Making Spirits Bright

The title phrase usually applies to another convivial and upcoming season, but does any place do more on All Hallows Eve with more feeling and more panache than New Orleans?

Not only do we celebrate our strange past and revere the souls that roamed our community going back three centuries, but also our way of life encourages us to keep the old flame alive every day. Halloween is merely a way station in a constant journey where hauntings and cities of the dead are as common as potholes and palmetto bugs. And in many instances, less scary.

As if we need either permission or excuse, what would a New Orleans celebration be without accompanying adult beverages appropriate to the moment and the commemoration?

So to assist your spirit in aligning with the spirits and assure the proper spirits are enjoyed (yes, some sort of a record in using the same word, different meaning each time, in the same sentence), here are a few cocktail suggestions with clever names – but don't let that put you off.




Sweet Poison Cocktail

As served at Jekyll and Hyde Club in Greenwich Village, New York City
Special Thanks to


  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 2 oz. coconut rum
  • 1 oz. Blue Curacao
  • pineapple juice
  • Pineapple wedge (for garnish)


Combine both rums and Blue Curacao in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, then pour into a cocktail glass.

Fill the rest of the glass with chilled pineapple juice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.


El Diablo

With thanks to and to Sarah Karnasiewicz

  • ½ ounces tequila
  • ½ ounce crème de cassis
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ginger beer
  • 2 lime wedges, for garnish


Add tequila, crème de cassis, and lime juice to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a squeeze of lime and a lime wedge.



Once again, the gang at Jekyll and Hyde Club comes through with one of their most popular cocktails. This is a classic drink and is most popular this time of year alongside the resurgence of the Zombie culture, which in itself sounds very strange. 
Courtesy of


  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. apricot liquor
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • 1 dash lime Bitters
  • 1 oz. Bacardi 151 Rum
  • orange slice and cherry, for garnish


Combine light rum, dark rum, apricot liquor, orange juice and bitters using a cocktail shaker.

Pour into a large glass filled with ice. Top with the shot of Bacardi 151, then garnish with the orange slice and cherry.


Blood Orange Margaritas

Seasonal and quite delicious. Perfect for Day of the Dead and Halloween. Not many drinks can make a crossover like that, nor do they want to. Not only is this drink delightful but it also has a bunch of health benefits from the orange, not so much from the tequila.
Thanks and Sarah Reynolds, obviously a made-up name to protect her true identity.


  • kosher salt
  • Crushed ice
  • ½ c. fresh blood orange juice
  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 1 oz. triple sec or Cointreau
  • Blood orange wedges


Moisten rim of 2 margarita glasses and dip in kosher salt. Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Add orange juice, tequila, and triple sec. Shake well and strain into glasses. Garnish with orange wedges.


Dark and Stormy

You can thank for this and that little devil, Alison Mesrop

While the drink is a big hit at any time, it just seems somehow very appropriate right now, don’t ya’ think?

This version suggests ginger beer ice cubes. Not hard, just takes a little pre-planning.

Ginger Beer Ice Cubes: Pour 8 cups ginger beer into 4 ice cube trays and freeze.

The Cocktail:

  • 8 c. ginger beer
  • 4 c. dark rum
  • ½ c. fresh lime juice
  • Thinly sliced lime


Stir ginger beer, rum and lime juice in a pitcher. Serve in tall cocktail glasses with 3 or 4 ice cubes each; garnish with lime. A very good grade of rum is essential, and don’t skimp on the quality of the ginger beer.


Okay so it’s not a complete list, but it is a beginning and probably a nice departure from your usual beverage(s) on Halloween. These are quite good.  Enjoy the evening. Be safe.




Read Happy Hour here on every Wednesday, and listen to The Dine, Wine and Spirits Show, hosted by Tim, every weekday, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on WGSO 990AM and streamed at Also check out Last Call, Tim’s photo-feature every month in New Orleans Magazine. Be sure to watch "Appetite for Life" every Thursday evening at 7 p.m., and Sundays at 5 p.m., on WLAE-TV, Channel 32 in New Orleans.



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