Halloween-themed coffee beverages

By Sarah Gamard

Oliver Delorme/Flickr
(Oliver Delorme/Flickr)

Halloween is one of the biggest holidays of the year that includes fun, themed foods. Candy, of course, is the biggest hit, inspiring endless pastry recipes and party concoctions.

In Oct. 2014, Starbucks introduced a Halloween-themed “secret drink,” the Franken Frappuccino, which featured green tea, white mocha and peppermint syrup. There was little that was special about it, except for its green coloring, which is already available year-round in the form of a regular green tea Frappuccino.

This is apparently a theme in the holiday-themed coffee world, with most Halloween-related coffee recipes online providing aesthetic variants in place of flavor variants. Unlike Christmas, which leaves room for peppermint-flavored coffees galore, the fall holidays do not necessarily have any coffee flavorings specific to Halloween. It seems we’ll have to wait for holiday specials like Halloween candy-flavored coffee brews and experiment on our own by “brewing” our own “ghastly” concoctions, using recipes found online for ideas.

There’s Witch’s Brew, which is simply coffee, condensed milk with green food coloring and “graveyard dirt,” which a concoction made of crumbled chocolate cookies, and a small amount of coffee beans for flavor. Put this on the rim of a glass, similar to a margarita, and serve it either hot or cold.

There is an alcoholic variant to this recipe that calls for coffee, vanilla vodka, and heavy cream. It’s called Witch’s Brew because it’s served with small brooms on the mouth of the serving mugs made of cinnamon sticks and black licorice.

There is also the “Black Goblin,” made of coffee, tequila, Kahlua and cream with chocolate, vanilla and orange sugar sprinkles. The “Halloween Express” is made of rum, espresso, maple syrup, and half & half with cinnamon sugar. The “Black Cauldron” is simply brewed espresso, beer, vodka, and vanilla ice cream.

Many of these recipes found online are obviously available and enjoyable year-round. However, the fun of the seasonal drinks are partly in the title and partly in the creativity required to make them Halloween-themed. It is surprisingly hard to find Halloween-themed coffee as opposed to Halloween-themed alcoholic beverages (and, often, these two are combined.)

Thankfully, pumpkin spice lattés are a fall-themed drink already, so we can still enjoy those well into December.

The Rogers Family Company Coffee & Tea Blog has a great recipe list for Halloween-themed coffee beverages, which includes lots of coffee and alcohol combinations that provide a fun, spooky variant on typical recipes. All of these recipes can be used without alcohol as well.

“Ghoulish Irish Coffee” is Irish coffee (Irish whiskey, heavy cream and brown sugar) with some “ghoulish” decorations (white marshmallows, white chocolate melts, red M&Ms and black food decorating gel.) The decorations are used to make a phantom’s face on the surface of the beverage.

There is also the “Red Eye Sambuca Coffee.” Sambuca, for those who do not know, is an Italian anise-flavored liqueur. This “bloody” recipe involves coffee and Sambuca mixed with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, Maraschino cherries, red food coloring, and corn syrup. The “blood,” made from the corn syrup and food coloring is meant to trickle down the sides of the glass that serves the beverage.

“Drunken Ghoul Coffee” is a cute mixture of Scotch, coffee, green whipped cream (simply made with green food coloring) and Amaretto or almond syrup.

The “Bloody Caramel Macchiato” is already non-alcoholic: it includes coffee, vanilla syrup, milk, caramel syrup and red food coloring.

“Devilish Mochas” are named so because they provide adding Bailey’s Irish Cream to your typical mocha. The recipe also calls for cocoa powder and milk.

While Halloween-themed foods are ubiquitous this time of year, the best coffee recipes so far have simply been variants that require adding blood-colored food dye or a candy-constructed monster mask to the beverage. The process is, for those who enjoy caffeine and cute ghosts and vampires, fairly fun.

Sarah Gamard can be reached at [email protected]