It’s that haunted time of year again. Whether you’re hosting a boo-tiful event (see what we did there?) or are simply looking to challenge yourself in the mixology realm, don’t be spooked by coming up with ghoulish drinks to serve. 

Bottle of bat wing potion

The display

Start by setting the chilling mood with the right decorations that also double as ingredients. While creating displays for the table, windows and front door, why not add some haunting messages to the bar? You can create bottle labels at home, order online or pick up at a craft supply store. These fun labels stick right over the existing bottle label, turning your rum into “poison” and your sparkling water into “elixir.” 

Related: This distillery helps you make delicious, carbon-negative cocktails

Bottles of alcohol on a shelf

Ingredients and supplies

When selecting ingredients for hot or cold drinks, keep your vegan guests in mind by skipping cream-based liqueurs. Most distilled spirit is naturally vegan. Use fruit and vegetable juices and tonic or sparkling water as mixers. Fresh is best, so get the juicer out to squeeze grapefruit, limes and oranges. You can also pick up bottle pomegranate and cranberry juices at the store. If you want a creamy result, source some coconut or almond milk. When a sweet touch is needed, rely on plant-based agave, a simple syrup made from unprocessed sugar or other sweetener of choice. 

For the best presentation, keep a lookout for skull-shaped glasses and an ice mold that forms skulls, skeletons, brains or ghosts. Test tubes make another delightfully creepy shot-sized serving vessel.

Skull-shaped glass cups with black and orange ribbon

Hopped Daiquiri

This one comes to us from our friends at Greenbar Distillery who produce USDA-certified organic spirits and a concoction that will fit the mood of the season from the first falling leaf through Thanksgiving dinner. See the Hopped Daiquiri recipe here

Hot Toddy

The hot toddy is more of a technique than a specific recipe. It’s traditionally defined as a combination of hot water, liquor, a sweetener, herbs and spices.

Most commonly, hot toddies are made using bourbon, brandy or whiskey, but dark rum is another good choice

1 cup hot water

1.5 ounces dark liquor

.5 ounces fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of honey (or agave), to taste

You can spice it up with a cinnamon stick, cardamom or star anise if you like. 

Prickly Apparition

Grab the shaker for a pretty spooky cocktail that includes prickly pear. The flavor can be found in brandy, gin and vodka

1 ounces prickly pear liqueur

1 ounces vodka (you can use .5 ounces vodka and .5 ounces Triple Sec)

2 ounces fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1 ounces agave or sugar simple

Put all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until it is too cold to hold. Run a lemon rind around the ring of a cocktail glass and dip it in extra fine sugar. Then strain the apparition into the glass.

Spooky Halloween Blackberry Grape Punch

This versatile recipe can be served to the kids or the adults. In essence, it’s nothing more than fruit and club soda, but the technique makes a beautiful and flavorful drink for everyone to enjoy. For adults, use a different type of glass and add one shot of vodka or white rum. Find the recipe from At the Corner of Happy and Harried here.

Pomegranate Ghost

Pomegranate juice can be combined with a variety of flavors for a tasty treat. Here’s a simple and quick drink to shake up:

1 ounces lemon vodka

.5 ounces triple sec

2 ounces pomegranate juice

.5 to 1 ounces simple, depending on taste

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.

Warm Cranberry Cider

There’s nothing cozier than slippers, a warm blanket and a hot beverage in your hands. Of course, you can go with traditional hot cocoa or a cup of herbal tea, but there’s something about cider that is distinctively fall.

  1. Buy fresh-pressed apple cider at the farmer’s market or pick up a jug at the store.
  2. At home, warm it with your favorite spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon.
  3. Stir cranberry juice into the mix. Use a combination of ¾ cup of cranberry juice for each one cup of apple cider.
  4. For garnish, drop a few cranberries into the hot mug and include a cinnamon stick for aroma and flair.
  5. Add one shot of white rum, brandy or vodka if desired.

Poison Apple

Remember: autumn is about more than gourds and pumpkins. It’s also apple season. Bring the flavor home with this recipe from the DIY Network.

Ghastly Margarita

For this spin on a classic, make your own infused simple sugar by boiling peppers into the simple syrup.

  1. Slice two jalapeno peppers into rings or in half down the middle. Include the seeds for the best flavor.
  2. Combine one cup of turbinado, demerara or other unprocessed sugar with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add the peppers and lightly simmer for around five minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep until cool.
  5. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and put into a bottle. 

1 ounces fresh lime juice

1 ounces Triple Sec

.5 to 1 ounces jalapeno simple, depending on taste

2 ounces tequila

Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Rim the glass with a turmeric sugar mixture for some extra zest. Shake well and pour over ice.

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