Mr. Booze is putting on his cape again. It’s Halloween time and for obvious reasons guys and ghouls are once again planning a visit to my crypt-bar for suitable late October fun and drinkable spectacle. Over the past decade or so, we’ve tried hard to bring you Halloween selections in cocktails, music &, this year bar-related spirits. I’ll be posting a few of our older recommendations along with a couple new finds that should compliment your October bar nicely.
Let’s start with a fun gimmicky bottle of booze that actually is a very good vodka and just happens to come in a very cool, spooky-themed bottle. Crystal Head Vodka is now sitting on my home bar, originally set there as more of a prop, but after opening, I found it to be a nice vodka that tastes clean. It’s a very smooth vodka that’s filtered seven times and uses Canadian, pure water as its base. Nothing added besides the grains and the water, so you won’t find any of the oily tongue residue you find with other popular vodkas. No oil, no citrus, no nonsense, just a clean spirit. Vodka, for me, has always been something of a booze afterthought. I like a good cocktail made with it, but it is usually the other ingredients that carry a vodka drink. But I have to say, with the Crystal Head, the vodka flavor does indeed cut through and you get a sweet, subtle, vanilla flavor from the vodka along with your mixers.
Right off the bat, I made a vodka-martini. I wanted to taste the booze so I kept the drink rather dry with just a half jigger of dry vermouth, one dash of orange bitters and a blue-cheese stuffed olive. I tend to drink my martinis rather quickly on account of that I try not to lose the cold. So, with this martini, I think I was done in under five minutes, and I was very impressed with the results. I can honestly say that it was a hell of a good vodka martini with a very smooth finish. My glass was clean in the end, no oily film left like I’ve found with other vodkas. Gimmicky or not, this was a very good martini vodka, one of the best trendy vodkas I’ve had.
I next made a Moscow Mule with the Crystal Head and was equally impressed. Even through the ginger beer and lime, I tasted vodka, and a good one at that. I let the cocktail mix itself with the ice and lime rind and found as the minutes wore on, the vodka became just another lovely layer in this drink. By the time I was half finished, my mule morphed into pure deliciousness. Ginger Beer in the Autumn is a great thing. The Crystal Head Vodka made just a great addition to this drink.
Bottom line, the bottle does feel like a gimmick, but it’s a cool one and is beyond perfect as a Halloween prop for your home bar. It really is a beautiful bottle. Back light it with any sort of little glow-light you can find in the stores now and I think you’ll have a functional Halloween bar prop that will look great.
Mr. Booze’ Halloween Music Pick for 2016
I’ve reviewed Midnight Syndicate’s gothic and horror themed CD’s here in the past, and this year, I’m going with another one. Zombies, Official Board Game Soundtrack is a great recording to play during your homebar Halloween gatherings. Yes, it was created to be played while playing a zombie board game as atmosphere, but you don’t need to buy the game (I didn’t). I bought the album as atmosphere for life. It completely holds up as a soundtrack for a dimly lit bar in October. You pretty much listen to the soundtrack of a zombie apocalypse from soup to nuts. Starting with “It Begins”, turning a corner with “I Don’t Think They’re Dead”, and mopping up with “Race To The Helipad”, Zombies O.B.G.S., taps in to the current zombie craze without dominating an evening. It’s fun.
Classic Halloween Cocktails
An Oldie But A Goodie – I’m posting one of our older recommendations because It’s just such a damn good October Cocktail and the booze cuts through with this drink making it not just another sweet giggle of a cocktail that actually tastes like a drink and not some horrid Halloween themed creamy gag splash.
The Maple Bourbon Smash is more of a Halloween Old Fashioned than anything else and is really a great, strong cocktail that you really only should drink this time of year.
Here we go –
- 1/2 oz pure maple syrup,
- 1/2 oz fresh orange juice,
- 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice,
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters,
- 1/2 slice orange wheel,
- 2 oz bourbon.
Muddle the orange slice with everything but the bourbon in a chilled mixing glass. Add the bourbon and ice and stir. Pour into an ice-filled rocks glass and top with seltzer.
Blood And Sand – It is nice to have a autumnal/Halloween type cocktail without having to float a sugary fake brain or a pair of fangs in it. I like real drinks when I’m at my home bar and drinks that taste good, but can be made in a jiff. The scotch based Blood And Sand has the fall color you’re looking for tied with the smoky taste of whisky that reminds you that it’s starting to get cold outside. You can drink this in a goofy costume and not feel embarrassed while doing so.
Here we go –
- 3/4 oz blended scotch,
- 3/4 oz rosso vermouth,
- 1/4 oz cherry brandy,
- 1 1/2 orange juice.
- Shake with rocks and serve up or over ice.