It’s Halloween week, meaning anyone who’s throwing a party for the holiday (or wanting something festive to sip on as they wait for trick-or-treaters) might be scrambling to decide which cocktails to make. To help, we’ve rounded up 12 of our favorite drinks with flavors that play well the cold weather and the spices of the season.
Whether you want something mulled, shaken, or stirred, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for inspiration on what to drink now that we’re fully settled into fall.
Inspired by Cookie & Kate’s Spiced Apple Margarita, this margarita swaps the lime juice for apple cider—“a quintessential fall beverage,” the recipe developer, Erin Alexander, writes—and “kicks things up a notch with a healthy pinch of cayenne and cinnamon.” It’s a perfectly spicy-yet-sweet cocktail to sip on as the temps drop.
As John deBary says, “Halloween is the perfect soft entry into the holiday season because there’s no one way to do it right.” And what better way to toast the start of the holiday season than with deBary’s Halloween Eyeball Punch? Made with apple brandy, port, and apple cider, it’s a relatively simple drink, but the garnish is what leaves a mark.
The apple ribbons and peeled grapes are soaked in bright-red bitters to give them a “stomach-turning internal-organs vibe that’s perfect for a celebration of spookiness,” deBary writes. Perfect for any Halloween party, if you ask us.
With a couple of small tweaks, this classic summer cocktail was turned into a drink ideal for any chill autumn evening. With an ounce of mezcal and a dash of aromatic bitters, you get a nice, smoky flavor that’s a natural fit for the season.
Beer cocktails are a no-brainer for parties, and this one, with its vivid, dark red hue, is tailor-made for a spooky Halloween hang. “This is a drink that left us scratching our heads,” our Test Kitchen team writes. “WHY do gin, Aperol, and porter beer go well together? With a couple more sips, we stopped being confused and surrendered to this strange, wonderful, and boozy combination.”
Whiskey and spiced apples are a natural pair, but especially in the fall. This recipe is two parts, only requires five ingredients, and would be an easy one to batch for any holiday get together.
Another great one to serve as a batch (especially if you’re on that whiskey-and-apple bandwagon) is this seasonal moonshine punch.
“Wanting an easy party drink that tasted just like fall, we immediately grabbed rye whiskey as our base spirit,” writes Kate Williams, who developed this recipe with her roommate. “A one-two punch of fresh-pressed apple cider and the hard stuff (for bubbles). We found some great maple-flavored bitters at a cocktail shop in Somerville, MA, but any bitters you like should work fine.”
Who doesn’t love a French 75? For a fall twist on the drink, just swap out the lemon juice for blood orange and the honey for simple syrup. “The blood orange juice, gin, and honey can be batched a couple hours before serving, so it can come together in a snap once your guests arrive: Simply top the pre-batched cocktail with Champagne and serve,” recipe developer, Josh Cohen, advises.
8. Witch’s Brew
The recipe developer, fiveandspice, is a cocktail recipe contest winner who knows how to churn out delicious, seasonal drinks to enjoy. “A fun cocktail for Halloween that looks gross (and is filled with slimy frog eggs/eyeballs that are actually boba tea balls!) but tastes quite sophisticated from the combination of mint, Green Chartreuse, lime, gin, and Aperol,” they write about this spooky sipper.
This recipe comes from the beloved Little Branch in New York City, a semi-hidden, underground cocktail bar known for its vast menu of handcrafted cocktails. With bourbon, Aperol, and amaro, it’s a fantastic bitter drink to enjoy year-round, but especially in the fall.
With autumn comes all things maple. “This loose interpretation of an old fashioned came out of an improvisation when I ran out of maraschino cherries, but it definitely holds its own against the original,” writes Julie, the author of this recipe. “The flavors are especially suited to fall and winter, but I enjoy them year-round.”
Obviously you should consider having at least one hot cocktail, and this one’s perfect since it can be served hot or cold. “Dating back to at least the late 1800s, the original Martinez is a richer, fruitier counterpoint to the more austere Martini and makes a great base to riff upon for a cozy, wintertime drink,” deBary says.
12. Autumn Ash
With autumn in the name, this drink feels like an obvious choice for the start of the holiday season. With Scotch, apple brandy, elderflower liqueur, and orange bitters, it’ll warm you up in no time.
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What are your go-to fall cocktails? Let us know in the comments below!