It’s the freakiest night of the year and with it landing on a ‘thirsty Thursday,’ the one thing revellers don’t have to fear is how to have a howling good time this Halloween.
Here’s how to set the scene and bewitch your friends with the right fright night booze…
Nightmare in Florence
Breathe new life into a negroni by firing it up with Martini Fiero (£12, 75cl, Sainsbury’s), a bittersweet and bold citrus vermouth that doesn’t bow down to the rich notes of juniper, citrus and exotic spices in Whitley Neill Original Dry Gin (£25, 70cl, Morrisons), a South African inspired gin containing baobab fruit and Cape gooseberry.
Ingredients: 25ml Whitley Neill, 25ml Martini Fiero, 10ml Campari, 25ml cold brew coffee.
Method: Stir all the ingredients in a pre-chilled rocks glass with cubed ice, then garnish with a slice of orange.
A sinister treat, Wildcat Bramble Blackberry Gin (£26, 70cl, Amazon) is cited as the darker, thornier sister to Wildcat Gin. As it’s Halloween and we love a bit of folklore, legend has it the devil himself cursed the bramble bush in a fit of rage after landing on its prickly thorns. From that day (St Michael’s Day, September 29), no one should dare devour blackberries, but what better way to break an ancient curse than with this devilishly divine 666 Sour?
Ingredients: 50ml Wildcat Bramble, 25ml lemon juice, 10ml sugar syrup.
Method: Half fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the ingredients, shake and single strain over crushed ice, then garnish with a slice of lemon and a few blackberries.
Ghost Black Gin (£25, 70cl, Thedropstore.com)
With a dangerous dose of black magic, Leanne Ware, director of spirits at Halewood Wines & Spirits, says tasting this “is very much a treat, with its peppery, piney juniper and black pepper spice sweetened by the citrus peels delivering a creamy finish. A great gin with a different look, not to be shied away from!”
D1 London Gin (£35.99, 70cl), D1 Single Skull Mould (available in Blue and Purple, £4.99 each), D1londonspirits.co.uk)
If you’re short on time, something as simple but arresting as a G&T with a skull shaped ice cube in a copa glass suddenly takes on a whole new identity – especially with a bottle of the eerie looking D1 gin on the Halloween table setting or bar.
The liquid’s botanicals include coriander, angelica root, cassia bark and liquorice, and for a measure of trickery and intrigue, add a drop of vivid food colouring into the mould – they can double up as mini frozen cocktails.
The Glenrothes 13 Year Old – Halloween Edition 2019 (£64.95, 70cl, Master of Malt)
The deadliest of drams, The Glenrothes have rolled out their limited edition Halloween bottling and shrouded this year’s ghostly spirit in white with a pumpkin orange label. Given the release is a mysterious 13 Year Old, the bottle comes with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, so you can access a hidden webpage and learn more about the secrets behind this expression.
Matured in sherry and bourbon casks, expect aromas of wood smoke and creamy vanilla with flavours of vanilla, orange peel, light peat and a sweet and smoky aftertaste.
Grande Alberone Organic Black Bio Vino Rosso, Italy (£7.99, Aldi)
With dramatic flavours of black cherries and plums, with hints of raisins and sweet spice, this fangtastic Italian – with its gothic style label cloaked like Dracular’s cape – is the perfect costume party red to serve with saucy sausage pasta bake or chilli con carne with jacket potatoes. Watch it disappear into the night.
The Waxed Bat Reserve 2018, Mendoza, Argentina (£13.99, Laithwaite’s)
For trick-or-treaters who take their fright nights seriously, this rich, full bodied blend of cabernet sauvignon and malbec contrasts ripe blackberry and blackcurrant forest fruits with succulent plum flavours, and there’s a wisp of smoky vanilla from 12 months in oak. Pitch black with velvety smooth tannins, bewitch your friends by serving it with the best burgers, melted cheese and sweet red onions for a screaming ovation.
Ghost Corner Pinot Noir 2016, Elim, South Africa (£19.99, Waitrose, in-store)
From a vineyard at the southernmost tip of Africa, this wine’s haunting scent draws you in as soon as it’s poured. The landscape – a matrix of lime-rich soil with slate and gravel deposits – create these medal- winning wines which take their name from the mysterious and treacherous waters where many a ship has met its fate. Enticingly silky, the ripe cherry and raspberry fruit has an underlying earthiness with a long, seductive finish.