Monday 15 October 2012

Fall & Halloween Cocktails!

[Disclaimer: This is a list of TERRIBLE holiday drinks and you should not make them for any reason. If you are looking for legitimately good cocktail ideas, check out the rest of this month's posts]

Themed cocktails tend to be a bad idea. There are some tried and true concepts that fit with the seasons, however, like a Hot Toddy or a Flip in the winter, sparkling cocktails and Juleps in the summer, using fresh fruit in spring, and spices in the fall. Through the modern age when artificially flavoured liqueurs became commonplace, "holiday cocktails" started making appearances, usually concoctions bred by a child-like affinity for sugar and bright colours, and a complete lack of both knowledge and what would be considered a palate. Do themed drinks have to be this awful? Can a drink not be festive and delicious? With it being harvest time, and Halloween around the corner, I decided to put together a little fall-themed series. I challenged several skilled bartenders to create an original drink using fall flavours, or if they so choose, a Halloween theme. Throughout the month I will be posting each of these drinks with recipes for all to share.

[Scroll to the bottom of this post for links to the good Halloween cocktails!]

To kick things off I decided to start with some great examples of bad Halloween "cocktails," so I scoured websites and magazines for the worst possible excuses for mixed drinks I could find. This was a depressing and unpleasant exercise. The more I found the more "Halloween drink" became defined as a mixture of any coloured ingredients to produce a black, green, or red product. My suspicions were confirmed when I stumbled across this gem from a Halloween-themed website. I have not edited any of the text.

Booda's Black Brew
    1 oz Malibu rum
    3/4 oz Blue Curacao
    3/4 oz Chambord raspberry liqueur
    1/2 oz Grenadine
    Fill with Cranberry juice
    Fill with Ice.
Hurricane Glass Fill with Ice 1oz. Malibu Rum or Parrots Bay Coocnut Rum 3/4oz. Blue Curacao 3/4oz. Chambord 1/2oz. Grenadine Fill with Cranberry Top and Shake
Creator/contributor's comments: "Well it was Halloween Night I was working (being the Rookie). I shaved my head and all my facial hair and I dressed up as Buhhda.Anyway some really hot chick asked me to make a Witches Brew. Me being a Rookie I didnt know how to make it. So to impress this girl I flew around the Bar I work at picking up every dark looking liquior trying to make something that looked and tasted cool. Then Pow she dark it and asked me "what the Hell was that??" and it just came out "Booda's Black Brew" I said. She licked her lips and says "Damn give me another!!" Then all her Fine little friends came and asked me for some Booda's Black Brew!!! And So a Drink was Born. I work at the ... in FL and I have been called Booda for Years now so everything fit into place."

This is a great example of why holiday drinks have a bad reputation - but I found worse. Melon liqueur makes a regular appearance, particularly in "shots," but I also found candy corn-infused spirits, numerous candy garnishes, and a wealth of "-tinis" with 3oz of cream. I did not find a single drink that was stirred and not shaken. Numerous drinks on my list were found on professional sites from working bartenders and "mixologists."

I am skipping "shots" mostly because they contain fewer ingredients and therefore less opportunity for ridiculousness, but a couple deserve mention: "Alligator Piss" with equal parts melon liqueur, peach schnapps, southern comfort, amaretto, and a dash of sweet and sour sauce, and the "Ghostbuster," with peach schnapps, melon liqueur, and a dribble of Irish cream liqueur for the ghost effect. The former deserves mention because it was the worst "shot" I could find, and the latter to demonstrate the typical holiday style of looks over taste.

I encourage everyone to leave a comment or send me a message/email if you know of any awful Halloween drinks that aren't included here. Also, make sure you check out the actually good fall and Halloween cocktails from the links at the bottom of this post!

Here are the worst I could find:

Green Monster
1oz Cointreau
1oz peach schnapps
1oz Southern Comfort
1oz vodka
1oz melon liqueur
Top with 1/2 pint of apple cider and 1/2 pint lager

Red Devil
1/2oz gin
1/2oz vodka
1/2oz whiskey
1/2oz triple sec
1/2oz banana liqueur
1tbsp lime juice
2oz orange juice

Salem Witch
1/2oz vodka
1/2oz raspberry schnapps
1/2oz midori melon liqueur
Splash of lime
Shake and fill with 2/3 sour mix and 1/3 soda then top with a splash of grenadine.

1 or 1/2 package Triple sec
1 or 1/2 package Bacardi 151 proof rum
1 or 1/2 package Vodka
1 or 1/2 package Gin
1 or 1/2 package Tequila
1 or 1/2 package Bourbon
1 or 1/2 package Scotch
“Mix the 5 whites and 2 whiskies in a beer mug in equal amounts. Top up the rest of the mug with half beer and half stout.”
(I left the text as is to be true to the recipe, but I'm assuming "package" means "oz." I have also seen "package" written as "pint" on other sites.)

Chambord Candy Apple Martini       
1oz Chambord liqueur
1oz vodka
3/4oz apple schnapps
Splash of Tuaca liqueur
Rim a chilled cocktail glass with caramel (or caramel syrup).
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, and shake until chilled.
Strain into the prepared glass.
Serve garnished with an apple slice.

(In the interest of not making this post a novel, I am posting more terrible Halloween cocktails on a different post should you want to see more.) 

This month will be my attempt at turning this cliche around. It may seem tacky to create a holiday drink, but in the hands of a skilled professional the results are going to be tasteful and delicious. Check out the contributions so far below (and stay tuned for more throughout the month).

The Fall Cocktail Series:
You can see more terrible Halloween cocktails here
"Death & Oranges" by Donnie Wheeler
"Jones' Bitter Aperitif" by Evelyn Chick
"The Satchmo" by Simon Ogden 
"Dark City" by Jay Jones
Classic Halloween Cocktails
"The Giant Huntsman" by Lauren Mote
"The Bay Harbour Butcher" by Shaun Layton
"A Nightmare On Juniper Street" by Shea Hogan 

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