And now I’m back! From outerspace!
It is officially Halloween weekend, which means it is officially not okay to be sober for the next 72 hours (my how things have changed since I dressed up as the red Power Ranger). So, let the ghosts and ghouls run rampant with booze, and try one of these fun Halloween-themed cocktails.
-1 ½ oz Vanilla Vodka
-1 ½ oz Whipped Cream Vodka
-Plastic Vampire Teeth (optional)
Here’s one of those candy drinks, which, I keep telling myself is appropriate because Halloween is all about candy. Yeah, some of you might scoff at whipped cream flavored vodka. But, as silly as it sounds, it’s delicious, and you’ll be missing out if you write it off. Certainly, it isn’t classy, but it sure is good, and you can find some great ideas for it.
Case and point: this silly little novelty drink. This isn’t something you’d ever want to drink on a fancy cocktail night, but it definitely is something you’d think about drinking anyway. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s alcohol-y, but not too alcohol-y. It’s just good. It’s no Martini, it’s no Manhattan, but it is a nice piece of alcoholic candy, which is the best you can hope for if you go out trick-r-treating.
So, first, you’ll want to put a little bit of the strawberry syrup into a cocktail glass and thoroughly coat the glass with it by turning the glass around so that the syrup coats the inside. Discard any excess syrup (or don’t if you want it extra sweet). Then, shake the two flavored vodkas together with ice, and strain it into the glass. If you have plastic vampire teeth, they make awesome party garnishes. Otherwise, just drink up, matey. It tastes like candy and gets you wasted. Best Halloween gift ever.
-2 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
-1 oz Coffee Liqueur
-1 oz Anisette
Black Widow just so happens to be another one of those cocktails names (like “Jack-O-Lantern”) that gets used a lot, but without any standard cocktail. And, to be honest, I based this recipe on another “Black Widow” recipe that used vanilla vodka, black sambuca, and espresso (no licorice garnish). However, only clear sambuca appears to be available in North Carolina, so I was forced to change it up. I used generic anisette instead of sambuca (but use the kind of anisette you want), and swapped out the espresso with Kahlua (not too much of a flavor change, I hope). To keep it all good and dark, I decided to replace the vodka with a dark rum (let’s face it — the Kahlua couldn’t have kept is black on its own).
Okay, so, yes — the flavor takes a backseat to color and presentation here. But it actually doesn’t taste bad at all. The anisette dominates at first, but after a while the coffee liqueur begins to make itself noticed. The rum actually takes a background role, which is surprising because I chose the strongest and richest rum I have in stock. But, coffee and anisette are too very strong flavors, so it is understandable why vodka may have been used in the recipe I based this off of. Since vodka is neutral, it allows the two other flavors to duke it out on their own turf, with the base liquor taking a background role.
That being said, the Kraken is noticeable, it’s just not a power player in this mix. So, we focus on the coffee and anise flavors, which surprisingly work quite well together — a lot like Aerosmith and Run DMC. And that’s really the joy of mixology (still hate that word): you discover incredible combinations that otherwise you would have never tried.
Also, this looks awesome as all Hell thanks to the garnish. Given, the garnish is completely unnecessary, but that doesn’t stop it from being fucking sweet — which is the basic rule of thumb that bartenders have been using for garnishing Bloody Marys (coming next week), so why not try that rule with another drink?
Though, I still must admit, I broke my own rule, and didn’t eat all of the edible garnish. Licorice isn’t my favorite candy to begin with, but the sheer amount that you need to properly garnish this cocktail is overwhelming for those who don’t like licorice. I managed to eat two strands (while drinking) before giving up. So, the garnish is definitely worth the aesthetic value, but unlike the olives in the Martini, you probably won’t finish eating this garnish unless you like licorice a lot
One sidenote, though: It’s a lot easier to enjoy anisette than it is to enjoy licorice, so don’t let drink recipes that include anisette deter you. Including this one.
So, shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Now comes the fun part: the garnish. You’ll need eight strands of black licorice to properly garnish this cocktail. Once you have eight strands, bend them, and arrange them four on each side, so that it looks like a spider is submerged in your drink. Bonus points if you can drink the whole cocktail without removing the licorice. I managed to drink about two-thirds of this drink before the licorice started falling out of the glass.
Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
-1 ½ oz Spiced Rum
-1 ½ oz Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur
-1-2 dashes Vanilla Extract
-Graham Cracker Crumbs
Alright, so this cocktail isn’t so much a Halloween cocktail as it is a Fall cocktail, but I have no plans to do a Thanksgiving post, so this is the only exposure this drink will get. And, even though it’s a novelty and extremely non-alcoholic at 25 proof, Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur is absolutely delicious. It’s like if eggnog and a pumpkin fucked, and had an awesome-yet-unholy baby. And not just any sex session, at that; they had dirty and deep anal sex with amazing spices for a condom (Sober edit: And apparently still managed to conceive. Good basic reproductive knowledge there, drunk Dave). So, yeah, scoff at it as a seasonal fad, but it tastes so good, and you will love it.
And even though the alcohol content of the liqueur in this is ridiculously low, this cocktail tastes fairly strong. I used Captain Morgan, which is awesome, but below proof for liquor at 70 proof (80 proof is the standard for all liquors, if you didn’t know), and yet this still tasted very alcoholic. And yet, even though it tastes liquory, it goes down really easy. It’s really a great cocktail to serve to your family during the holidays if your intention is to get drunk with your family, and maybe find out a few things you didn’t know. Two of these will get most aunts a little tipsy, I’m sure.
So, as always, shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish by sprinkling the graham cracker crumbs on top. Alternatively, you can rim the cocktail glass with the crumbs before shaking the cocktail. This method will keep the crumbs crispier, but it’s also a bit more effort. Of course, the crumbs will get soggy if you sprinkle them on top, which might turn some people off. I thought it worked very well with soggy graham cracker crumbs, but that’s not everybody’s thing.
Onwards to the last drink!
Bleeding Heart Martini
-2 oz HIGH QUALITY Gin
-1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
-1 splash Pickled Beet Brine (optional, if you like it dirty)
So, I saved this one for last because I love, love, LOVE Martinis. At the end of the day, the Martini is probably my favorite cocktail. In fact, I can’t wait until the new James Bond movie comes out, not because I’m excited about Skyfall, but because I’m going to use it as an excuse to do a Martini post. And I am very excited about the Martini post.
However, the Martini just so happens to be the perfect cocktail to demonstrate how the garnish for your drink FUCKING MATTERS. A Martini with an olive tastes much different than a Martini with a lemon twist. And both of those taste WAY FUCKING DIFFERENT than a Martini with a pickled beet. So, homeboy, let me tell you— Martinis are amazing, but pickled beets ain’t no olives.
I’m probably going to repeat this when I do my Martini post, but I prefer my Martinis with two (not one, but two) olives, pimento stuffed if available (and pimento stuffed is always available at my house). I prefer a lemon twist if I’m making a vodka Martini (a lot of cocktail enthusiasts shun the vodka Martini, but it is absolutely amazing if done right), but I usually use gin. (Also, this is as good a place as any to mention why I used caps locks on the HIGH QUALITY when mentioning the gin in the ingredient list. Use middle or high-low shelf gin for every other cocktail recipe. But, for a Martini, use a good gin. You owe it to yourself, and the Martini deserves no less.)
Also, if you happen to know how you like your Martini, feel free to make it that way — dry, wet, or dirty. Stirred or shaken. However, if you’re not that acquainted with Martinis, the 4:1 ratio of gin to vermouth works very well, so go ahead and use this recipe. If you don’t like gin that much, maybe go to 3:1 or 2:1.
But, going back to my original point, a pickled beet ain’t no olive. If you prefer a lemon twist in your Martini, then this is even more different. But, if you’re like me, and you love biting into that delicious olive after drinking a Martini, then the pickled beet is semi-acceptable. That being said, it still ain’t no olive. The beet brine is similar to the olive brine at first, but it loses its charm pretty fast, and it’s ultimately no where near as satisfying as an olive at the end of the drink. In fact, it’s kind of bland. So, final verdict is not bad, but no where near as good.
Sorry for all that text, but I really like Martinis.
To make this drink, stir the liquid ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Of course you can shake it if you prefer, but I’m recommending the traditional stirring method. Finally, garnish with a pickled beet, preferably pierced by a cocktail spear.
And thus we reach the end of our adventure.
So, what have we learned? I think we’ve learned that a lot of things are scary, but we can’t let that hold us back. We need to stand strong, and drink, even in the face of adversity.
Happy Halloween, everyone. Don’t party too hard.