The Knowledgeable Wino: Halloween party potions

Halloween is almost here. You’ve probably planned what you’ll wear, but what about what you’ll drink? Here are some holiday-appropriate ideas.

Photo by Giancarlo Rivera

Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year, which means you’ll probably be throwing or attending one or more ghoulish gatherings over the course of the next few days. Here are some drink ideas for your freakish festivities.

Captain Howdy
A spooky rendition of the classic Dark and Stormy that’ll get you crab crawling on the dance floor.

You’ll need:
-Your favourite dark rum
-Ginger beer (don’t use ginger ale — it’s not nearly as spicy)
-Pumpkin purée
-Fresh lime
-Nutmeg (fresh is best, but powdered will do)

Pre-chill your tall glasses in your freezer for about an hour or so. Add four ice cubes to a glass. Pour in two ounces of rum, two ounces of ginger beer, and two ounces of pumpkin purée and stir. Squeeze in a slice of lime and finish with a dusting of nutmeg. But save some of that rum: if you meet Captain Howdy in your dreams, you may need another one in the morning.

John Bonham’s Zombie
A tricked-and-treated version of the classic Old Fashioned. This kinda stuff kinda killed old Bonzo.

You’ll need:
-Your favorite bourbon whiskey
-Angostura bitters
-Club soda or seltzer water (regular flat water will do, too)
-Maraschino cherry
-Pumpkin purée

In a short glass, mix one teaspoon of sugar, a splash of water and two dashes of angostura bitters. Add a cherry and a splash of pumpkin purée. Muddle using a traditional muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in two ounces of bourbon. Top up glass with ice cubes, stir gently and serve. Caution: side effects include fancying a round of snooker and being haunted by the persistent sound of the intro to “When The Levee Breaks.”

You’ve heard of the Brain Tumor — well, this version will give you bad brains. If you ever had a smoke behind CBGB’s in the early ‘80s, you may have noticed something resembling this stuck to your white Keds.

You’ll need:
-Vodka (ice-cold only)
-Bailey’s Irish cream
-Grenadine syrup

Pour the ice-cold vodka three-quarters of the way into a shot glass (or similar-sized glass). Gently and slowly add a layer of Amaretto, leaving some room. Pour the Bailey’s in, off-centre, to simulate stringy brain bits. Add generous drops of grenadine down the middle to simulate a bloody brain mess gone wrong. Lobotomy! Lobotomy!

A liquid homage to Dario Argento’s film, the zenith of Italian horror and soiler of my pantaloons.

You’ll need:
-Canadian Club whiskey
-Pure blood orange juice (preferably Sicilian)
-Simple syrup
-Fresh pomegranate seeds

Pour one-and-a-half ounces of whiskey, one ounce of Campari, two ounce of blood orange juice, and a half-ounce of simple syrup into shaker with ice cubes. Shake until your hand is too cold and pour into a short glass. Add one tablespoon of pomegranate seeds to simulate icky teeth and serve. It’s like looking straight into the witch’s mouth and going in for a stinky-ass kiss.

St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale
Once a year, McAuslan unleashes its Pumpkin Ale (aka Halloween beer) onto the public. Don’t knock it till ya try it — medium-bodied with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and brown sugar dancing on a pumpkin base. Get it here while quantities last.

2012 Yalumba Y Series Viognier
Chances are your party will include a pumpkin pie, tart, cookie or cupcake of some sort. If this is the case, here is a wine that will wash that orange gourd down the hatch. Viognier, almost unfarmed out of existence until the 1970s, is a Côtes du Rhône big-boned white that is now doing just fine in the New World. This 2012 Yalumba Y Series (SAQ code: 11133811; $16.95) is from the land down under. It has delicious tangerine, pineapple and yellow apple aromas with a great fatty-mouth feel. Serve it at 10 C — any colder and it won’t be mellow enough for your pumpkin. ■

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