Celebrating Halloween as an adult is great. You get ultimate control over your costume and don't have to sport an awkward Mom creation. You don't have to beg for candy and sort through the crap to find the ones you actually like—being an adult means you can buy your own candy and eat it to your heart's content (or your stomach's revolt). It also means you can throw The Best Halloween Party Ever, complete with creepy soundtrack, delicious food, and drinks that fit the theme. To help you with that last part, we've gathered our favorite Halloween sips, including candy bar milkshakes and tasty cocktails, both with and without a little pumpkin mixed in.
Wondering about beer options? Pumpkin brews abound: Check out a few Cicerone favorites and some of our picks. Honestly, though, lots of people hate pumpkin beer—here are some better fall-appropriate options for those folks.
Turkey and Sage Cocktail
Pumpkin can be tricky to use in a cocktail, but pumpkin butter works great, concentrating the flavor in smooth form and adding a touch of spice. Here, it's paired with rich high-proof bourbon (such as Wild Turkey 101), which adds caramel and vanilla flavors that are wonderful with the gourd. Woodsy sage adds complexity, and lemon keeps things bright.
If you're looking for a festive orange cocktail that's not made with pumpkin, this classic drink is just the ticket. It's also exceedingly easy to mix: just equal parts cognac, Old Tom gin, and sweet vermouth, plus a few dashes of orange bitters. It's luscious and smooth, rounding off the booze factor with a touch of candied-orange sweetness.
Brown ale and hard cider are both ideal autumnal drinks, but have you ever tried them together? This simple two-ingredient combo highlights the mouth-coating, caramel-toffee quality of the brown ale, cut with a nice, sharp rinse of tart cider.
The Great Calabaza
This is the perfect fall margarita, made with smoky, savory mezcal instead of tequila. Pumpkin butter adds a rich texture and flavor, and the whole drink is brightened with freshly squeezed orange and lime juice.
Pumpkin Bourbon Cider Milkshake
Bourbon is right at home in a boozy milkshake, and this one's an easy favorite, made with apple cider, cinnamon, ginger, and pumpkin purée, along with lots of vanilla ice cream. Don't skip the finishing touch: fresh whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup.
This cocktail is a fall apple orchard in a glass, bursting with three layers of apple flavor from fresh sweet cider (spiced with peppercorns and cloves), 100-proof apple brandy, and fizzy hard cider.
This rye cocktail is creamy, boozy, spicy, and rich, thanks to a little pumpkin ale, apple brandy, and a whole egg, all shaken until foamy. Maple syrup sweetens it up, and freshly grated nutmeg enhances the aroma.
Peanut Butter Cup Milkshake
Smooth peanut butter and a mix of chocolate and butter pecan ice cream make for a crowd-pleaser of a sweet, salty take on the classic peanut butter cup. It's rich stuff, so you might want to serve it in smaller juice glasses.
The Smokin' Pumpkin
Even if you're not usually into pumpkin beer, this is a blend worth trying. When you mix your pumpkin beer with an equal amount of smoky Rauchbier, the drink acquires a rich, savory quality that might remind you of bacon.
This one's a sparkling celebration of fall fruit, starring pomegranate (the pom) and apple (the pomme). A dry hard cider is the perfect autumnal stand-in for bubbly, and Laird's Apple Brandy lends another layer of rich flavor.
The White Pumpkin
We add sweet, spicy pumpkin butter to the typical White Russian components of Kahlua and cream to get this fall-themed after-dinner drink. Ramazzotti—a cinnamon- and orange-flavored amaro that blends beautifully with pumpkin—is the secret ingredient.
The Varnish's Milk Punch
Now you see it, now you don't! This drink is both trick and treat, taking ghost-white whole milk and rendering it clear. The flavor doesn't go away, though, and the punch winds up rich and boozy, thanks to a heady mix of cognac and rum with a touch of lemon.
Amaretto Joy Milkshake
Sometimes you feel like a...lightly spiked milkshake take on the classic Almond Joy candy bar. Toasted coconut flakes and rich coconut cream add tropical flavor, amaretto liqueur adds sweetness and a little bit of booze, and chocolate ice cream makes for a thick, creamy texture.