Give your favorite cocktails a Halloween spook-liftWhen planning the drinks you’ll serve for Halloween parties keep in mind the type of cocktails you and your guests usually consume.  Use those drink recipes as the basis for your cocktail inspiration.  After all, the plethora of popular Halloween cocktails with clever names, creepy garnishes and bubbling froth will be more miss than hit if the flavor aspect is lost on you and your guests.  Popular drink recipes can be adapted to suit the spooky season without the fear factor.

Converting Popular Cocktails into Popular Halloween Cocktails

Midori Sour to Shivering Sour

Give your favorite cocktails a Halloween spook-liftShivering Sour – adapted by Cheri Loughlin

1 ounce Melon Liqueur

1 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

1/4 ounce Sloe Gin

Combine melon liqueur, citrus juices and simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Float Sloe Gin on top for creepy effect.

Grateful Dead Variation

Give your favorite cocktails a Halloween spook-liftOne of the first long drinks I fell in love with at the bar, figuratively and literally, was the Grateful Dead.  The version I liked without Sprite topper is long gone along with the bartender who tweaked the recipe to my liking.  There are as many variations to the Grateful Dead as there are bars in any given town.  This adaptation relies on a kick of spice with the inclusion of spiced rum and Drambuie.  If you’d like to add just a hint more flavor, use a good reposado tequila as well.

Grateful Dead – adapted by Cheri Loughlin

1/2 ounce Tequila

1/2 ounce Vodka

1/2 ounce Spiced Rum

1/2 ounce Gin

3/4 ounce Raspberry Liqueur

1/4 ounce Drambuie

1/2 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 ounce Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

1 ounce Club Soda

Combine all ingredients except club soda in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend. Strain into Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with club soda. Stir. Garnish with lemon wedge and maraschino cherries if desired.  Notation: This can be made ahead and multiplied for a party pitcher drink, too.

Classic Harvey Wallbanger to Fantasma

Give your favorite cocktails a Halloween spook-liftFantasma is the feminine gender noun for ghost in Italian. Since Galliano is the primary flavor outside of orange in the classic Harvey Wallbanger drink it’s appropriate to rely on the Italian heritage to rename the cocktail for the season.  This recipe is my version of the classic Harvey Wallbanger. Many Harvey Wallbanger recipes call for 2 ounces vodka, 6 ounces orange juice and 1/4 ounce Galliano float.  Vodka adds little to the flavor of orange juice.  It seems rather unfair to add a mere splash of Galliano to such a tall drink, so shortening the drink and going long on spirited flavor is just the right ticket to detail in this rendition in my opinion.

Screaming Fantasma – adapted by Cheri Loughlin

1-1/2 ounce Vodka

4 ounces Orange Juice

3/4 ounce Galliano

Place ice in a highball glass. Add vodka and orange juice. Stir. Float Galliano on top. Notation: Ordinary vodka can also be exchanged for citrus or orange flavored vodkas to give the base Screwdriver drink or Harvey Wallbanger added oomph.

Amaretto Sour to Toiling in Trouble Sour

Give your favorite cocktails a Halloween spook-liftThe Amaretto Sour tops many people’s list as a popular favorite.  Yet this particular drink easily goes too sweet too fast or zings into the dark side of pucker up lemony sour in no time flat.  Rather than mixing straight amaretto and lemon juice with a cross your fingers and hope for the best wicked smile, take the time to mellow out the drink with a couple of additional add-ins.  Rum smoothes the sour out a bit while orange juice gives a wee burst of healthy citrus flavor shine.

Toiling in Trouble Sour – adapted by Cheri Loughlin

2 ounces Amaretto

3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

3/4 ounce Lemon or Citrus Rum

1/2 ounce Orange Juice

Place liquids in cocktail shaker with ice.  Shake to blend. Strain into Collins glass large rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with orange wheel and cherry.

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All content ©2015 Cheri Loughlin, The Intoxicologist. All Rights Reserved. Chat with Cheri @Intoxicologist on Twitter and

Cheri Loughlin is the Omaha writer and photographer behind and author of Cocktails with a Tryst: An Affair with Mixology and Seduction. You can email Cheri with comments and questions at

Tweaking Popular Cocktails for Halloween Menus
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