What to drink at Hallowe'en
Of all the festivities round this time of year Hallowe’en, with its ghouls and pumpkins, is definitely the most kitsch so if you’re inviting a few friends round to celebrate it’s a fun to theme the drinks.
Leave aside food and wine matching for the moment, I think we’re looking for wine - or beer - and occasion matching. Something with a spooky name would definitely be entering into the spirit of things - how about Bull’s Blood the famous Hungarian red, or Devil’s Lair Cabernet, a rather more refined red from the Margaret River region of Western Australia?
Or if you prefer white - and are prepared to splash out a bit how about the brilliant New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc I came across the other day called The Supernatural?
Beer too has its ghoulish bottlings - the British brewery Wychwood specialises in them. Hobgoblin - a strong dark ale - would probably be the most appropriate but there’s also a blonde ale called Wychcraft.
Many other breweries also have seasonal bottlings. Pumpkin ales - also perfect for Thanksgiving - would fit the bill perfectly (though don’t match them with pumpkin pie as the pie will probably be too sweet and cancel out the pumpkin flavour in the beer!). They'd be better with sausages.
An alternative approach would be to make colour your starting point. There are - surprisingly - many black or near-black drinks: stout and porter for a start - or serve a Black Velvet (half a glass of Guinness topped up with champagne). There’s also the aniseed flavoured liqueur Sambuca - not a favourite of mine but it would be quite effective at the end of a meal served in shots alongside shots of an orange liqueur like Grand Marnier and a green-coloured one like Chartreuse, crème-de-menthe or the melon-flavoured Midori. You can even buy black vodka (Blavod) and black whisky (Cu Dhub - meaning Black Dog) or how about this brilliantly spicy ready-made Bloody Mary called Bloodshot which you can buy, like The Supernatural from Lea & Sandeman and from some branches of Waitrose.
Of course you needn’t feel left out if you don’t drink. Teetotallers can sip black grape juice or, even better if you like the taste, prune juice. Again you can offer your guests a selection of other brightly coloured drinks such as bright red cranberry or pomegranate juice, orange mango juice or a green-coloured soft drink such as lime cordial or a kiwi fruit-based drink. Knowing kids they’ll probably mix all four to make an evil-coloured sludge. But hey, it is Hallowe’en . . .
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