Creepy Cocktails for Halloween & Other Spooky Occasions

There is no better time of year to enjoy a spooky cocktail than around the Halloween Season! Each October, the Haunted Walk’s mixologist, Dan Davies (follow on Twitter & IG) suggests fun and creepy creations to help get you in the spirit of the season – or enjoyed at any time throughout the year. 

2021 Cocktails

The Xenomorph

This Halloween season we’re going to be exploring cocktails and horror films every Friday night, using Jason Ward’s “Chilling Cocktails: Classic Cocktails with a Horrifying Twist” (Thunder Bay Press, 2021) as both a guide and a source of inspiration.

For example, this particular cocktail is a riff on Ward’s “Raspberry Ripley”, but instead of celebrating Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley, we’re paying homage to the Xenomorph Queen from the Alien films. Ward’s recipe calls for raspberries, Chambord Raspberry Liqueur, and vodka, but we’ll be using fresh blackberries, blackberry liqueur, and an Ontario craft gin instead.

For the gin, use a good London Dry, which has a fairly balanced flavour profile, as you don’t want to overwhelm the blackberries. North of 7’s Triple Beam Gin, Whitewater Brewing’s Paper Boat Gin, or Muskoka Brewing & Distilling’s Legendary Oddity Dry Gin would be good choices.

– ½ oz simple syrup
– 8 – 10 blackberries (fresh if possible, but if you’re using frozen berries, let them thaw first)
– 1oz blackberry liqueur (or you can you use Chambord, depending on what you have available)
– 3oz gin (or you can use vodka, depending on personal taste)
– Lemon twist for garnish

Add the simple syrup and blackberries to a mixing glass and muddle until quite pulpy.

Add the blackberry liqueur, the gin, and some ice, then seal the mixing glass or cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled.

Double strain into a chilled martini glass. NOTE: for this cocktail, it’s important to double strain in order to make sure you don’t end up with ice chips or blackberry seeds in your drink.

Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy while awaiting your inevitable doom! Or, while watching one of our VIRTUAL HAUNTED CAMPFIRES!

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

We All (Root Beer) Float Down Here

For this one, we take inspiration from Stephen King. I have to admit that I didn’t read King’s work as a teen, but having dipped my toes into the horror genre as an adult, I don’t think he gets enough credit for the skill with which he can craft a story. A number of his shorter books get overlooked, and some of the great ones leave you wondering exactly what was happening (‘The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon’ is a particular favourite in our household, for exactly this reason). We also highly recommend Season 1 of the Castle Rock series. We can’t comment on Season 2, though, as we haven’t seen it yet.

Anyway, you came here for a cocktail, not a literature lesson, so here goes…although, fair warning, this one gets messy…

– 2oz Kahlua (or another coffee liqueur, depending on preference)
– 1oz cream liqueur (the recipe calls for Irish Cream; I used Merlyn, which is a Welsh cream liqueur, but there are any number of others you could use, including Vodkow Cream from Dairy Distillery)
– A fair sized scoop of vanilla ice cream
– Root Beer (whichever you prefer)
– Whipped Cream
– Maraschino Cherry

Add the Kahlua and Cream Liqueur to a chilled beer glass.

Gently add the scoop of ice cream.

Tilt the glass and slowly pour the root beer in.

A fair-sized scoop of vanilla ice cream, straighten the glass, and gently add whipped cream. Chances are the whipped cream is going to sink into the foam in the glass and you’ll get some spill-over. If not, then you managed it better than I did.

Add a maraschino cherry on top of the whipped cream.

The Kahlua and root beer play off each other nicely, while the cream liqueur and the ice cream add some thickness. The best part is that you can easily make this a mocktail by simply leaving out the Kahlua and Cream Liqueur.

 

Stick a straw in and enjoy while watching one of our Virtual Haunted Campfires!

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

Jenny’s Basil, Ginger, and Pink Peppercorn Smash!

We’re going to put Jason Ward’s ‘Chilling Cocktails’ aside for this last cocktail of the season and look at a different book this week: ‘Dark Waters’, a water-themed horror anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish, an Edmonton-based author, and editor. In the lead-up to the book’s release, Rhonda asked some of the authors if they’d be interested in putting out a free e-book that contained excerpts from some of the stories and cocktails or mocktails that went with the stories.

As my wife, Megan M. Davies-Ostrom’s story ‘Jenny’ had been selected for the anthology, she asked if I’d be willing to come up with something to contribute, and after much experimenting (lime juice vs. lemon juice, what kind of gin, how much simple syrup, etc.) “Jenny’s Basil, Ginger, and Pink Peppercorn Smash” was born. The recipe itself is a fusion of three different drinks: – a Gin Sour, a Pink Peppercorn Gimlet, and a Basil Gin & Ginger

I tried to use as many local Muskoka products as I could for this, as that’s where the story is set. In the end, you get a nice summery drink with a bit of a spicy edge…

– a dash of ginger bitters
½ tsp pink peppercorns
– 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves (or more, go wild with the basil)
– 1 tbsp peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
– 2oz gin (works best with Muskoka Distilling’s Butterfly Effect Pink Peppercorn Gin, but another Muskoka-area craft gin could work in a pinch, like Legendary Oddity, or Georgian Bay Gin; alternatively, to go with a nautical theme, you could use Mermaid Gin, from the Isle of Wight)
– 1oz fresh lemon juice (from pink lemons, if possible)
– ½ oz simple syrup – 2oz to 3oz of ginger ale (Muskoka Springs Dry Ginger Ale if you can find it, otherwise Canada Dry Premium is a good substitute)
– Lemon wheel, pink peppercorns, and a sprig of fresh basil (or spruce) for garnish

Muddle the ginger bitters, ½ tsp of pink peppercorns, fresh basil leaves, and chopped fresh ginger in the bottom of the mixing glass/cocktail shaker.

Add the simple syrup, lemon juice, and gin, along with two or three ice cubes, to the mixing glass/cocktail shaker.

Cover / seal the mixing glass/cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Rocks glass over ice (double strain if you wish).

Top with ginger ale and stir gently to mix.

Garnish with the lemon wheel, five or so pink peppercorns, and the sprig of basil (or spruce).

The rest of the Dark Waters Cocktails are available for download (for free!) here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/xok5wfk72o

Enjoy while watching ourVirtual Haunted Campfires: https://bit.ly/VHCampfires

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

The (Drinks) Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Long ago, in my university days, a friend loaned us a copy (on VHS, no less!) of Robert Wiene’s 1920 silent classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920). It sat, alone and neglected, on our shelf for some months before we finally got around to watching it, and I must say it was an experience. Caligari is silent, filmed in black and white, and with strange angles in the painted set backgrounds, all of which serve to bring to mind the non-Euclidean geometry so often referenced in H.P. Lovecraft’s work, but here there are no other-worldly monsters whose existence is beyond comprehension; rather, the villain is simply a person.

As Ward notes, “Dr. Caligari would [certainly] have to raid his undoubtedly askew drinks cabinet to make an Aunt Roberta, which is possibly the strongest cocktail in this book. The entirety of its ingredients are four spirits and a liqueur – no mixers, no fruit, nowhere to hide…”

On that note, although there is really only 2 & 1/3 oz of spirits in this, keep in mind that the vodka, brandy, and gin are all 40% ABV, the absinthe is 63% ABV, and the blackberry liqueur is 20% ABV, and you’re only diluting it a bit when you’re stirring it over ice to chill it, so please don’t double the recipe unless you’re making drinks for two…

– 1/3 oz (10ml) Blackberry Liqueur (you could use Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur instead)
– 1/3 oz (10ml) Brandy (or Cognac or Armagnac, depending on what you have available)
– 1/2 oz (15ml) Gin
– 2/3 oz (20ml) Absinthe
– 1 oz (30ml) Vodka

Add all the ingredients to the mixing glass, add ice and stir until well chilled.

Strain into a Martini or Coupe Glass.

There is no garnish. Just drink it straight, although maybe sip it slowly while you contemplate the existential horrors of our reality…or while you watch our Virtual Haunted Campfires: https://bit.ly/VHCampfires

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

Lenore's Lament

I confess that I have not seen Roger Corman’s 1963 film ‘The Raven’ (starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, and Boris Karloff), which was a very loose adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem of the same name, and which is the focus of Ward’s discussion for this particular cocktail. Interestingly, the version of the Blackthorn that Ward presents is very, very different from other recipes I’ve seen. According to Difford’s Cocktail Guide, the Irish Black Thorn first appeared in Harry Johnson’s “Bartender’s Manual” (1900), and it is quite different from the English Blackthorn, which calls for gin and sloe gin instead of whiskey (since you use blackthorn berries, or sloes, to make sloe gin, this does make sense).

Johnson’s recipe is equal parts whiskey and dry vermouth, although Difford’s has updated it by making the vermouth equal parts red vermouth and dry vermouth, in order to make it a bit sweeter. Ward’s recipe, on the other hand, calls for 2 ½ oz of whiskey and only a ½ oz of dry vermouth, which is a far cry from equal parts… So instead of using either of those recipes, I went back to a version of the Blackthorn I’ve made before and which I enjoyed: vinepair’s The Blackthorn Returns, although I did alter their recipe slightly…
– 2½ oz Irish Whiskey (Writer’s Tears would be a good choice)
– 1oz Bianco Sweet Vermouth (or Lillet Blanc)
– ½ tsp Absinthe (or another anise flavoured spirit, such as Pernod, or Raki)
– 1 dash aromatic bitters (I used Bittered Sling’s Kensington Aromatic Bitters)
– 1 dash orange bitters

– Lemon twist for garnish

Add the ½ tsp of absinthe to the cocktail glass and let it sit for now.

Add the bitters, vermouth, and whiskey to the mixing glass.

Add some ice to the mixing glass and stir until chilled.

Let the mixing glass sit for a moment while you swirl the absinthe around the inside of the cocktail glass.

Strain the contents of the mixing glass into the cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist and then toast the raven sitting on the pallid bust of Pallas just above your chamber door…or, let us read you the famous poem while you enjoy your hard work.

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies
 

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2020 Cocktails

Black Widow Smash

Take 6 to 8 blackberries, 2 tbsps of fresh rosemary, 1oz lemon juice, and 1oz agave nectar and muddle them together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker to extract the juice from blackberries.

Add in 2oz of tequila blanco or mezcal (I used Sombra Mezcal Joven, which gives it a smokier taste), two dashes of orange bitters, a dash of Angostura bitters and some ice. Shake until well chilled.

Once shaken, pour some soda water into the shaker (San Pellegrino Blood Orange and Black Raspberry Soda Water), then strain into a rocks glass over ice. Use fun ice cube trays if you have them!

Garnish with some more blackberries and a sprig of smoked rosemary.

Enjoy the web of deliciousness you just spun while watching one of our Virtual Haunted Campfires! The original recipe can be found here.
 
Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

The Grave Digger

This is a spin on the classic Bourbon and Cider Cocktail and is perfect for sunny fall afternoons when you’re playing board games (and for Thanksgiving).

Take a highball glass and mix together a dash of Angostura Bitters, 1.5oz of bourbon (or a bourbon-like Canadian whisky, such as North of 7’s Four Grain Whisky or the Gooderham & Worts Four Grain), and 3oz of hard cider (the drier the cider the better). Stir gently to mix.

Add several ice cubes (again, use fun Halloween-themed ice moulds if you have them), and then top up the glass with ginger ale or ginger beer.
 
Since the cocktail doesn’t call for a lot of cider, you’ll have almost a full can left to have alongside your Thanksgiving dinner.
 
The original recipe is here.
 
Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

Blood Orange & Blackberry Rum Punch

This is a punch recipe intended for larger gatherings (the base recipe serves 6 to 😎…but seeing as it’s 2020, and no one is going to be hosting a Halloween party, I’ve scaled it down to a single-ish serving.
 
There have also been some substitutions, as Blood Oranges are out of season and hard to come by…so:
 
– instead of Blood Orange Juice there’s Orange-Raspberry Juice (1/3 orange, 2/3 raspberry)
– instead of Black Raspberry Soda, there’s San San Pellegrino Blood Orange and Black Raspberry Soda Water and BC Raspberry Coca-Cola (2/3 soda water, 1/3 cola)

Add 1.5oz of white rum, 1.5oz of orange-raspberry juice, 1 tsp lime juice, a dash of orange bitters, and a dash of lime bitters together to a mixing glass and stir.

Slowly pour in 4oz of soda water and 2oz of cola and then stir gently to combine. Pour into a Rocks glass over ice and garnish with a thin slice of orange (blood orange if you can find one, otherwise skip the orange slice) and some blackberries.
 
The original recipe can be found here

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

The Herbert West, Re-Animator

For this cocktail we’re giving the Corpse Reviver #2 a slight twist and grabbing the mezcal…but before we get to the details, some background…

I’d wanted to call this one ‘The Reanimator’, instead of ‘Corpse Reviver #3’ or something similar, but there’s already a ‘Reanimator’ (equal parts bourbon and Amaro, so a more Amaro-forward Black Manhattan), and there’s also a ‘Miskatonic Reviver’, but it uses vodka, melon liqueur, and pineapple juice, which I don’t have on hand (you can find that recipe here).

Also, ‘Corpse Reviver’ implies bringing a dead person back to life: reviving them, as it were, and that’s not what Herbert West (an H.P. Lovecraft character) was doing. While it may have been what he was trying to do, he only ever succeeded in reanimating his research subjects as zombies (maybe Umbrella Corporation used West’s research as the foundation for their T-Virus, and that’s why it all went wrong?), so using ‘Reviver’ in the name didn’t seem right…which is why I settled on ‘The Herbert West, Re-Animator’.
– 1oz Sombra Mezcal
– 1oz Cointreau
– 1oz Lillet Blanc
– 1oz Lemon Juice
– a splash (5ml / 1 tsp) of Absinthe or some other anise-flavored spirit like Raki, Pernod, or Sambuca.

Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a slice of pickled jalapeno and/or a jalapeno stuffed olive.

Sit back and enjoy with one of our Virtual Haunted Campfires!

The original recipe for the ‘Corpse Reviver #2’ can be found here.

If you feel up to further experimentation you can use Blue Curacao instead of Cointreau, which would give it a more potion-like appearance. You’d get a similar color-changing effect if you used Empress 1908 Gin (or any other indigo or blue gin made with pea blossoms) when making a Corpse Reviver #2.
 
Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies

The Ghostly Goblet

Based on a suggestion from a reader, I’ve done this as a Mocktail, but you can easily turn it into a cocktail if you’d like. A word of warning, though: the proportions in the original recipe are a bit on the high side given the size of glass they suggest.

To make this you build it in a stemless wine glass or a rocks glass, so no shaker required. First, add 2oz coconut cream, 2oz coconut water, and a 1/2 tsp of agave nectar. Stir well to blend it all together. Add a couple of ice cubes, then top up the glass with grapefruit soda (I prefer Ting over Jarritos), and stir gently to mix. Garnish with a lime wheel.

To turn it from a Mocktail to a Cocktail, reduce the coconut cream and coconut water to 1.25oz each and add 1.5oz of tequila blanco (or mezcal, if you want a smokier version).

I briefly thought about using two small blackberries as a garnish in order to give the drink the semblance of having eyes (and make it look like the Haunted Walk Ghost), but it likely wouldn’t have stayed as ghostly white if I had.

Enjoy while doing something spooky, such as The Haunted Walk’s new creepy online audio experience – The Haunting at Home! The original recipe can be found here.

Also, I prefer the thicker, creamier taste of coconut cream over coconut milk, and some brands of coconut milk are already quite watered down, so the addition of coconut water could dilute them a bit too much.

Researched, thoroughly tested, and photographed by The Haunted Walk’s Halloween Mixologist: Dan Davies