Who says Halloween holds tricks and treats just for the kids? No one ages out of dressing up and planning a frightful eve. But leave the store-bought candy to the trick or treaters, and craft a fall-inspired beverage for a grownup treat. Bartenders from around the South call upon pumpkin spice, smoke, and candied sweetness to create Halloween cocktails in October, inviting adults to indulge and get spooky. Whether you plan to hand out candy, throw a ghoulish bash, or simply pile in with a scary movie, treat yourself to one of these wickedly delicious brews.
Sweet but balanced, this pumpkin-spiced cocktail calls memories of fall baking with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Its embrace of fall flavors go well beyond pumpkin spice with its thyme foam finish.
Annual Halloween pop-up bar Black Lagoon takes over nine cities around the country (visit them in Fort Worth, Texas). With their custom-made glassware and chilling names, their Halloween cocktails are surprisingly docile; just try the Screaming Banshee, which has tropical fruit flavors and creamy drinkability hiding within its skull-shaped glass.
This drink is for the coffee lovers! Made with fresh brew coffee, vanilla, orange liqueur, Kahlúa, and chocolate bitters. It satisfies any sweet tooth in need of some caffeine.
Chasing Sage in Charleston makes the classic daiquiri on of their favorite canvasses for creating seasonal drinks. One technique they employ to daiquiri-style cocktails is to add a little bit of citric acid to bump up the tartness.
Apple brandy, honey, and verjus make give this fall-forward cocktail bright and tart notes, reminiscent of honeycrisp apples. The touch hot sauce, however, brings in warming, smoked elements.
A fall-inspired riff on the classic Dark ‘n Stormy® cocktail, this orange-hued beverage features the rich flavor of Goslings Black Seal Rum accentuated by an oh-so-autumnal touch of pumpkin spice.
Strong and full of booze—not unlike certain eras of Bond—this Talisker Whiskey and port beverage pulls in subtle smoke elements between the peaty scotch and ignited orange peel garnish.
This tiki bar favorite gets an autumn makeover with the frozen cocktail from Jasper’s in Nashville. Pro tip, make a double batch in the blender. This easy-drinking cocktail goes quickly.
Use a rocks glass to cap smoking wood chips and cinnamon sticks. Once the glass turns cloudy and opaque, remove it from the smoke and quickly build Justin Hazelton’s version of the old fashioned.
Bourbon stirred with homemade pumpkin seed milk gives this drink a spiced creaminess similar to a bourbon-spiked pumpkin pie.
A homemade ginger, lime, and sage syrup brings herbaceous, bright notes to this toasty cocktail. If you don’t have Coopers’ Craft, feel free to use any Kentucky bourbon that you have on hand.
- by Trisha Boyer
- by Local Palate