We once had the “terrific” idea to spend Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts. Makes sense, yes? Witches. A Scary History. An old Pilgrim Town begging for rules to be broken and boundaries to be pushed, particularly from upstart French Catholics who reside  far away in another City of Ill Repute.

Okay, so it did not play out that way. We donned our costumes for a full evening surrounded by the history of heretics and people willing to revel in their dark past. Even though we went to a convenient bar, we actually ended up at what we perceived to be a children’s Halloween party. Adults dressed as Indians and princesses with the occasional Puritan drag. The bars were actually quite lifeless and gloomy, something that does not happen around here on any night and certainly never on All Hallows’ Eve.

Worse, we frightened the natives. I won’t tell you what our costumes were but they would likely have not garnered a second glance in the Quarter. Up there, people actually stepped aside as we approached the bar, genuinely concerned for what we might do. That’s about as frightening as it got, until we began to feel uncomfortable (imagine being masked and not feeling like the party is just getting started) and so we asked for a Go-Cup.

That was all the people of Salem needed to hear. Not only a couple of strange beings but then having the audacity of wanting to take a cocktail and walk around their village, outside, in full view of everyone else. The completely negative response became our signal to leave. So much for Halloween in another place that knows how to do it – or so we thought. To this day, we’ve never again left New Orleans at Halloween. The same goes with Mardi Gras. By going away, what do you hope to accomplish to celebrate the occasion that is not readily available with authenticity right here at home?

So, look, you might as well enjoy all of our cultural advantages. You cannot “mask” too outrageously in New Orleans. I promise you. You may not be dressed in the best of taste, but if you can take it, then so can we.  

The other promise is that walking around with a drink will not cause anyone to give you a second look. Not walking around here with a cocktail, wine or a beer may earn you this reaction: “What, nothing to drink?” but the other way, going out possessing a drink, no problemo.

Let me suggest a few extremely simple cocktails that don’t take much effort or preparation time; but they are delicious and off the regular track of whatever you normally imbibe. We are heading for Halloween in New Orleans on a Saturday night before a big Saints win in the Dome on All Saints Day. Good grief, does it get any more special? Let me assure you – it does not.


Jack’s Lantern

Courtesy Chilled Magazine, 2015


  • 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Maple Syrup
  • 1 bar spoon Pumpkin Purée
  • dash Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 oz. Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
  • Top with Smutty Nose Pumpkin Beer, or a reasonable beer substitute
  • Cinnamon (for Garnish)

-In a pint glass, combine all ingredients except beer.
-Add ice and shake.
-Strain over fresh ice into Mason jar.
-Top with pumpkin beer and garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.


Something even easier? Geez, this is as simple as I can offer:


Black Velvet

Courtesy Real Simple, 2015


  • 3 ounces stout beer, such as Guinness
  • 3 ounces sparkling wine, brut

-Pour beer into wine flute.
-Slowly add wine.
-Gently stir


What you may not realize is that November 1-2 is also the commemoration of the Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, when our friends to the south in Mexico remember, as we do, all the souls that have passed this way before us. The solemn and celebratory occasion is more than 3,000 years old in that ancient culture.

The use of Blood Orange Liqueur is both fitting and curious. And since these sweet fruits are coming into season right now, I don’t think anyone would fault you for including them into your version of the recipe as you also celebrate Halloween and All Saints Day.


Blood Orange Margarita

Courtesy MIlagro Tequila, 2015


  • 1 ½ parts Milagro Silver Tequila
  • 1 part Fresh Lime Juice
  • ¾ part agave nectar
  • ¾ part Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

-Pour all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice.
-Shake and strain over fresh ice in a salt-rimmed rocks glass.
-Garnish with Blood Orange and lime wheels.


Have a safe and Happy Halloween. And do what I learned to do: celebrate with New Orleanians, people who know how to do it right.



Read Happy Hour here on www.myneworleans.com 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 www.wgso.com