The best cocktails for Halloween are those that are made by invoking an eerie mood with special effects. From weird and wonderful Halloween cocktail garnishes to fall-inspired layers, to the use of special effects and color changes, learn how to create show-stopping drinks that will both charm and frighten your guests.
Setting a mood with Halloween cocktail garnishes and special effects
There are lots of ways to add a sinister and mysterious look to your drinks. Color and texture as well as common Halloween props can all play a part in helping your guests to experience a frightening mood.
One of the fun aspects of these Halloween cocktail garnishes, to me (as a gardener), is that many of the ingredients for making them are fruits and vegetables.
Are you planning on hosting a Halloween party this year but don’t know how to get started? Check out this article to find more than 70 great adult Halloween party ideas for food, drinks and decor suggestions. There are also some neat ideas for cocktails in the list.
Let’s look at some ideas for cocktail garnishes. tips for glass rim decorations and uses of color and fog in setting a mood.
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Sinister Halloween cocktail garnishes
Halloween parties are a time for you to dress up and enjoy being a kid again with your friends. Having a Halloween party (complete with special spooky drinks) is a great way to do this.
Common recipe ingredients, specially colored alcohols, Halloween candy treats and even vegetables can all be used as garnishes for Halloween drinks.
The trick is just thinking of using these common items in a way that will change the mood of your drink from a common place cocktail to one that really looks the part for your Halloween party.
Even the choice of glass can play a part. A glass of cranberry juice is…well just a glass of cranberry juice.
However, if you lower the lights and put the drink into a skeleton hand goblet, add a few plastic spiders and some fresh thyme, and you might rightfully think that the bloody looking drink has been made by witches.Halloween will soon be here and that means lots of seasonal cocktails. The best way to set a spooky mood is with fun and frightening cocktail garnishes. Get dozens of ideas to set a scary mood with your drinks this year.… Click To Tweet
Halloween cocktail garnishes – Lychee Eyeballs
Of all the icky and gruesome Halloween cocktail garnishes, none is quite a cringe-worthy as the lychee eyeball.
To make this hair raising garnish, stuff whole lychees with black olives to make the eyeball. Then, use red food coloring to add the bloodshot eye look. This garnish is perfect to any Halloween drink.
I like to serve the lychee eyeballs in glasses of Crow’s blood Halloween drink. – a spooky take on a champagne cocktail.
The cocktail is very easy to make. Just mix two cups of cranberry juice mixed with a bottle of champagne. Add some bitters to sugar cubes for a fizzling look.
Pour over the champagne and cranberry juice. Chill and serve in martini glasses garnished with the lychee eyeballs.
Pumpkin top embellishment
To make a pumpkin top garnish, cut a slice of orange and a straight peel of lime. Poke the lime through the center of the orange slice and sit the garnish on top of a cocktail with ice in it to position the weight of the orange.
You can peel and slice the orange, so the garnish is easy to eat, or just slice rounds of orange if you are using the garnish in a punch recipe.
This clever Halloween cocktail garnish can be used in a variety of drinks that feature orange juice such as a Jack O Lantern cocktail. The cocktail is made by mixing 1 oz of cognac with a 1/2 ounce of both ginger ale and Grand Marnier and the juice of 1/2 orange.
Mix well, fill the glass with ice and add the pumpkin top garnish over the top.
Serve your drink in a short glass to give the effect of a pumpkin. Rocks glasses work well and stemless wine glasses are even better since they have the round shape of a pumpkin.
Don’t forget the kids – Halloween cocktail garnishes are not just for adults! This fun pumpkin top garnish looks great in any orange mocktail, so they can enjoy the look, too.
Radish eyeballs garnish
Turn every day radishes into hair-raising eyeballs in just minutes. To make this ghoulish looking Halloween cocktail garnish, use plump radishes that are round in shape.
Take a serrated knife and scrape off a lot of the red peel of the radish to resemble the veins of the “bloodshot” eyes. Next, make an small cut out in the flat surface of the radish the size of your olive.
Cut stuffed green olives in half and push them into the cavity with the cut edge facing out. Presto – spooky radish eyeballs!
I used sword skewers to balance the garnish on the edge of my glass. You could also freeze each eyeball in water and turn them into eyeball ice cubes.
Radish eyeballs make a nice garnish for a cranberry flavored drink such as a Halloween vampire cocktail. Make it with 2 ounces each of vodka and cranberry juice and a splash of ginger ale.
Devil horns cocktail garnish
This dramatic Halloween cocktail garnish is made using small pieces of jalapeño peppers shaped into horns. (If you can get very small red Thai chili peppers, you can use the whole tip, but mine were larger peppers and needed shaping.
To make the garnish, cut the chili peppers into large pieces and use sharp scissors to make the top into a curved point. Cut a slit in the bottom edge to sit on the rim of the glass and then cut tapered sides to finish the shape of the horns.
This eerie garnish is perfect for a spicy red drink such as a Devil’s Horn cocktail.
Lime devil garnish
This devilishly cute Halloween cocktail garnish is made using toothpicks with limes, spring onions and bits of pimento.
To make the cocktail garnish, use a bamboo skewer to attach a half lime and a lime wheel. Use a sharp paring knife to make diamond-shaped indentations for eyes and a mouth. Fill the indentations with pieces of pimento.
Insert toothpicks into the ends of some spring onion stalks and attach them to the lime “head” for ears, arms and a tail. Be sure to edge the glass rim with red Hawaiian sea salt.
This type of garnish would be great with a Halloween bloody Mary cocktail. The garnish replaces the traditional stalk of celery that most bartenders use for blood Mary drinks and turns it into a cocktail perfect for Halloween.
Bloody eyeballs garnish
Eyeballs are synonymous with Halloween and we are taking them to a new level with this sinister Halloween cocktail garnish.
This is one of the easiest garnishes to prepare. All you need are some eye gumballs.
The gumballs have a spooky look already with splatters of blood here and there on them. They would look fun sitting in my terra cotta candy jar project.
Instead of chewing on them, how about using them in a glass of wine to set a Halloween mood? The look is hair-raising and eerie and super fast to do.
Dip your glass rim in red sanding sugar, toss in a few eyeballs and, in just seconds, you’ll have another wonderful Halloween drink to offer your guests.
Note: the gumball eyes have a candy coating, and if they sit for a long time, this will start to dissolve, so it’s best to use them in a sweet drink that you’ll be serving quickly.
Whip cream ghost cocktail garnish
Edible candy eyes and some whip cream are all you need for this playful Halloween ghost garnish.
Freeze the ghosts for about an hour. Add the whip cream ghosts to the top of your cocktail just before serving
This type of Halloween drink garnish is best for cream based drinks like a Halloween Ghost Buster cocktail.
To make it, combine 2 ounces of vodka with 1 ounce each of Bailey’s Irish cream and Kahlua into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a martini glass and add the ghost garnish on the top.
Marshmallow eyes garnish
This whimsical Halloween cocktail garnish is made using two large marshmallows, a barbecue skewer, black sugar pearls and some black gel frosting.
To make the garnish, push the bamboo skewer through the center of two large marshmallows. Add a dot of black gel frosting to the center of each marshmallow and use tweezers to attach the black sugar pearls.
Allow the frosting to dry and trim the end of the skewer to suit your glass width.
Presto! A fun Halloween garnish that is perfect for both cocktails and mocktails.
Spider legs garnish
Fun Halloween cocktail garnishes like these licorice spiders are fun to add to a drink and tasty to eat when the drink is done, as well. To make them, I use Artisan black licorice and edible sugar eyes.
Start by peeling off your black licorice into 8 individual pieces all the same size. I made mine about 4 inches long. Also cut one piece that is long enough to wrap around the “legs” to make the spider body.
Use a spot of edible glue or chocolate get frosting to attach the edible candy eyes to the spider and drape the legs of the spider over the edge of your glass rim.
This garnish looks great on a Halloween vampire cranberry cocktail made from 2 ounces each of vodka and cranberry juice mixed with a splash of ginger ale.
Dust the rim of the glass with some black sanding sugar and attach the spiders as a garnish.
Grape eyeballs garnish
Eye of newt was one of the ingredients in the “Witches Song” from MacBeth and it is the inspiration for this Halloween eyeball garnish.
To make these eyeballs, you’ll need large black seedless grapes and stuffed eyeballs. Be sure to choose large grapes because you will be skinning them and also cutting a cavity in them.
Starting from the stem end, use a sharp paring knife to cut slits around the top. Peel the skin from every other slice down about half way.
Use the knife in the top of the grape and twist to create a hole. Insert half of a stuffed green olive into the hole of each black grape and add them to your Halloween cocktails as a garnish.
Push a cocktail stick through each eye and balance them on the edge of the glass.
I like to freeze these eyeballs and drop them into glasses of white wine. As an added bonus, the eyeballs will keep the wine cool without diluting the drink.
Blood draw garnish
Party-store syringes and tomato juice are all you need to turn an innocent drink into a bloodcurdling concoction.
Dip your rim into red sanding sugar or red sea salt to set the mood. Pour in champagne or sparkling wine.
Fill the syringes with tomato juice and add them to the glass of wine for a hair-raising cocktail that is sure to scare your party guests silly.
Add some gummy worms to your cocktail
Once you have your colored drink prepared, add a gummy worm or two draped over the edge of the drink to make your guests really shudder.
This idea and a black spider web under the drink changed my Caribbean flavored summer time drink idea to a Witches Brew cocktail that invokes both the colors of pumpkins and the creepiness of Halloween.
How to use special effects for Halloween cocktails
There are lots of ways to play with color to make a sinister looking Halloween cocktail. Common colors to go for are orange -think candy corn and pumpkins, red – the color of blood and devils, purple and black for zombies, and white to mimic ghosts.
Sometimes, setting a special mood for your drink means bringing on the special effects. Dry ice produces an instant sinister feeling to any drink and can be cut into ice cubes and added to drinks.
You can also use items such as black lights and other effects that will make your drink change color.
Lighting your drinks on fire is another way to bring out the eerie feeling that you want for Halloween. Even the type of drink cooler that you choose will tell guests what to expect at the party.
You can wrap a highball glass to make it look like a mummy or give your glass a dripping rim.
Read on to find out how to use these special effects:
Blood rimmed glass
Imagine serving a Dracula themed drink in a glass that looks as though is is dripping blood? It sets an instant mood and is easy to do. Just combine corn syrup and a drop of red gel food coloring in a small bowl and mix them up.
Pour the mixture onto a small plate that is at least as wide as your glass rims. Dip the rim of a frosted glass into the mixture to coat it.
Turn the glass upright and let the red mixture run down the sides of the glass. Voila! A sinister look in just minutes!
Use colored sanding sugar on cocktail glasses
Sanding sugar gives a sweet finish to the rim of any glass, and it comes in a wide variety of colors and flavors. Use black for a somber mood, or choose a color that goes with the color of the drink itself.
Using sanding sugar makes the edge of any cocktail glass look like the edge of a Witches cauldron!
Another way to coat your glass rims is by using candy corn sprinkles after dipping in corn syrup. I used this method for my candy corn martini recipe and it was so much fun.
Make a mummy highball glass
Transform an ordinary looking highball glass into a frightening mummy glass with some cheesecloth and a couple of wiggle eyes.
To make the glass, cut long strips of cheesecloth and ruffle the edges a little. Wrap the glass, leaving a small opening for the eyes.
Dip wiggle eyes into corn syrup or frosting and attach them in the opening and allow them to dry.
Pour a couple of shots of Kahlua into some chocolate milk and mix well. Pour into the mummy glass and serve.
Spider ice cubes add tons of fun!
Nothing is quite as sinister and scary as a few bugs here and there. I like to use spider ice cubes in my drinks. Discount Stores sell packages of creepy crawlies that can be frozen in water. (Large silicone ice cube trays work best if the bugs are big.)
Freeze the ice cubes and then place them in your party guests’ drinks for a super spooky effect.
Tonic Water and Black Lights are a great special effect for cocktails
When making Halloween drinks, be sure to use cocktails with tonic water in them. Once the drink is prepared, turn on a black light.
The tonic water will react to the light and glow, so the drink will end up looking fluorescent. The reason for this is that tonic water has a small amount of quinine in it which is affected by the light.
Use colored ingredients when making Halloween cocktails
It wouldn’t be Halloween without some green, orange or purple colors here and there. You can make use of food coloring or use specialty alcoholic drinks to instantly give your cocktail just the right Halloween feel.
Some ideas are:
- Blue grenadine
- Sour Apple Schnapps
- Orange Vodka
- Yellow Galliano liqueur
- Black Vodka
- White creme de cacao
Make the drink change color for a great special effect.
Really wow your guests with a drink that actually changes color. It requires a bit of a scientific experiment, of sorts, but is not that difficult to do.
The key to the color change is an ingredient known as butterfly pea flower. When this ingredient is exposed to acidic liquids such as citrus juice or carbonated water, it will turn purple.
Adding dry ice to cocktails really sets a great mood.
Using dry ice gives an instant fog like effect to any drink. Buy some dry ice a few hours before your party starts and break it into small chunks.
Use tongs to drop pieces of dry ice into your guests’ drinks before you serve them. It’s a good idea to serve this type of drink with straws, so guests don’t drink the bits of dry ice.
Dry ice can also be placed around your drink table to add a foggy atmosphere to the party. Try placing the dry ice under a punch bowl and light it with black lights for a great effect.
Use props in Halloween cocktails to frighten your guests.
There are so many ways that Halloween props can be added to drinks to make your cocktail area really fit the spooky mood that you are going for.
In this photo, an inexpensive skeleton hand is placed in a red drink with a bloody glass rim to enhance the feeling that the drink is made from blood.
Be sure to add some of the red “blood” to the base of the glass. A piece of dry ice completes the blood curdling effect nicely.
A wonderful special effect – light your drink on fire.
Alcohol is combustible and can be ignited to add a fiery touch to lots of different drinks. Flaming drinks are a great way to start a party or entertain guests and the perfect way to set a Halloween mood.
You’ll need to be careful not to burn everything else in sight but with care, you can set many drinks on fire.
To flame a cocktail, use a long handled lighter to set a shot of alcohol on fire. Douse the flame with the top of a cocktail shaker. Any alcohol 80 percent or higher can be lit, and the higher the proof, the easier the alcohol will ignite.
Use pumpkins as ice buckets.
Instead of carving your pumpkin for your Halloween party table, hollow it out and add a bowl liner.
Fill the pumpkin with ice and add individual serving sized bottles of alcohol or bottles of beer. It’s an instant mood setter for Halloween!
See the pumpkin drink holder tutorial here.
These ideas for Halloween cocktail garnishes and special effects are pure fun. They are the perfect way to put you and your party guests in the mood for Halloween. Why not try one of these ideas for your Halloween bash?
Pin these Halloween cocktail garnishes for later
Would you like a reminder of this post about Halloween cocktail garnishes and special effects for Halloween drinks? Just pin this image to one of your Halloween boards on Pinterest. You can also print out the tips for making your Halloween cocktails spooky on the card below.
You can also watch the video on YouTube.
- Dry Ice
- Colored Alcohol
- Plastic Spiders
- Flammable alcohol
- Pumpkin and bowl
- Gummy worms
- Italian licorice
- Marshmallows and edible black pearls
- Radishes and olives
- Corn syrup and red food coloring
- Lychees and black olives
- Oranges and lime peels
- Red chili peppers
- Limes, spring onions and pimentos
- Gumball eyes
- Whip cream and edible eyes
- Grapes and blueberries
- Plastic syringes and tomato juice
- Sanding sugar
- Tonic water and black light
- Butterfly pea flower and citrus
- Grapes and stuffed olives
- Cheesecloth and wiggle eyes
- Cocktail picks
- Dry ice pieces create a great fog effect
- Use alcohol with bright colors for a Halloween mood.
- Freeze plastic spiders in large ice cubes for a spooky look.
- Ignite 80 proof alcohol with a long handled lighter for a dramatic drink.
- Scoop out your pumpkin seeds and add a bowl liner. Fill with ice and use as an ice bucket.
- Drape gummy worms over the side of the glasses
- Cut Italian licorice into strips and wrap to form spiders. Attach edible eyes for fun.
- Poke a skewer through marshmallows and add some black sugar pearls to make eyeballs.
- Scrape the coating of radishes and scoop out a center hole. Insert a stuffed green olive to make eyes.
- Dip the rim of a cocktail glass with corn syrup mixed with red food coloring. Allow the "blood" to drip down the glass.
- Stuff lychees with black olives and add red food coloring for dramatic eyeballs.
- Insert a lime peel into a slice of orange and place in an orange drink for a pumpkin look.
- Cut chili peppers into horn shapes and attach to glass rims for devil's horns.
- Use a bamboo skewer to combine a lime top and wheel. Cut holes for eyes and nose and fill with pimentos and attach spring onions as ears, arms and a tail to make a lime devil garnish.
- Toss bloody gumball eyes into a sweet drink for a fun eyeball garnish.
- Whip cream and add to a piping bag. Cut a hole and pipe ghost shapes. Attach edible eyes and freeze. Add to cream drinks.
- Peel large black grapes part way. Cut a hole and add blueberries for spooky eyeballs.
- Fill plastic syringes with tomato juice and add to glasses of sparkling wine.
- Dip glass rims in colored sanding sugar to match the color of your drink.
- Turn a black light on to light a drink with tonic water in it to make it turn fluorescent.
- Combine butterfly pea flower and citrus drinks for a color changing effect.
- Score and peel the top of large grapes. Cut a stuffed olive and insert it into a hole in the top of the grape to make eyeballs.
- Cut cheesecloth into long slices and wrap a highball glass, leaving a space for eyes. Attach some wiggle eyes with frosting and allow to dry.
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