One of the best parts about Halloween cocktails is that you can have a lot of fun with the presentation. You can be as creative with your cocktail garnishes as you are with your costume and there is virtually no limit to where your imagination can take you.
To spur your creative juices, let's take a look at a few simple Halloween garnish ideas that will add the trick to your cocktail treats!
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On its own, the eyeball is a little bit creepy and it makes a great Halloween garnish for a variety of drinks. There are many ways to construct edible eyeballs and which you choose is going to depend on the style of drink you're serving.
One of the most gruesome is the lychee eyeball. It was designed for the mad eye martini, though it can complement any lightly flavored or fruity drink. This one is made with a lychee fruit, a blueberry, and fruit preserves, which create the bloody veins. It is a great concept and the lychee is the perfect candidate for the casing because of its texture and membrane-like feel.
So the effect of your eyeball creations is not lost, don't drown them in the drink. Instead, skewer the garnish and rest it on the rim.
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For savory drinks like a bloody Mary, a radish eyeball may be more appropriate. You'll need a radish and a green olive to create one garnish—use regular jarred olives, which are smaller than gourmet olives and a better fit for medium-sized radishes.
- Use a small knife to peel a radish in strips. You want to leave thin streaks of red skin to represent blood vessels.
- Carefully scoop out a small hole in the radish that's just big enough to fit an olive using the tip of a vegetable peeler or a small knife.
- Stuff a green olive, pimiento side out, into each hole.
- Store in the refrigerator in a bowl of water until ready to use.
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Take your pumpkin carving skills to a smaller scale by carving your garnish. This is a neat little trick that can go with almost any cocktail.
All you need is a paring or canelle (channel) knife and some fruit to practice with; the orange is a perfect candidate because of its color and thick skin. You'll start by carving into the orange peel, leaving a thin layer of the white pith visible. The real trick, however, is to carefully peel the circle you cut away from the fruit. With a little patience and practice, you'll have a great garnish.
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This is a clever and easy garnish that can be used in a multitude of drinks. It's particularly neat on top of drinks with a concentration of orange juice, like this jack o'lantern cocktail. By having the orange-colored drink as a base and serving it in a short, round glass you'll get the full pumpkin effect.
Constructing this garnish is simple: Cut an orange wheel and a small piece of lime peel then poke the lime into the center of the orange. The faux pumpkin cap will float on your drink and you'll need to serve it with a straw.Continue to 5 of 12 below.
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Colored Sugar Rim
Drinks that call for a sugar rim and those that could be enhanced with one, can be transformed into a slightly creepier version for Halloween. It's as simple as using red or black sugar, as seen in the vampire kiss martini.
There are two options for colored sugar:
- You can find it in the baking section of the grocery store, though the color options may be limited. It's typically used for decorating sweets but makes a colorful rimming option as well.
- The alternative is to mix a few drops of food coloring into white sugar to make any color you want. The king cake shooter recipe uses this technique and has all the tips you need.
Also, rather than using lemon or lime juice to wet the rim, dip your glass in a shallow dish of grenadine instead. This creates a gooey red base for the sugar and can really have a dynamic effect against colored sugar.
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A very easy way to add a bloody effect to any drink is to drizzle a red syrupy liquid over the cocktail. The vampire's kiss cocktail is a perfect example and the grenadine is striking against the green glow of the Midori-based drink.
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Depending on your approach, this is probably the most difficult garnish to pull off. However, if you can get the technique down, your drinks will be stellar.
There are a few ways to create the look of spider webs inside a glass:
- The trickier way is demonstrated in the spider's kiss martini and involves drawing the web with chocolate syrup. The key is to work fast and freeze the glass immediately to avoid too many runs in your syrup. Then again, dripping chocolate can be an interesting effect as well.
- Alternatively, you can place strips of black licorice along the inside of your glass. Hold these in place with a generous pile of ice cubes.
- The other option is to draw the webbing on the outside of the glass using glass markers, which can be found at most craft stores. Pick up some cheap glasses to paint and have fun creating the webs. The glasses can then be a take-home party favor for your guests.
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This "garnish" is so simple, but it's very effective. Essentially, for drinks like the Halloween Hpnotist, you're just adding a glow stick. The dual advantage here is that you get a cool looking drink and a stir stick. An alternative to this is to wrap a glowing necklace or bracelet around the stem of a glass, securing it with glue on either end.
This cool effect does come with a warning: The chemicals inside a glow stick are toxic, so inspect the sticks for leaks before placing them in a drink. Also, rinse the sticks very well to remove any manufacturing debris.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
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Dry ice adds a foggy atmosphere to the party and is perfect for use on a drink table or display. A classic way to incorporate dry ice is to use it under a punch bowl illuminated by black lights. You can also set individual drink glasses on the ice.
Though it may be a neat effect, not everyone enjoys dry ice directly in their drink, so it is best to leave it out of the glasses. It has also been known to have dangerous side effects. This is primarily due to drinkers unknowingly consuming the ice—usually, because they do not realize (or are too drunk to know) that it is too cold to consume—and it can cause severe internal burns. Always use caution when entertaining with dry ice.
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The disclaimer first: Do not play with fire if you've been drinking! Also, be very careful anytime you light a drink on fire and be aware of surroundings, people, and other flammables nearby (Halloween costumes are very flammable).
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When you shake and strain drinks with either of those ingredients, you will have a thick, white foam floating on top of your drink. Tear a green herb that would complement the drink (e.g., mint, basil, etc.) into bits and scatter it on top to complete the garnish. If it works with the drink's flavor, add grated nutmeg or cinnamon for the look of dirt as well.
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Ice is essential in cocktails and if your Halloween menu includes drinks served on the rocks, use some ghoulish ice. It's possibly the easiest way to add a spooky twist to your party.
- It is not hard to find ice molds and trays in a variety of shapes, from skeletons and ghosts to fangs and pumpkins.
- For a punch bowl, fill a rubber glove with water (or a combination of water and juice) and freeze it. Tear off the glove (fingers may fall off, but that's cool) and you have a floating hand for your punch.
- Add fruits and herbs to ordinary cubes to give the illusion of mysterious floating objects and creatures.
- Drizzle a little grenadine into partially frozen cubes, then finish freezing them for a bloody effect