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The best kind of Halloween bash fully embraces the chilling, spooky, and silly parts of the holiday, especially when it comes to cocktails. That means a glowing green sour apple margarita any wicked stepmother would approve of, or something a little splashier, like a bubbly ginger and cranberry concoction. This year, we’re keeping the party going with these cocktail recipes (and more!) that’ll win over the ghosts and ghouls in your trick-or-treating crew.
Bloody Bourbon Sour
Warm up with this bourbon sipper on the briskest of Halloween nights. It’s a festive riff on a classic whiskey sour, swapping the usual lemon juice for blood orange juice and rounding things out with maple syrup. If you can’t find blood oranges this time of year, you can use store-bought juice.
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce blood orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce maple syrup
Blood orange or orange wedge, for garnish
Combine bourbon, blood orange juice, and maple syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Seal the shaker and shake until very well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with a blood orange or orange wedge.
Poison Apple Margarita
This neon-hued margarita might look venomous — it’s anything but. Here, crisp green apple flavor is the star, and the liqueur mingles with tequila, lime juice, and just a little agave syrup for one eye-catching cocktail.
1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila
1 ounce sour apple liqueur
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave syrup
Green apple slice, for garnish
Combine tequila, sour apple liqueur, lime juice, and agave syrup in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Seal the shaker and shake until very well chilled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a margarita glass or coupe and garnish with a green apple slice.
The Great Pumpkin Shandy
This refreshing drink is a crowd pleaser, tailor made for all the pumpkin-carving enthusiasts, Charlie Brown OGs, and PSL die-hards. Combine your favorite pumpkin beer with juicy apple cider in a glass rimmed with pumpkin spice sugar for this celebratory shandy.
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 lemon wedge
6 ounces pumpkin beer
6 ounces apple cider
Combine sugar and pumpkin pie spice on a small plate. Moisten the rim of a 12-ounce glass with the lemon wedge. Invert the glass into the spiced sugar, turning it as needed, until the rim is coated.
Pour the beer into the glass, followed by the apple cider.
Whether it’s a trio of witches casting a spell around a vat of something or friends toasting, bubbles always signal a party. This sparkling wine cocktail is both sweet and spicy, thanks to a splash of ginger liqueur, while cranberry juice not only lends a tart kick but a seasonal touch. Garnish glasses with a few fresh cranberries, or string pieces of chocolate-dipped crystalized ginger onto toothpicks and lay it on top of each glass.
1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
3 ounces 100% cranberry juice (unsweetened)
3 ounces prosecco or other dry sparkling wine
Fresh cranberries, for garnish
Pour ginger liqueur and cranberry juice in a Champagne flute. Top with prosecco. Garnish with fresh cranberries.
Dark and Spooky Night
This dark-and-stormy-inspired cocktail is tangy, bright, and full of warm fall spices from both spiced rum and a sparkly splash of ginger beer. Use a mild-flavored honey, like clover or orange blossom here, so it doesn’t overpower those aromatic autumnal notes.
1/2 ounce honey
1/2 ounce warm water
2 ounces spiced rum
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Splash ginger beer
Cinnamon stick, for garnish
Combine honey and warm water in a highball glass and stir until honey dissolves. Add rum and lime juice. Add ice to fill the glass and stir until well chilled. Top with a splash of ginger beer. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
The Friendly Ghost
There are no tricks, only treats with this white-Russian-inspired cocktail. Crème de cacao gives it a deep chocolate flavor, and if you can, seek out dark (also known as brown) crème de cacao, which has a richer, more dark chocolatey flavor. White (or clear) crème de cacao is lighter and milder, and will make for a less chocolate-forward, albeit still very tasty drink.
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce crème de cacao, preferably dark
1 ounce heavy cream
Cocoa powder, for garnish
Pour vodka and dark crème de cacao into an ice-filled rocks glass. Add heavy cream and gently stir to combine. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.
Photographer: Paul Quitoriano
Food Styling: Cesar Aldrete
Art Direction: Sarah Ceniceros