Halloween is right around the corner, which means bartenders are breaking out the best kinds of tricks for the treats they’re serving up. From drams as dark as night to those playing with fire, here are five cocktails sure to ready you for the most spirited day of the year.
THE HEART OF DARKNESS at POURING RIBBONS
There’ll be no mistaking your drink for anyone else’s when it arrives at the table. That’s because this one is inky black, thanks to two teaspoons of activated charcoal-infused raspberry preserves, which bartender Courtney Colarik blends with Cimarrón Blanco Tequila, Koch Espadin Mezcal, Bittermens mole bitters and lime juice for a boozy-meets-beautiful All Hallow’s Eve sipper.
THE STICKY FRENCH WEB at BRANDY LIBRARY
It turns out there is a fear for just about everything — including that of eating sticky foods. In the chance you’ve never heard of arachibutyrophobia, a visit to this Tribeca lounge is bound to change that. It’s here that beverage director Joel Cuellar stirs together Bache Gabrielsen American Oak Cognac with equal parts Cherry Heering and dry vermouth before pouring them into a snifter, which he garnishes with Cognac-marinated cherry bits and a sprinkled caramel cracker.
THE PERLA NEGRA at SLOWLY SHIRLEY
Things take a dark turn at this subterranean cocktail den, where Jim Kearns uses activated charcoal to jazz up a concoction of Santa Teresa 1796, arrack, kalamansi, ginger, and honey. After shaken and strained over crushed ice (in a skull mug, nonetheless), it’s topped off with a votive candle for a spooky, albeit enlightening, twist.
THE UP IN FLAMES at SAXON + PAROLE
Inspired by pyrophobia, or the fear of fire, head bartender Masa Urushido decided to fan the flames a bit. After shaking together Maker’s 46 with lemon juice and housemade grilled peach sherbet, he strains it into a rocks glass, garnishes it with mint leaves, and tops it off with flaming ground cinnamon.
THE FADE TO BLACK at DAVID BURKE KITCHEN
This libation is as herbal as it is eye-catching, thanks to bartender Martin McLoughlin’s use of Chartreuse, rosemary, and STARR Black Rum — the jet black results occurring when activated charcoal meets STARR Ultra Superior Light Rum. After igniting the Chartreuse for 10 seconds in a glass, McLoughlin shakes the rum with simple syrup and citrus before straining it over the flame, filling the glass with ice, and garnishing the vessel with a sprig of rosemary.
By Nicole Schnitzler
(Photos from left: Perla Negra at Slowly Shirley by Nick Voderman; Up in Flames at Saxon + Parole by Andrew Kist; Heart of Darkness at Pouring Ribbons by Paul Wagtouicz)