It’s been a while since many of us got dressed up in silly costumes for a Halloween party, drank like demons, and were terrified to see the sunrise the next morning. This Halloween will likely be a far more toned-down version of the holiday, but no less reason to celebrate with some wicked spooky Halloween drinks. Even more so since it’s not advisable to leave the house and knock on your neighbors’ doors.
Ever wonder where Halloween came from? Originally called Samhain, the Pagan holiday celebrated by the Celtic peoples to mark the close of harvest and the beginning of winter—a celebration of an end (the Day of the Dead) and a beginning (the winter season). This date marked both an ending and a beginning in the eternal cycle. While we may not be celebrating Halloween very religiously, we can certainly lift a glass to the changing of the seasons and what’s to come!
Blood Thirsty Wines
Can’t you just see it? Dracula sitting in his dimly lit towering fortress, drinking a dark, blood-red liquid from his heavy goblet while he reads in a tense silence… (Wait! Did you just hear something?)
…With the influx of cooler temperatures at night, spending a lot more time at home, and beginning the Halloween festivities—I’ve been channeling a lot of Vampire Lestat vibes recently. These vamp-themed wines go perfectly with a small helping of late-night haunting and eternal brooding.
Wine shops haven’t missed a beat when it comes to Halloween beverages. Many have a curated collection of spooky-themed wines to fit a range of tastes and budgets. Don’t know where to start? Check out Wine.com’s Halloween selection for some inspiration. There’s still time to order your brand of spooky delivered!
Self-described as “The Blood of the Vine”, Vampire Vineyards carved an immortal niche for itself early in the 1990s, first on the lush grounds of Transylvania, Romania, then later moving their vineyards to California, and finally settling in Napa where their wine is produced today. Owners Michael Machat and his wife Lisa Dominique are serious about their line of vampire-themed wines. They celebrate the playful and indulgent nature of wine meant for pleasure (and what good vampire isn’t drawn to a little bit of pleasure?).
The wines, which include a Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and California Merlot come dressed in their own red and black capes. Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay lovers will also find something to love with Vampire Vineyards. Expanding their line of wines, they have developed several other brands including the Trueblood, Fangria, and Dracula brands. One taste might not be enough.
Long before the folklore of vampires and werewolves defined Transylvania, Romania was known for its thriving wine-producing terrain. With a wine-making history stretching back 6000 years in recorded history, and beloved by ancient Greeks and Romans, Romania still produces quality white wines as well as sweet Muscat wine and Ice Wines. Don’t discount their reds, either!
With a playful nod to the mythological legends that haunt the hills of Transylvania, Werewolf Wines is here to help you celebrate this spooky holiday with wine from the old country. And the timing couldn’t be better, since there’s a full moon this Halloween! Accessibly priced, Werewolf Wines offers Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay so you can howl at the moon however you like! Are you on Team Vampire or Team Werewolf?
Witches’ Brew Rosé + White Wine
Maybe vampires and werewolves aren’t your thing. Maybe you’re more of a potions-mixing, spell-casting, broomstick-riding kind of gal. There’s a delightfully evil tonic out there befitting any Sanderson sister.
If you haven’t already streamed Hocus Pocus or Practical Magic, there’s no time like the present. Eliqs and Besa canned wines have teamed up to bring us a case of Witches’ Brew Rosé + White Wine cans—complete with Sanderson sisters puns like, “I put a spell on you, and now you’re wine.” Not to mention the original Sanderson sisters (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy) will be performing live for a special online streaming benefit on October 30th to support the New York Restoration Project. The digital tickets are $10, so grab a few witches’ brews and kick back with some of the most entertaining witches from Salem.
Could there possibly be a better way to spend Halloween? Witch, please.
Black as Night Cocktails
Black Magic Shimmering Cocktail
So spellbinding and so simple to stir together, this Black Magic Shimmering Cocktail is the magical answer for a night of mischief. The key ingredient is the black vodka, made by Blavod. Blavod gets its color from an extract of the bark from Acacia trees, called black catechu.
A squeeze of lime and simple syrup and a pinch of edible pearl dust turn this cocktail into a tasty cosmic swirl. Get the full recipe here. If you’re having trouble finding Blavod in your area or online, you can make your own with a small amount of edible food coloring or an infusion of black rice. For ideas and instructions on making your own black vodka for your dark cocktails, check out this article.
If you’ve had your eye on that black Kraken Rum, go ahead and pick it up for this homage to the monsters and ghosts of the sea. A mixture of spiced rum, Fernet Branca, crème de cacao, chocolate stout, and yes—a drop of squid ink, this haunting cocktail is spicy, full-bodied, and bold as the darkest depths of the ocean. Just don’t lose your head over it.
Check out the full recipe, created by the LA & San Francisco based team behind HonestyYUM. If you’re a little squeamish with the addition of the squid ink, you can go without it. Just make sure you pick up the black spiced rum specifically. If using a lighter spiced rum, you can also substitute a drop of black gel food coloring for a similar effect.
Black Widow Smash
This one is for the more advanced mixologist looking for a special adult treat on Halloween. Muddle some blackberries and mix up this cocktail with your favorite tequila or smoky mezcal. The moody hues of this cocktail deceptively mask the fresh and fruity taste of the Black Widow Smash. Topped with a smoking sprig of rosemary. Burning a few herbs may help you clear away the ghosts of lovers past.
Created by Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, this cocktail is just one of the many Halloween (and Harry Potter) inspired cocktails she’s mixed up.
There have been plenty of nasty tricks in store this year. So maybe you’d rather kick back this Halloween with some treats instead. Pumpkin and apple never go out of style, so try one of these comforting and approachable cocktails while you curl up with your private stash of the good candy bars.
Pumpkin Spice White Russian
A quick swap of pumpkin spice creamer for milk upgrades this classic cocktail with next to no effort. With such massive popularity these days, you can even find pumpkin spice creamer in almond and coconut milk varieties. The additional graham cracker rimmer whipped cream and torched cinnamon stick garnish make this cocktail extra special.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous (or organized), try making my Coffee Liqueur Recipe in advance, or include the recipe with a bottle of the liqueur as a gift come Thanksgiving! Click here for the full cocktail recipe.
Everyone’s familiar with a boozy spiced cider, but have you tried a fresh apple cider with tequila and pomegranate? They are absolutely made for each other. Chilled, and especially fatal looking with a pellet of dry ice to keep it icy cold and steaming. The Poisoned Apple cocktail is fitting for any Snow White story on Halloween.
Created by Kelli Hall for Julep by minted.com, you can find the full recipe here. While you’re there, check out the other spooky cocktails, including another use for your black vodka.
Death in the Afternoon
Popularized by Earnest Hemingway (honestly, like so many cocktails)—Death in the Afternoon is a pretty little thing with a splash of danger. Dead simple to mix, this cocktail is a flute or coupe of Champagne (4.5 oz) mixed with a shot of green Absinthe (1.5 oz). Sometimes called “Hemingway Champagne”, I want to make it clear what you’re getting yourself into here.
No matter what you’re sipping on this Halloween, you can dress it up with some spooky accouterments and garnishes. Gummy eyeballs floating on your cocktail, or beautifully etched rocks or wine glasses can set the mood. A few chips of dry ice give a magic and steamy touch to chilled drinks on this darkest of nights. Happy Haunting!
Follow My LA Lifestyle on Instagram & stay connected!
Contributor: Stacie Hunt, Certified Silver Pin Sommelier/AIS; Vice President National Association of Wine Retailers; International Wine Judge, Author, Spokesperson, and Educator. As a television and video producer/spokesperson, she is the winner of several national and international broadcasting awards.