Jack-O’-Lantern Cocktail

jack o'lantern cocktail hero image

The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
196 Calories
0g Fat
18g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 196
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 33mg 166%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 102mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A simple recipe that is perfect for a spooky Halloween party, the jack-o'-lantern cocktail is as fun to look at as it is to drink. It features a tasty mix of brandy and orange with a little fizz and includes a garnish that turns your glass into a pumpkin.

The recipe is adapted from one that was developed to feature Hennessy VSOP cognac. It backs off the orange juice a little, letting the brandy take more of a starring role, and includes more ginger ale. Add in the brandy-based orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, and the drink has a little more sweetness to offset the semi-tart citrus while making it more refreshing. You can, however, make little adjustments to any of the ingredients to achieve your ideal taste.

"I am new to this cocktail, but a fan of cognac cocktails—so tasting the Jack o’ Lantern was a pleasant surprise. Orange liqueur, orange juice, and ginger ale form a taste akin to vanilla. The cognac surrounds this vanilla with caramel, red fruit, and oak making it pleasantly deep but equally easy to drink." —Sean Johnson

Jack O Lantern Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac

  • 1/2 ounce brandy-based orange liqueur

  • 1 ounce orange juice

  • 2 to 3 ounces ginger ale, to taste

  • Lime twist, for garnish

  • Orange wheel, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients

    Jack-O’-Lantern Cocktail ingredients

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake the cognac, orange liqueur, and orange juice.

    ice, cognac, orange liqueur, and orange juice in a cocktail shaker

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  3. Strain into a large old-fashioned glass over fresh ice. Top with the ginger ale.

    Strain cocktail into a large old-fashioned glass over fresh ice and top with the ginger ale

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

  4. Place the lime twist into the top center of the orange wheel and float on top of the drink.

    Jack-O’-Lantern Cocktail garnished with an orange slice

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

The 'Pumpkin' Garnish

  • The jack-o'-lantern garnish is one of the easiest garnishes you can make. You can create a bunch of pumpkin tops in advance of a party; simply refrigerate the completed garnishes until they're needed.
  • Make sure to choose a large enough glass that can fit the orange wheel. You'll likely need a double rocks (old-fashioned) glass to get the diameter needed for an average orange. You can also select smaller oranges specifically for this drink.
  • Keep in mind that you need a little room around the orange so it does not block the drink from pouring out. If your orange does touch the rim, you can always insert a thin sipping straw down the side. This should let you enjoy the drink while keeping your pumpkin intact.
  • For the lime, cut a long twist from the peel, then cut it into small sections to create the stems for multiple drinks. The other option is to simply cut strips of lime peel and forget the spiral. Either way, it will look great and should poke right into the center of the orange wheel.


  • Every cocktail needs to be customized to suit your personal taste and the jack-o'-lantern is no different. The recipe is a good starting point that puts more focus on the cognac and ginger ale, leaving the orange ingredients as a background flavor. 
  • This may still be too much orange juice for some people, so you may want to back off a little more on it, depending on the juice you are using. This ratio works rather well with fresh-squeezed orange juice that has the pulp removed. If you choose a store-bought orange juice with a more concentrated flavor, you may want to pour only 1/2 to 3/4 ounce.
  • You can also customize the amount of ginger ale. If you find the drink to be a little orange heavy, simply add more soda after the first few sips to give the drink a little more life.

How Strong Is a Jack-O'-Lantern?

As you make adjustments to the recipe, its alcohol content will change slightly. Yet, it is always going to be a relatively mild mixed drink, somewhere in the 14 percent ABV (28 proof) range. To put it into perspective, it's only slightly stronger than the average wine.