Halloween Drinks With Good Taste

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Halloween is horrifying indeed. This is the season that should mortify most mixologists and have cocktail enthusiasts hiding scared in their closet. Why? Because you'll be bombarded, once again, with corny puns and goopy, seasonal cocktails that not only challenge the palate but challenge one's better sense. I simply don't want a "ghoulish treat," or "spooktacular cocktail" made with pumpkin puree and candy corns rimming the glass. Call me old fashioned (actually, an Old Fashioned sounds nice).

The remedy is simple. Have a glass of Scotch. But for those who insist on taking the path of holiday-themed cocktails, I have never let you down before and won't now. There are many cocktails that fit the theme and are classics too. Made well, these drinks transcend all the holiday silliness and allow you to drink with dignity.

What would Halloween be without Zombies? Just do me a favor, as Trader Vic advises, and have your guests stick to one.

What would Halloween be without a Corpse Reviver? The more popular of the Corpse Revivers, version #2, is served at most cocktail bars, but the original has more of a seasonal feel with brandy as the base. The recipe on Cocktail Database includes champagne, which I heartily approve of, but beware of adding too much commercial grenadine--it sweetens up a rather balanced drink quickly.

One gets the impression that Satan's Whiskers has damned more than a few souls. This is a crowd-pleaser and generally sellable to your friends who claim one night of hard drinking ruined their ability to digest gin.

Finally, Zombies are an essential component of any Halloween celebration. Just do me a favor, as Trader Vic advises, and have your guests stick to just one. Otherwise, you'll find yourself joining Woody Harrelson in Zombieland, trying to fight off mindless goons. Many recipes abound. Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's is perhaps the best but my good friend and blogger Lonnie Bruner swears that Trader Vic's is too delicious to pass on. Here's the recipe he sent me:

Zombie

    • 1 tsp. brown sugar
    • 1 oz. lemon
    • 1 oz. lime
    • 1 oz. fresh squeezed pineapple
    • 1 oz. passion fruit syrup
    • 1 oz. gold rum
    • 1 oz. white rum
    • 1 oz. 151 rum
    • 1 dash Angostura

Shake with ice and strain over new ice. Skip the 151 or float it in an inverse lime shell that's been squeezed, strike a match and you have a flaming drink. Just be sure you blow it out before you start drinking. Otherwise, you'll be the mummy wrapped bandages for Halloween.

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Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He sits on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail. More

Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He travels throughout the country and around the world in search of great drinks, and the stories behind them. Derek's methodical approach to cocktails was profiled in the Wall Street Journal's "A Master of Mixological Science" and his martini lauded as the best in America by GQ. He's been in numerous media outlets featuring his approach to better drinking, including CNN, The Rachel Maddow Show and FOX. Derek is a founding member of the D.C. Craft Bartender's Guild and on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail.
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