When I was little I thought that Halloween was a holiday for kids.
Now that I’m a world-weary 27, I realize that’s not entirely true. Just because you’re too old to trick-or-treat (and don’t have any small ones of your own to schlep around the neighborhood) doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate. And what better way to celebrate, I ask you, than to drink?
Below are a collection of my favorite Halloween- and Fall-themed beverages, loosely listed in increasing order of complexity. All are, of course, gluten-free. As an added bonus many are made with the inherently gluten-free spirits like tequila and rum, which we know from previous posts many of you prefer.
Those beverages with an asterisk are inherently alcohol-free, but delicious enough to please designated drivers, underage ones, and prefer-not-to-drinkers. I promise not to tell if you sneak a little rum into them – but I might show up at your doorstep come Halloween night.
Pumpkin Hard Ciders: Woodchuck and ACE have both brewed festive hard ciders that you should be able to find locally. Doc’s also has a special pumpkin cider this year, which can be trickier to find in stores far from New York – but can be ordered online if you can’t find it locally. It goes without saying that all three are gluten-free.
Bleeding Heart Martini: Martha Stewart’s Halloween goblins deserve the credit for this simple and poetic twist on a gin martini. In their words this is, “a drink with a pickled beet that “bleeds” from a would caused by a cocktail spear.”
Hot Spiced Concord Grape Juice* Let it never be said that Martha isn’t looking out for those of us who are lazy. This mulled juice would be tasty on its own, but if it were in my chalice I’d add a splash of vodka or clear rum. Spiked or not, you can double the Halloween spirit by setting the punch bowl in a cauldren that has some dry ice.
Seven Sins Organic Authority has a handful of drinks on this page, but the Seven Sins uses Laird’s Applejack, a delicious and under-appreciated spirit. I suppose you could use Apple Pucker if Laird’s wasn’t at your local store, but I urge you to find the real stuff. It’s tasty.
Basil Limeade Slushies* The most difficult thing about this Food and Wine recipe is probably finding enough fresh basil this late in the year. If you can, though, these have a refreshing, adult flavor palate that would stand up well to
Poison Apple Punch* This ginger beer / apple / berry treat takes some advance planning – you’ve got to make Raspberry syrup and pre-mull the apple juice, so it’s not a day-of decision. They suggest Reed’s Ginger Brew, but if you live somewhere where Jamaica’s Finest Ginger Beer is sold I would try that instead, because it’s freakin’ delicious.
Tied for last place in the super-complicated, but also awesome gluten-free Halloween drinks we have another Martha Stewart idea and a classic beverage as reported by Esquire Magazine:
The Zombie is a classic cocktail from the 1930’s. It’s absurdly complicated – 4 kinds of rum! – and I will probably never make one. But it IS festive, appropriate, and also a bit nostalgic.
Shrunken Heads in Cider* is a citrusy cider recipe, although you could really use any recipe you wanted. What makes this a standout? The shrunken heads, obvi. You’ll make them from apples, and you’ll want to start at least a few hours before it’s go time (they need to bake for 90 minutes to shrink, and then they need to cool a bit). If you have children old enough to use a paring knife, this would be a fun way to keep them busy.
Whatever gluten-free liquids you plan to enjoy this Halloween, have a great time (and remember to be safe!). What are your favorite festive gluten-free cocktails?