Stir Up Halloween Fun with Spooky Cocktails -

Try these hauntingly delicious Halloween drink ideas from our resident mixologist, Daniel Gonzales!

Halloween shouldn’t just be for kids! If you’re entertaining some adult friends this year, you may enjoy brewing up a few monster themed cocktails to slurp at home.

Scary stories are a great part of Halloween, and I remember as a younger man that some of the scary stories would actually give me chills, or make me think twice about walking certain places after dark. I used some of the scariest characters from these stories as inspiration for my Halloween cocktails.


The story of Candyman strikes fear in even the brave, as the tale challenges the listener to essentially call upon the Candyman not once, not twice, but five times before the haunted soul comes from his parallel dimension to take revenge on those who took his life many years ago. Even if you “don’t believe in that sort of thing,” you will find the hair on your arms start to stand a little taller looking yourself eye to eye in the mirror as you speak that third and fourth Candyman, but don’t look behind you or stutter your words, because his hook is eager, and his motives are sinister.

I like to make this cocktail in a punch bowl with a mirror in the vicinity of either the bowl or the glasses. This reinforces the theme of the cocktail. Although this drink has a very dark and dreary origin, the name screams a fun and light-hearted cocktail. I like to rim the glass with crushed cherry hard candy; this offers a secondary texture and flavor to the drink, and has that dramatic flair for Halloween. Grenadine and water ice cubes are great for your party as well, as every drink will conjure the man in the mirror!

In mixing glass add:

1.5 ounce Effen Green Apple

.5 ounce Dekuyper Peachtree

.25 ounce Chase Elderflower liqueur

1.5 ounce fresh sour*

2 ounces pineapple juice

5 – 6 grenadine ice cubes**

Shake all ingredients well, serve over grenadine ice cubes in a red candy rimmed glass.

*Fresh sour is made from a 50/50 mix of lime or lemon juice and simple syrup, ( i.e. 1 cup lemon juice, 1 cup simple syrup).

**In a pitcher add 2 cups water, 1 cup grenadine, stir, fill ice trays, then freeze.

The River Walker

No scary story-themed party in New Mexico would be complete without La Llorona. “The Weeping Woman,” as legend has it, is sentencedwhipped cream topped cocktail in a terracotta cup. to walk the banks of the Rio Grande looking for the two children she drowned in the river in her grief after being abandoned by her husband. Used mainly by farmers to keep kids from running along the irrigation ditch banks at night, this story has struck fear into many a pecan grower since a young age.

This cocktail is perfect for the coffee drinker at your party. The cinnamon sugar rim represents the sand along the banks of the river, while the chocolate milk color and consistency of the Rio Grande, and a touch of whipped cream to bring La Llorona back to life.

In mixing glass add:

1 ounce Deleon Platinum

1 ounce Sunora Crème de Bacanora

.5 ounce Godiva Chocolate liqueur

Espresso (to taste)

2 ounces chocolate milk

Shake all ingredients, serve in a cinnamon/sugar rimmed coffee mug, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

Count Dracula

The story of Count Dracula was written in the late 1800s by Bram Stoker. Stoker was an Irish novelist who truly created the archetypal vampire. Count Dracula was attempting to leave Transylvania and make the big move to jolly ol’ England where he could find new blood and spread the curse of the undead. Of course, the count found many adversaries, and a great battle ensued. This story, a true classic, has sparked hundreds of other vampire stories, and countless last minute Halloween costumes.

In honor of Bram Stoker’s mother country, and the extraordinary powers of the count himself, I used Powers Irish whiskey for this special cider. Fresh fruit and a simple spice mix will give your cocktail fantastic flavor while offering your home an intoxicating aroma.

In a slow cooker add:

½ gallon apple cider

½ cup raspberry purée

3 cinnamon sticks

4 – 6 cloves

4 – 6 star anise

1 cup Jack-O’Blast pumpkin spiced rum

½ cup diced red apples

2 sliced oranges

1 handful of raspberries

Have slow cooker on high until ingredients are boiling, then turn to low and let simmer. Just before serving, add 1 cup of Powers Irish whiskey. Stir and ladle into punch cups with an orange twist and “fang” diced apples. (If the raspberries don’t give your cider enough of a red hue, you can always add food coloring to your cider.)

Swamp Thing

Now, Swamp Thing may seem not seem to fit with this line-up of scary stories, but as a young man reading comic books, Swamp Thing caused more frightening thoughts for me than any other character in any other story. Swamp Thing was a young scientist in love who got double crossed by his best friend.  Swamp Thing can grow into any form using the vegetation around him, and walks the swamp searching for his long-lost love. May not sound scary now, but to a seven-year-old boy, a giant vegetable man that lives in Alligator Alley is pretty darn freaky, man!

Different versions of the Pepino are made all over, so I thought this cocktail would work perfectly for New Mexico, with a Halloween twist. I used Haku Japanese rice vodka, and a mango/habanero rimmer for the spice. If you are able, use lighted ice cubes or a lighted tray to give the illusion of the glowing chemicals that changed the young scientist into the Swamp Thing.

In mixing glass add:

5 – 7 fresh cilantro leaves

3 slices of cucumber

2 ounces fresh sour

Muddle lightly, then add:

1.5 ounce Haku Japanese Rice Vodka

.75 ounce Midori melon liqueu

Shake all ingredients, and pour over ice in a mango/habanero rimmed glass, garnish with cilantro leaves, cucumber slices, and melon pieces (optional).

Trick or treat, let’s howl at the moon, and raise our glasses. Here’s hoping all your hocus pocus Halloween parties are happy and hauntingly hilarious with those you care about most. Please enjoy these and all cocktails responsibly. Happy Halloween!

Punch bowl conversion

Most of the cocktail recipes are in single-drink recipes; if you want to make one into a punch, simply multiply the recipe’s ingredients by how many guests you expect. (If the drink asks to be shaken, it is not necessary if you put over ice, as the ice will dilute the cocktail as well as chill your cocktail sufficiently.)

Written by Daniel Gonzales • Photography by Amanda Chavez
Originally published in Neighbors magazine | 2019

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