Cooking Lesson #366: The 'Witches Brew' ... A Perfect Scary Halloween Cocktail
… from the California Happy Hour Bar
Boo! How you doin’? There are so many rich stories about Halloween—some of them even true! Halloween first came to the United States in the 1840s, however the celebration of Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.
The Celts lived 2,000 years ago in an area we now recognize as Ireland. On their calendar they celebrated their New Year on November 1st. This is when the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to mankind (the whole ghosts and goblins thing). Modern witches say it is a time of year when the “veil between the dead and the living is thin” (imagine, squeaky doors and scary music).
In later years, the word “Halloween” had its origins within the Catholic Church and is corrupted from All Hallows Eve. “All Hallows Day” or “All Saints Day” is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints on November 1st.
In the 1st century AD, Samhain was assimilated into celebrations of some Roman traditions that took place in October, such as a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Pomona’s symbol is the apple which might explain (if it isn’t too much of a stretch) the origin of bobbing for apples on Halloween… or it could just be that apples are a fall fruit and are abundant at that time.
Halloween came to America in the 1840s with Irish immigrants fleeing a potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses (that’s a s—tty thing to do) and unhinging fence gates.
The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have Irish origins as well from the practice going door-to-door to collect money and cake or another custom of begging for soul cakes or offerings for one’s dead relatives (the original Irish shake-down). Failure to supply a treat would result in a practical joke.
The Jack-o’-Lantern is believed to have come from Irish folklore about a drunk, Jack, who tricked Satan into climbing a tree then carved an image of a cross in the trunk to trap the devil in the branches. He struck a deal with Satan to leave his soul alone when he died but then heaven would not take him either and he carried embers in a hollowed turnip as he wandered in eternal darkness forever—poor Jack. The turnip was later replaced with a pumpkin.
Which brings us to today… my Witches Brew cocktail is eye catching with its purple color. The vivid color is dramatically beautiful, and the dry ice creates a perfectly eerie feeling for a Halloween get together.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: Makes: 4 cocktails
To rim the glass
1 fresh lime
3 drops purple food coloring (you can mix your own with red and blue food color)
1 tablespoon sugar
For the cocktail
4 ounces vodka
3 ounces lime juice
2 ounces raspberry liqueur (I prefer Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur)
Regular ice for the shaker
2 ounces of dry ice (optional) (See ChefSecret)
To prepare the shot glasses
ChefSecret: Want a scary highball instead of a shooter? Pour the shaken cocktail over crushed ice into a highball glass and fill the glass with tonic, soda or Sprite. Top off with dry ice to turn this cocktail into a smokin’ cauldron of perfection.
Halloween Quip of the Day: “How do you mend a broken Jack o’ Lantern? With a pumpkin patch, of course!”
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©Perspectives/The Consulting Group, Inc., 2021
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