Oct 26, 2021
SMOKE AND MIRRORS
Halloween Cocktails Inspired by the USA
Thanks to our American brethren, we all know that Halloween is about jack-o-lanterns, fancy dress trick or treating and parties. But how did this all come about, and how can it inspire our cocktail creations?
The History of Halloween
The Celtic festival of Samhain was when our Celtic ancestors celebrated the new year by lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off ghosts. The Celts used this festival to mark the end of summer and harvest and wanted to ward away evil spirits because traditionally, the winter was associated with ill-health and even death. In the evening, the boundary between this world and the spiritual world thinned. The Celts believed this closeness to otherworldly spirits helped their druids make predictions about the coming year. This foresight freed them from the worry about the whims of the volatile natural world they relied upon. Their costumes when made from animal skulls, bones and skins, and they would gather around the fire and attempt to tell each other's fortunes.
The invasion of the Roman Empire meant that Celtic territories mingled with Roman cultures. One Roman festival called Feralia happened in late October. Some historians think the Romans also celebrated the goddess of fruit and trees, Pomona. Her symbol was the apple, which might be why we eat toffee apples and play bobbing for apples at Halloween today. During Feralia, Roman citizens were told to bring offerings like "an arrangement of wreaths, a sprinkling of grain and a bit of salt, bread soaked in wine and violets scattered about,” to the tombs of their dead ancestors.
Then, in the eighth century, Pope Gregory the third decided we should have a day to honour all of our fallen saints — also known as hallows. To hallow means "to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate." He chose November 1 for this global celebration and called it All Saints Day. The evening before November 1 became known as All Hallows Eve, which got shortened to Hallowe'en overtime.
How the Americans Changed Halloween
These rituals, including the bonfire, the fancy dress, the harvest fruits, and celebrating the dead, went over to America with the original pilgrims. However, the Protestants in the northeast were a restrained bunch, so in the Roman Catholic states like Maryland, the All Hallows Eve custom flames were fanned. There, colonial Halloween festivities included telling ghost stories and making mystic mischief. For example, young women believed that they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with the yarn, apples or mirrors. Whether witchcraft or pranks, these rituals help to begin the tradition of trick-or-treating. Americans would get dressed up in magical attire, going from house to house asking for food or money.
Then around the turn of the 19th century, there was a political movement in America to encourage community and neighbourhood cohesion over anything spooky, frightening or grotesque. So by the late 1920s and 30s, Halloween had become a secular but community centred holiday. Towns held parades, community leaders held parties, and families encouraged young people to get involved using sweets and treats. By the 1950s, trick or treating had become a relatively inexpensive way for communities to join in and share the Halloween celebrations.
USA Inspired Halloween Cocktails A Lover's Brew
A spell to see your future husband involves walking backwards in the moonlight while gazing into a mirror and repeating the following lines:
Round and round, O stars so fair!
Ye travel and search out everywhere;
I pray you, sweet stars, now show to me
This night who my future husband (or wife) will be! (Philadelphia Evening public ledger October 31, 1914)
15ml Fresh lime juice Two teaspoons of sugar 20ml Chambord
40ml Crystal Head Vodka Splash of soda water.
Muddle your fruit in a Flavour Blaster rocks glass, add the squeeze of lime and spoonfuls of sugar, then the two alcohol ingredients and stir. Top up the glass with crushed or smashed ice, add a dash of soda water and stir again. Garnish with a toasted sprig of rosemary and a rosemary aromatic cloud.
The bonfire tradition goes as far back as the Celtic festival of Samhain. They believed that fire had mystic protective and cleansing powers.
50ml Connemara Peated Irish Whiskey 20ml Dry Orange Curacao
10ml Fino Sherry
Dash orange bitters
Stir all your liquid ingredients in a mixing glass over rock ice. Once chilled, strain into a pre- chilled martini glass and flame an orange zest over the surface of the cocktail. Then use your Flavour Blaster to add a bubble using the smoke aromatic.
50ml Chase Rhubarb and Bramley Apple Gin 25ml Fresh lemon juice
25ml Rhubarb syrup
25ml Apple sauce
50ml Cloudy apple juice 6-8 fresh mint leaves
Add all your ingredients into a jam jar, then shut the lid and shake hard. Add ice to the top and garnish with a mint sprig and a puff of the new cinnamon aromatic.