Frighteningly Good Halloween Hosting
As we bid adieu to October and prepare to welcome Winter, one holiday marks the countdown to Christmas. Halloween, in all its ghoulish glamour, is our annual chance to go wild with costume hosting and lavish looking parties. From dressing your house to what drinks to serve, you can still achieve elegance with such a strong, visual theme. Here’s how to Halloween the Clos19 way.
Why do we celebrate Halloween?
Many moons ago, a pagan festival used to take place around November 1st to commemorate the end of the summer and harvest time. Folklorists said that this was also a spooky time when the dead ‘crossed over’ but in reality, the festival was more about honoring past leaders and praying for the land’s ‘rebirth’ after winter. When Pope Gregory later decreed in the eighth century that November 1st would be ‘All Saints Day’, the traditions combined and October 31st became ‘All Hallows Eve’ and later, ‘Halloween’. Today it’s a holiday that provides a safe way to play with the concept of death, but most simply use it as an excuse to get dressed up and have fun; perfect timing for some elegantly gruesome drink party hosting...
Halloween cocktails that aren’t tricky
When hosting a Halloween party, we suggest the following, easy-to make cocktails:
A classic Bloody Mary works, but a Skeleton Key cocktail is quick and simple to put together. Mix a generous portion of whisky, such as ‘the original’ Glenmorangie with a squeeze of lemon juice. Muddle with lots of ice cubes in a glass and top up with ginger beer for a fiery kick. Add 6 to 8 shakes of bitters on the top but don’t mix at this point; the bitters look gloriously like blood. Serve in a tall cup.
For a slightly more elegant cocktail with a gentle nod to the Halloween theme with its deep red colour, try the ‘Life in Venice’, featuring Moët Ice Impérial poured into a large wine glass over ice, with a slick of Italian bitter digestif and a dash of grapefruit bitters.
A touch of orange: pumpkin-themed cocktails and labels
Vibrant, welcoming and quintessentially Autumnal, we love the colour orange. If you’re after a drink to match your pumpkin décor, we highly recommend a glass or few of Veuve Clicquot champagne with its iconic ‘Yellow Label’. This classic, fruit-driven champagne makes a fine pairing for pumpkin tempura if you’re that way inclined. It has also been known to adorn the tables of many a glamourous, Hollywood ‘Yelloween’ party. Just don’t tell everyone, ok?
If you’re more in mind for orange-themed cocktails however, try these:
Warm, spicy and deep, dark orange, the Old Fashioned cocktail is Autumn in a tumbler. Place a brown sugar cube in the glass with a splash of water or club soda and a dash of orange bitters. Crush the sugar, then squeeze the orange peel, adding the oils to the glass. Tip in ice cubes with a large measure (50 mL) of Glenmorangie ‘original’, stir and garnish with maraschino cherries to taste. Cosy and comforting on such a spooky night.
Wet the rim of your coupe or martini glass and trim it with brown sugar. Put it aside and into a separate mixing glass filled with ice, pour 50 mL of Hennessy Fine de Cognac, 25 mL of orange liqueur, 25 mL of lemon juice, then shake vigorously. Strain and serve into your sugar-coated glass.
If you want to go even darker and smokier, then a Perfect Manhattan cocktail is your go-to Halloween tipple. Fill a shaker with ice and mix 50 mL of the famously peat-smoky Ardbeg Uigedail whisky with 25 mL each of red and white vermouth and three shakes of orange bitters. Stir well, then strain and top off with a cocktail cherry or lemon peel twist.
Drinks parties with a spooky twist are what Halloween is all about (if you’re over five years old), so experiment with those cocktails and have fun with your garnishes. Just remember to check who’s really behind the mask.