Once a year, on October 31st, weary souls get a reprieve.
At dusk, the barriers between worlds weaken and a shuffling throng shambles home from lands afar. As darkness covers the Earth, beings dressed in intricate, sometimes ancient, finery go from door to door, demanding their yearly tribute.
Spirits manifest at tables, and gruesome feasts are laid out for unearthly visitors. Sepulchral music drifts through the night and for one evening, there is a macabre revelry.
We are of course, talking about the annual Halloween parties.
What we did last summer
Our friends at Cointreau sent us a few Halloween recipes to share with you; perfect for serving at Halloween parties or for just enjoying a (eerily) quiet night at home. Since they were crafted by six different bartenders, we included their inspirations, a quote, and the full recipe that we were given- with no changes of any kind. Obviously, being the responsible writers we are, we put all the drinks to the test. But we’ve been neglecting our manners…
Orange liqueur has been a staple ingredient in cocktails for a very long while now. Classics such as the Sidecar, the Mai Tai and the White Lady use the ingredient to add sweet, spicy or fresh aromas and flavours to perk up the drink.
While there is little in the way of law defining (and regulating) orange liqueur, there are a few common terms.
The first, curaçao, was traditionally named after a brandy flavoured with (but not made from) dried curaçao orange peels from the Carribean island of the same name. The island still makes the traditional liqueur, but other brands have used the name, whether they come from or use curaçao or not. The term triple sec is also often bandied about- it originally referred to the French version of the orange liqueur, which was both drier and lighter in colour. These days, it is used as a generic name for the orange liqueurs. Modern triple secs are not usually made with brandy, but with sugar-based spirit instead.
Whether curaçao or triple sec, the orange liqueurs vary greatly in flavour and quality.
Cointreau is what we would consider a premium triple sec- a white coloured spirit that’s been around since 1849; a testament to its enduring appeal. The liqueur is well balanced, with a slight spiciness; we get a little nutmeg and cinnamon. When a recipe calls for a triple sec or curaçao, we often reach for the Cointreau first.
Recently, Cointreau has branched out a bit from its triple sec orangins – ha ha- and has come up with two different spins on the traditional triple sec. The first, the Cointreau Blood Orange, is flavoured with blood oranges from Corsica, which are more intense than the typical orange; sweeter and more aromatic, while also having an almost berry-like tartness.
Cointreau Noir, on the other hand, is a hark back to traditional curaçao; regular Cointreau is blended with Remy Martin cognac to add nutty, creamy, and vanilla flavours. The result is a complex liqueur that blends spiciness, freshness, and confectionery sweetness – a complex liqueur that one can sip on its own.
The last two are the stars of the Cointreau Halloween recipes. We suspect it has to do with their names- but we’re not perturbed if the drinks are good.
So, are they?
What Dreams are Made of by Mohd Irwan, Summerlong
“I was dazzled by how IT changed the perception of clowns. Clowns are loved by children because of their balloon tricks and humour. When Stephen King’s IT came out in 1990, it transformed clowns into subjects of fear. Kids are now more afraid of clowns than before. Clowns turned from being harmless entertainers to murderous demons. Inspired by the movie, my cocktail represents this transition – the childish nature of milkshakes with a bittersweet twist of horror.”
- 40 ml Cointreau Noir
- 30ml Honey
- 1 ¾ Cups Yogurt Ice Cream
- 200ml Milk
- 2 Teaspoon Basil Seeds
- 15ml Grenadine Syrup
- 6ml Aperol
- 1 cup of Ice
- Lemon Zest
- Whipped Cream
- Soak Basil seeds in Grenadine Syrup and Water
- Pour honey, yogurt ice cream, milk, Cointreau Noir and ice into a separate container
- Blend Cointreau Noir mixture until liquid is runny.
- Add in lemon zest
- Pour into glass
- Add 1 teaspoon of Basil seed mixture in glass and stir well
- Top it up with whipped cream and serve
Our thoughts: This tastes pretty good. A richness from the milk and yogurt that is balanced by the orange flavours from the Cointreau Noir, while picking up the vanilla and nut notes nicely. We skipped the extra whipped cream on top- we’re weight watching and think that the drink is plenty rich enough without it.
Our beef, of course, is that it’s so much work and mess to make this drink. If you’re going to try, we suggest making large batches and serving it as dessert.
P.S if you’re looking for the basil seeds, you can find them at wet markets and Mustafa- most Indian dried foods stores stock them. Ask for biji selasih or selasih seeds.
Blood of Kramer by Darren Lim, Lucky Bar
“Saw is basically all horror movies combined into one – its storyline is sprinkled with tons of gore and suspense. While its concept is simple, Saw’s surprising twist ending captivates the audience. Just like Saw, my cocktail is a classic mixed with surprising elements giving it that unexpected twist at the end.”
- 30ml Cointreau Blood Orange
- 60ml Cranberry Juice
- 45ml Coconut Water
- 45ml Sprite (or 7-up)
- 1 teaspoon of Basil Seeds
- Severed fingers gummy candy
- Pour Cointreau Blood Orange, Cranberry Juice, Coconut Water, Basil seeds and Sprite (or 7- Up) into glass and mix
- Top up glass with ice and serve with severed fingers gummy candy
Our thoughts: Light and refreshing; with flavours driven mostly by the sour cranberry with some Cointreau sweetness for taste. This reminds us of Pink Dolphin with a little bit of booze in it. Very pleasant and not much work needed; exactly what we want when preparing drinks for a party.
Oh Well by Pan Zheng, KUVO
“The Ring is a Japanese horror movie that became an instant classic in 1991, with Hollywood even remaking it in 2002. The movie left a deep impression on everyone, with the scene of Sadako coming out of a well being the most remembered and the most terrifying. It is this iconic scene that inspired me to create this specific cocktail. The flavour of my cocktail comes from Vietnamese egg coffee, which I find delicious and fascinating, while the design is inspired by the movie itself”
- 50 ml Cointreau Noir
- ½ Tablespoon Cheese Spread
- ½ Tablespoon of Salted Butter
- 1 Egg
- ½ Tablespoon Condensed Milk
- 60ml Expresso (coffee of preference)
- 1 Rosemary Leaf
- Separate the egg yolk and discard the egg white
- Place the yolk, cheese spread, salted butter and condensed milk in a small deep bowl and whisk vigorously until your mixture resembles a frothy, fluffy foam
- Add ice, expresso and Cointreau Noir in a glass and top it up with the foam mixture
- Garnish with Rosemary Leaves and serve
Our thoughts: we messed up on this one. The cream needs to be whipped for quite a while to get the foamy consistency. We like the flavour combination of coffee, orange, vanilla, and dairy; it reminds us of orange chocolate. We just think it’s way too much trouble to whip up each drink individually.
We then tried it without the butter. It still tasted pretty good to us when simply stirring up condensed milk, egg, coffee and Cointreau.
Dolly the Doll by Symphony Loo, Neon Pigeon
“As the latest sequel of the movie was just released, I chose Annabelle as the inspiration for my cocktail. It was Annabelle that revived the fear of dolls that we had as children. With Annabelle in mind, I created my cocktail to have refreshing, childish flavours reminiscent of lollipops and candy yet still have that acidic touch.”
- 500ml Cointreau Blood Orange
- 1ltr The Botanist Gin
- 2 Jasmine teabags
- 10 Star Anise
- 8 Lemons
- 8 Limes
- 300g Sugar
- 600ml Water
- 450ml Ginger Beer
- 50ml Grenadine Syrup
- Shiso Leaves
- Add The Botanist Islay Dry Gin and Jasmine Tea in a container and leave it overnight to let it infuse.
- Peel the Lemons, Oranges And Limes; keep the peels
- Squeeze the juices from the Lemons, Oranges And Limes into a container
- Bring water to boil and add sugar
- Stir boiling water until sugar is dissolved
- Add Star Anise, Orange, Lime and Lemon juices and peels into the boiling water
- Stir slowly on high heat until the mixture becomes thick
- Strain mixture to form homemade spice syrup
- For each serving, add 40 ml Infused The Botanist Islay Dry Gin, 40ml Cointreau Blood Orange, 50 ml of spice syrup and ice into cocktail shaker
- Shake and Strain into a glass with ice and top up with Ginger Beer
- Add 5ml of Grenadine Syrup and garnish with Shiso Leaf
Our thoughts: frankly, we are not sure if we made it correctly. There were many steps, and there was mention of orange in the recipe, but not in the list of ingredients. We added in the peels and juice of one orange anyway. We also substituted the shiso leaf with a dehydrated orange, because we don’t have the leaves. The leaf would lighten the colours up a bit and add some freshness though.
Flavour wise the drink is excellent. A complex spiced orange and ginger flavour, with a bracing acidic touch, which reminds us of candied fruit from Chinese sweet stores. If you can afford the time and effort to make this drink, it’ll be a treat for the senses.
Third Eye by Riccardo Nardone, AURA
“Child’s Play is the cult horror film that introduced Chucky to the world and has become a classic for the horror film genre. The wooden knife stirrer is a reference to Chucky’s weapon of choice. Using Chucky as inspiration, we also recreated his distinctive orange hair, and greenish blue eyes in our cocktail. The lychee eye is also inspired by the Chinese belief of beingable to see ghosts and unnatural beings with a third eye.”
- 60ml Cointreau Noir
- 40ml Fresh Orange Juice
- 20ml Orange Syrup
- 20ml Lime Juice
- 30ml Lychee Juice
- 1 Lychee Fruit (canned)
- 1 Green Grape
- 1 Blueberry
- To create Chucky’s eye, cut a small hole at the top of the green grape and insert the blueberry. Place the green grape inside the lychee to complete Chucky’s eye
- Pour Cointreau Noir, fresh orange juice, lime and lychee juice along with the orange syrup into a glass
- Top up the drink with ice
- Garnish with the eye to serve
Our thoughts: the drink is too sweet as is, assuming we made it correctly; we couldn’t find fresh lychee juice at this time of year, so we added the canned lychee syrup instead. To make the orange syrup, follow the directions from Symphony’s recipe above, but just add the peel of two oranges, sugar, and water instead of the other ingredients. We cut the “lychee juice” and orange syrup portions to 10ml on the second try for a much better result, though you could possibly cut the orange syrup entirely.
The drink tastes like sweet orange juice with some chocolate notes from the Noir, which is interesting; it’s usually the other way around. We particularly like the garnish.
Slash by Silvio Daniele, Gibson
“What I like about Scream is how the most unexpected person is revealed to be the serial killer. With the movie as inspiration, we transformed a detox concoction for hangover into an alcoholic drink, perfect for Halloween. This goes to show that even the healthiest drink can still turn out to be a real killer.”
- 120ml Cointreau Blood Orange
- 300ml Red Apple Juice
- 120ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
- 60ml Beetroot Juice
- Lemon Zest
- Pour the Cointreau Blood Orange, red apple juice, pink grapefruit juice and beetroot juice into a container and mix
- Refrigerate the mixture overnight
- Pour into glass and add the lemon zest
- Serve cold without ice
Our thoughts: Tastes fine- it channels fruit punch; fruity and sour, but with a herbal aftertaste to balance the drink out and add depth. It’s also not too heavy on the palate, which means that you can drink it all night long. It’s easy to make and still quite delicious anyhow, so this will probably be our go to drink.
If you’re looking for the beetroot juice, you can just go to any hawker center, go to the fruit juice stall there, and ask for just the beetroot juice. You’ll invite quizzical looks, but it’s for a good cause.
Summing it all Up
Well, the drinks were quite good, but some were a lot of work to make. If you’re pressed for time, we definitely suggest Slash or Blood of Kramer, which can both be made in large batches for your party needs. If you have time to spare, definitely make Dolly the Doll. Or, if all else fails, simply add soda and ice to Cointreau and enjoy a refreshing drink anyway.
You can get Cointreau Noir ($68) and Cointreau Blood Orange ($55) at Absolute Liquor Store, 321 Geylang Road, Singapore 389358.