RumHaven’s spooky-good blend of rum and coconut water. It gets a certain bloody tinge from grenadine, but evokes the Dark and Stormy with its rum-ginger beer marriage. Oh, pro tip: if you want to up your anti-inflammatory game, try CBD-infused Cleen Craft ginger soda; it’s gingery but slightly less feisty than, say, Reed’s, and between that and the coconut water you could mount a decent argument that you’ve just witch-crafted yourself a health tonic masquerading as booze! You’re welcome.
2 cups RumHaven
1 cup Fresh Lime Juice
1 cup Grenadine
Top w/ Ginger Beer
8 Lime wheels
Method: Combine RumHaven, lime juice and grenadine into a pitcher filled with ice and lime wheels. Top off pitcher with ginger beer and stir gently. Serve in ice-filled Collins glasses and add a drizzle of grenadine to each cocktail for additional garnish.
Always there to put the “boo” in booze, D’USSE is a punchy little beast with a charismatic personality and a woodsy and lightly nutty (pecan or almond-like) character, and secondary notes of cinnamon and honey. Jay-Z’s house brand of cognac is pretty versatile (I have even been known to use it to preserve plums and figs and people line up for dessert around here), and favors relatively simple cocktail company that keeps it a little classic. Use it anywhere you’d use cognac in general, but if you are hosting a bunch of folks, this is a treat that isn’t inordinately tricky.
1 750ml Bottle- D’USSE Cognac
52 oz – Fresh Brewed Tea
18 oz – Simple Syrup
20 oz – Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
25 Dashes – Angostura Bitters
Garnish: Orange Wheels
Method: Combine all ingredients into punch bowl and stir
Trevor Schneider, National Reyka Ambassador, offers a frighteningly cosmopolitan little bevvie (no no, not a Cosmpolitan) combining the far-north moxie of Reyka and Quebecois gold (I’m sure grade A maple syrup won’t steer you too wrong if it’s what you have on hand) with the spicy liquid sunshine of Ancho Reyes and fresh lemon.
1 ¾ part Reyka Vodka (or, again, similar vodka of your preference, we don’t judge)
¾ part fresh lemon juice
¾ part maple syrup B grade
¾ part Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
Top with soda water
Method: Combine all ingredients together in cocktail shaker and strain and serve in a Collins glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
If you don’t happen to have passionfruit boba, you will be forgiven for skipping it (my kid ate all of ours), but it does have a certain Halloween-themable resemblance to Eye of Newt. Or some kind of creepy fish roe. The bright, brisk, hella-aromatic combo of gin and St. Germain is classic, classy and pretty heavenly. Here, it’s nicely softened and deepened by orgeat syrup. And there is basically nothing easier to make.
750mL Bombay Sapphire Gin
9 oz lemon juice
9 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
6.25 oz orgeat
Garnish: Passion fruit boba at the bottom of each glass you serve
Method: Combine all ingredients into punch bowl and stir
Are you dressing up as a freewheeling, urbane sophisticate? Chicago’s Broken Shaker would like to help. This cocktail has all the fancypants, from its sherry base to its bon vivant accents of Chartreuse, vermouth and pear.
1oz Lustau Fino Sherry
.5oz Cinnamon Green Chartreuse
.5oz Rhine Hall Pear Brandy
.5oz Martini Riserva Ambrati
.25oz Montanaro Extra Dry Vermouth
1 dash angostura bitters
Method: Take the already intensely flavorful Green Chartreuse and infuse it with some Ceylon cinnamon – but be careful, as the high alcohol content helps extract flavor quickly. After the booze has rested with the cinnamon for 10-20 minutes, it should be ready to be strained out. Add the delicate but dry fino sherry, the Rhine Hall Pear Brandy, and the vermouth, and stir it gently over ice. Pour into a fancy coupe and garnish with a sprig of rosemary. For extra aromatics, heat the rosemary up with a small flame.