Witches’ Brews are serious business. Selecting a signature drink recipe to be served at my annual Halloween party has been one of the decisions I spend the most time on each year. Zero room for hyperbole here – I’m dead serious about a good Witches’ Brew.
A good brew has to be one that appeals to the masses but isn’t your typical, run of the mill drink. I always want something that fits the party theme and can be easily renamed. I hate super sugary drinks, especially cocktails, so any recipes that are heavy handed on the sickly sweet stuff (think Hawaiian Punch) get tossed out. And – bottom line – it has to be GOOD. Like, I-want-to-drain-the-whole-punch-bowl good.
Even before I was planning an annual Halloween party, I was on the hunt for a good Witches’ Brew to enjoy on Halloween, and through my years of experience I’ve found a few stellar concoctions I recommend trying out.
Here’s my four tried and true Witches’ Brews:
(By the way, the ones with an asterisk denote they could easily be made kiddo-friendly by omitting the alcohol!)
Spooky Witch’s Brew Cocktail*
Google “witches’ brew” and this is likely one of the first you will find. This was my first-ever Witches’ Brew because out of everything I searched for…this one sounded the least disgusting, so I made it! (A quick Google search while writing this proves I’m still not convinced there’s a lot of good drinks out there under this moniker…)
And it was a pretty good standby for several years. I served it to roommates, friends, family and coworkers with positive response. It was also my Witches’ Brew for my first two years of Halloweenie Roast. It’s since been retired because it proved to be a little too potent, but it’s still on the list for its great green color and easy-to-find ingredients:
Spooky Witch’s Brew Cocktail
1 6-ounce package lime gelatin
2 cups boiling water
3 cups chilled pineapple juice
1 2-liter bottle lemon/lime soda or ginger ale
2 cups chilled vodka (optional)
Tips & Tricks:
I’ve had the lime gelatin cause the whole brew to solidify on me if I stored this in the fridge for a few days, so I’ve traded it out for a packet of lime drink mix. I also always opt for ginger ale over lemon/lime soda. You definitely want to double this recipe for a party.
Cold Duck Punch (modified)
A former coworker served me her version of Cold Duck Punch one summer, and I was instantly addicted. While many popular versions call for lemonade or fruit punch to be mixed with Andre Cold Duck sparkling wine, she opted for orange juice. It essentially made her punch a modified – and beautifully glorified – mimosa.
If you aren’t familiar with Cold Duck, it’s an interesting little alcoholic beverage. Its unique purple shade makes it a fun option for Halloween drinks – especially when mixed. And it was definitely a popular pick the year I made it for my Halloweenie Roast! The punch was gone in under two hours. And best of all? My version is super simple:
Halloweenie Roast Cold Duck Punch
1 bottle Andre Cold Duck sparkling wine
1 can orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 2-liter bottle ginger ale
Tips & Tricks
Cold Duck can be a little tricky to track down – not every grocery or liquor store carries it. I recommend jumping over to the store locator to find someone who carries it in your area. I also doubled this recipe when I made it, but I opted for a bottle of my favorite bubbly instead of a second Cold Duck to cut the sweetness just a bit.
Clinton Kelly’s Vampire Punch*
My mom caught this recipe on “The Chew” one day and sent it my way – I immediate knew I had found my newest Witches’ Brew. I love its bright red color, tart ingredients and cherry garnish. It was also the year I did a Rocky Horror-themed party, and a bright, juicy red punch seemed like the perfect pick.
(Plus, Clinton Kelly is my drinking spirit animal. He is always whipping up fabulous cocktails with my name all over them on “The Chew”.)
750 ml vodka
1 1/2 cups cherry liqueur or cherry brandy
1 1/2 cups lime juice
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup grenadine
2 liter club soda
Fresh cherries (if available – pits removed)
Tips & Tricks
I opted for a cherry liqueur in mine (Dr. McGillicuddy’s Intense Cherry is my favorite). I also used some vodka-soaked maraschino cherries to float in my punch. Big crowd pleaser!
Blood Orange Margaritas*
Last year’s Halloweenie Roast theme was Dia de los Muertos, so when I ran across blood orange margaritas on Pinterest I knew I had for my 2014 drink! This was easily the most popular Witches’ Brew I’ve ever made – it was gone just two hours into the evening (oops!) and for the past year friends have asked if I’ll be making these again for my 2015 party.
Plus, you really can’t go wrong with a fruit or drink that has “blood” in it at Halloween, can you?
Blood Orange Margaritas
750 ml bottle tequila
1 cup orange liqueur
1 1/2 cups lime juice
1 cup simple syrup (combine equal parts sugar and water)
3 cups blood orange juice
2 cups sparkling water
limes wedges and blood orange for garnish
Tips & Tricks
Fair warning – October is not peak blood orange season, so the fruit can be a little tough to find. And blood orange juice seems to be even more challenging. I lucked out with a local liquor store chain carrying a brand called Aliseo, but be prepared to hunt. When I’ve made these, I’ve also opted for still water over sparking and they turn out just as wonderful…with a little less fizz.
Do you have a favorite Witches’ Brew?
As for this year, I’m torn as to what I’ll be serving. Last year’s blood orange margaritas were insanely popular, but it’s always fun to experiment with something new. I’m sure I’ll have more fun recipes to share soon.
All brands recommended in this post are shared because I love them, not because I receive compensation from mentioning them.
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