This All Hallow's Eve feels like a culmination of quite the frightful year, doesn't it?
We’ve been saying goodbye to Summer and our "normal" lives for months, but what some call Samhain (pronounced "SAW-win" or "SAW-vane") is quite literally the Gaelic word for "Summer's end." Falling midway between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice, Samhain welcomes the short days, long nights, and cold months ahead.
Ancient cultures found Samhain to be a very potent time for magic and communion with spirits. The "veil between the worlds" of the living and the dead was said to be at its thinnest on this day, so the dead were welcomed in from the cold and invited to return to feast with their loved ones.
Feasts featuring Meats, Squash, Pomegranates, and Apples traditionally highlight the season, and spooky tidings remind us to be thankful for what we still have as we honor things we have lost and those who have crossed over.
Spirit Haus Tiki Elixir harnesses all of the flavors of your favorite mulling spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and clove, plus ginger, citrus, and molasses.
How has your celebration changed this year? How has it not changed?
Allow me to offer these four delightfully seasonal Halloween cocktails that are certain to ignite your curiosity for the dark, mysterious, and/or macabre!
This rich, fruity, spiced, blood-red cocktail calls on Elderberries, which not only are an immunity booster, but are thought to garner peace, protection, and healing, plus assistance in exorcism on the side according to ancient lore!
1 1/2 oz Gin
3/4 oz Elderberry extract
1/2 oz Honey syrup 1:1
1/4 oz Allspice dram
Orange cinnamon whip garnish
Add all ingredients to a glass stirring vessel, then fill with ice. Stir briskly then strain into a stemmed coupe. Top with orange cinnamon infused whip (see below) and/or fresh orange zest
To make honey syrup:
- Dissolve 1 part honey in 1 part hot water.
- Refrigerate any unused portion.
To make Elderberry extract:
- Combine 1/2 cup of dried elderberries and 1 cup of cold water in pot then bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let steep 1 hour for extra potency.
- Strain berries using a funnel overlaid with doubled cheesecloth or a nut milk bag and squeeze out liquid (careful, liquid will likely still be hot!)
To make Orange-Cinnamon
-Combine 1 tbsp freshly grated orange zest and 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon) with 8 oz of cream
-Heat until the cream is scalded.
-Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let steep 5 to 30 minutes or more.
- Strain out and discard the flavor ingredients.
- Whip the cream immediately or chill until needed.
- To whip: Place a metal mixing bowl and metal whisk into the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Place your infused cream and 2 tbsp of sugar into the mixing bowl
- Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks.
- Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, re-whisk for 10 to 15 seconds.
The High Priestess
This light, herbal, yellow-green colored, spirit-forward cocktail calls on Rosemary, an evergreen that is traditionally used generously during this time as an offering to ancestors.
1 1/2 oz Gin
1 oz Rosemary tisane
1/2 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Liquore Strega
Star Anise garnish
Add all ingredients to a glass stirring vessel, then fill with ice. Stir briskly then strain into a stemmed coupe. Garnish with Star Anise pod.
To make Rosemary tisane:
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
- Fill an 8oz jar to the top with fresh rosemary, or halfway with dried rosemary.
- Top with boiling water, cover, and let steep 10 minutes.
- Strain using a fine mesh cocktail strainer.
Liquore Strega, an Italian digestif distilled from a secret recipe of around 70 herbs and spices, has been produced out of the same factory in Benevento, Italy since 1860.
The city of Benevento claims to be an ancient site of witches’ rites. Witches from all over the world are said to have gathered at night around a magical walnut, where they created a magic potion that forever united couples who consumed it.
As legend has it, Giuseppe Alberti, a spice merchant, was out gathering herbs for his elixirs with his father when he came upon a witch trapped beneath a fallen tree branch. He and his father helped her, and as a reward, she bestowed upon them the secret formula for this magical liqueur. The only condition was that they never reveal the recipe to another living soul. To this day, only two people alive know the secret formula for Strega, which is the Italian word for "witch".
A bold, spirit-forward, spiced twist on a classic Vieux Carre
2 oz whiskey
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1 barspoon of Beneditcine
1 coin of ginger
2 dashes cardamom bitters
Orange zest garnish
Gently muddle 1 coin of ginger in the bottom of a mixing vessel. Add liquid ingredients, then top with ice and stir briskly. Double strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange zest.
Benedictine is a sweet, herbal. honey-esque liqueur that originates with "the benedictine monk Dom Bernado Vincelli and the Abbey of Fécamp in Normandy, France. The secret recipe of Bénédictine is said to date back to 1510 and is based on local medicinal plants enhanced by oriental spices. "
Ginger is used to increase magic power and draw success, love, and money! Combine that with cardamom's claim to sweeten the personality plus draw lust, love, and fidelity and you may not be a Hermit after all once you have a couple of these!
A complex seasonal riff on a traditional Mai Tai, this drink calls on Apples, which have a long history in folklore of being associated with immortality, death, and love. They are often buried on Samhain as an offering to the dead to sustain them until nature is reborn in the Spring. Read more spicy apple lore here.
1 1/2 oz Rum
3/4 oz Apple cider
1/2 oz Orange curacao
3/4 oz Fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Spirit Haus Tiki Elixir
Charred rosemary garnish
Add all ingredients to an empty shaker tin, then fill with ice. Shake briskly, then double strain into a tiki or double old fashioned glass filled with ice. Slap the outside of the glass with a fresh rosemary sprig, then carefully light one end of it with a match. Allow it to blow out, then place the unlit end in the drink to garnish.