Why go trick-or-treating for candy when you can go pub crawling for cocktails?
For many 20-somethings, Halloween is one of those holidays that feature cheap booze at crowded parties -- but bartenders around the city have found it's as good an excuse as any to think up new cocktails. Whether they feature the flavors of fall (yes, we mean pumpkin) or something spooky, here are a few of the specialty drinks you can try this month.
This grapefruit cocktail from owner and beverage director Shige Kabashima, available at his new Harlem bar ROKC, combines mezcal with fresh grapefuit juice and a lime that's lightly charred with palosanto wood. It's served in a Day of the Dead mug to get you ready for the day after Halloween. (ROKC, 3452 Broadway, Manhattan) (Credit: ROKC)
Saxon + Parole, which just took the title of best restaurant bar at Tales of the Cocktail, has a menu of Halloween items inspired by various fears -- spiders, blood, and in the case of bartender Masa Urushido's Gravedigger, the fear of death. The cocktail combines Cruz Reposado Tequila, Mezcal, Fino sherry and pear liqueur. (Saxon + Parole, 316 Bowery, Manhattan, 212-254-0350, saxonandparole.com) (Credit: Saxon + Parole)
Candy corn is Halloween's most divisive candy. Some people await its arrival all year; others dismiss it as sugar and orange food coloring. If you've ever found yourself wondering how this veggie-shaped candy would taste mixed with tequila, Blockheads has you covered with its Candy Corn Margarita. For something a little more basic, try the Pumpkin Margarita. (Blockheads, multiple locations, blockheads.com) (Credit: Blockheads)
This dark drink, created by Jim Kearns of Slowly Shirley, is one of several cocktails around the city being crafted with activated charcoal this season. That black ingredient is combined with Santa Teresa 1796 rum, kalamansi juice, orange juice, honey, ginger, arrack (a South Asian spirit) and topped off with sorrel. It's served in a skull bowl, naturally. (121 W 10th St, Manhattan, 212-243-2827, slowlyshirley.com) (Credit: Nick Voderman)
Here's a web worthy of being caught in. This cocktail, from Brandy Library beverage director Joel Cuellar, combines Bache Gabrielsen American Oak Cognac, Cherry Heering (that's a cherry Danish liqueur) and dry vermouth. It's garnished with cherry bits and a web-like caramel cracker. (25 N Moore St., Manhattan, 212-226-5545, brandylibrary.com) (Credit: Brandy Library)
This boozy punch brings together Jägermeister, cherry brandy and a slew of other ingredients, all topped off with bitters, some refreshing ginger beer and a pretty hibiscus flower. (Bounce Sporting Club, 55 W 21st St., Manhattan, 212-675-8007, bounceny.com) (Credit: Bounce Sporting Club)
This cocktail from Courtney Colarik shares a name with the Joseph Conrad novel. It's made of Cimarrón Blanco Tequila, Koch Espadin Mezcal, lime juice, agave, and that activated charcoal again -- this time combined with raspberry preserves. A dash of Bittermens Mole bitters spices it up a bit. (225 Avenue B, Manhattan, 917-656-6788, pouringribbons.com) (Credit: Paul Wagtouicz)
Beginning Oct. 24, you can sip on this spooky mix of prosecco, sorrel syrup and a candied sorrel flower at Williamsburg's Pearl. (Pearl's Bake and Shark, 178 N 8th Street, Brooklyn, 929-276-3528, pearlsbakeandshark.com) (Credit: Pearl)