Spooky Brews

Ghoulish drinks for kids and adults can pack a frightful punch for Halloween

October 31, 2007|By Special to The Sun

Elinor Klivans — HALLOWEEN DRINKS ARE ALL ABOUT frightful fun. And even if you've put off thoughts of entertaining until today, they're the perfect last-minute way to make a spooky splash when trick-or-treating starts tonight.

This isn't a time for your attractive, mouthwatering drink ideas. Beverages for this ghoulish celebration must be fantastic, atrocious and even somewhat grotesque - the more frightening, the better.

Think color when creating Halloween brews - green, red, blue, orange and black. To produce the necessary eerie hues, experiment with green, orange and black sodas (root beer or cola), red and orange juices or blue Curacao liqueur.

Hit the store for a few trinkets to top off your brews. Small plastic spiders, skulls, pumpkins and other Halloween items can be frozen in ice cubes or blocks of ice. Water, colored or plain, can be frozen in disposable gloves, plastic pumpkins or round molds to create floating hands, pumpkins or eyes.

For your adult guests, serve popular drink combinations such as a Bloody Mary or a Cosmopolitan as punch - with, of course, some bloody hands or olive eyes. Make Devil's Hand Punch with vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice; rum and cola combine for a potent dark Midnight Brew with floating spiders. Any beverage recipe is easily halved or doubled to fit the size of your crowd.

Dry ice will make "smoke" if added to punch, but handle it with great caution. It is made from carbon dioxide and the temperature can be as low as minus 109 degrees. Be sure that the dry ice is food-grade quality. Do not add any other ice to the punch because dry ice will cool it sufficiently. The Web site dryiceinfo.com recommends using 2 to 4 pounds of dry ice for each gallon of room-temperature punch.

Use protective gloves when handling dry ice to prevent burning your skin. Most importantly, never eat or swallow dry ice - even food grade. Keep dry ice away from children and make sure that any unwrapped dry ice (which releases carbon dioxide) is in a well-ventilated area. Supermarkets may have dry ice for sale. (A list of retailers by area can be found at dryicedirectory.com.)

Containers can add to the spooky effect. Ceramic pumpkin bowls or black bowls are handy to have and can be used for other occasions. Party-supply stores often have inexpensive and scary-looking serving bowls that can be saved and used year after year. An ordinary punch bowl can be decorated with orange and black ribbons, and a big kettle makes a nice serving "caldron."

When it comes to serving drinks for kids, a hollowed-out pumpkin makes a great serving vehicle for spiced cider. Hot chocolate easily gets creepy with marshmallow ghosts, and with some Gummi worms swimming around in it, a lemon-lime punch becomes just gross enough.

Punch up the scare factor

Here are more ideas for making your brews spooky:

Try freezing some of the juice used for a punch as ice cubes. Using frozen juice rather than water prevents punch from being watered down by melting ice.

Large blocks of ice can be frozen in clean milk cartons or plastic containers. These will melt more slowly than cubes and last longer in a punch.

Look for gelatin molds in the shape of hands or pumpkins that can be used to make frozen shapes.

Raisins in the ice look like insects.

Whipped cream can be piped through a plain pastry tube into ghostly shapes and squiggles to float on top of drinks.

Red and green grapes (peeled or unpeeled), red cherries, pimento-stuffed olives or cherry tomatoes can imitate eyeballs. Press a whole clove into a grape, cherry or small tomato to heighten the effect.

To decorate glasses or mugs, color honey red with drops of food coloring. Dip the glass in the honey and swirl it. Hold the glass upright to let the thick red honey drip down the side of the glass. It looks like blood is dripping down the side of the glass, but it tastes fine.

[Elinor Klivans]

Zombie Punch

Makes about 20 servings

6 cups cold limeade (divided use)

1 liter cold lemon soda, such as 7-Up or Sprite

1 quart club soda

2 pints lime sherbet

20 or more Gummi worms

Fill ice trays with 2 cups of the limeade and freeze firm.

In a punch bowl or container that holds at least 5 quarts, put the frozen limeade cubes. Pour the remaining 4 cups of limeade, the lemon soda and the club soda over the ice cubes and stir gently to combine them. Place small scoops of sherbet in the punch and float Gummi worms on top of the sherbet. Ladle into cups or glasses.

Per serving: 308 calories, trace protein, 1 gram fat, trace saturated fat, 76 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 31 milligrams sodium

Vampire's Brew

Makes about 12 servings

32 ounces cold tomato juice

12 ounces vodka

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco

12 pimento-stuffed olives

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