Spooky billowing smoke from vibrant concoctions. It’s a fantastic recipe for Halloween ambiance. If you’re having a small get together with a Halloween theme, making spooky dry ice cocktails can provide the perfect touch. They look amazing, but that’s not the best part. Cocktails made with dry ice can be absolutely delicious, as well as pretty to look at.
Unlike regular ice, dry ice doesn’t melt into the concoction. It turns straight to gas. This means that dry ice will keep the cocktail very cold but it won’t dilute the taste at all. If you want a potent punch or a sweet and savory treat, you can keep it cold without watering down the flavor. Most people choose dry ice for the sultry smoke effect, but this is an added benefit.
You can use dry ice with any of your favorite recipes. If you don’t like fall flavors, you can absolutely go for a Hurricane or Mai Tai. A green apple martini might give you just the right tint of Halloween color. You can choose a new cocktail you’ve been dying to try or an old standard. There are Halloween motif accompaniments that you can dress up your creations with, as well. Instead of olives, you might use eyeball candies to float in the center. Be creative. Give your guests an experience to savor, and some fun pictures to share on their Instagram.
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Dry Ice Drink Precautions and Ideas
Dry ice is not like regular ice and there are some safety precautions you should use when making these cocktails. It’s called dry ice, but it’s actually frozen carbon dioxide. It goes straight from solid to gas, which is why it makes steam when liquid hits it. It’s much colder than regular ice, and you do need to use precautions when you work with it. Never let pets or children near dry ice because it should not be digested. You read that correctly, your guest should NEVER drink the dry ice you’re using in your cocktails.
So is it really safe? It is relatively safe when used correctly. Dry ice will sink to the very bottom of the glass, which keeps guests from drinking it unless they’re trying very hard to do so. Once the smoke dissipates, the dry ice has already evaporated. If you’re very concerned about guests accidentally ingesting it, you can wait until the smoke slows down to hand out the drinks.
Other ideas that work really well include using two different containers. You might use a witch’s cauldron with dry ice in the bottom and the glass for your cocktail sits inside. A liquid can be added to the cauldron to create the steam as you’re passing out the drinks. This idea works really well for a punch bowl, too. Use a large cauldron and keep replenishing the dry ice throughout the night to keep the smoky effect. For a punch bowl, you can also take charge of ladling out the glasses, to make sure no guests get pieces of dry ice in their drinks.
At an adult party, you’re relatively safe in clearly telling your guest not to ingest the dry ice. You are serving alcohol, so it is best to always err on the side of caution.
Other things you should know before using dry ice:
It needs to be well ventilated. In severe cases, dry ice can cause asphyxiation if you don’t use enough ventilation. Windows should be open when you’re transporting dry ice. There are also special containers made for dry ice, but it should never be in a tightly sealed container because it can cause it to burst.
Dry ice can crack countertops and damage pipes. You read that correctly. It is so cold that it can damage surfaces. It’s important that you don’t try to dump it down a sink and that take care when using it.
Do not touch dry ice with your bare hands. It’s cold enough that it can cause burns or frostbite. Use gloves or tongs to handle dry ice. Never bare skin.
Smoked Cocktail Recipes to Impress
Now that we’ve gotten through the less fun disclaimers, let’s move on to some exciting recipe ideas for you to try this Halloween. The following list offers a little something for every type of taste. Feel free to make adjustments or to use some of your old standard favorites with the addition of some spooky flair and dry ice. For example, let’s say your favorite drink is a White Russian. And who doesn’t love one of those? You could spice it up with some Halloween themed food coloring and rim the glass with green and orange sugar. Then add a little dry ice for that foggy scary movie feel.
Don’t feel boxed into using fall flavors or drinks that are strictly about Halloween. You can use fall-themed drinks, of course. They might be your favorites. The biggest reason to choose them is that they’ll be well-liked by your guests and yourself. Plus, they add to your holiday theme and decor.
Here are a few great Dry Ice recipes to get you started:
Blood Orange Mimosa or Screwdriver
Blood oranges are gorgeous and perfect for Halloween because the deep red of the fruit does actually look like blood. The fruit itself is native to Sicily but has become popular throughout the United States in the last decade or so. However, fresh blood oranges are only in season during the winter months, usually December through March. Some are available through May.
For a blood orange mimosa in October, you’ll likely have to settle for bottled blood orange juice. You can garnish with something fun and garish. You won’t be able to find a fresh blood orange to add to the drink. If you’d prefer to garnish with fruit, you might opt for raspberries or strawberries. Something in the red family.
A standard mimosa calls for Champagne and orange juice. You would use equal parts of champagne and blood orange juice. Or you might opt for a mix of regular orange juice and blood orange juice.
For a little pop of taste that’s a bit of a surprise, add a splash of Chambord.
The dry ice should be added just before it’s served. It should sink to the very bottom of the flute.
If you’d like a drink that has a stronger taste, you might choose a Blood Orange Screwdriver instead. This would use your favorite brand of vodka. Unlike the Mimosa, equal parts would be far too strong for most guests. You’ll want to use one or two shots, depending on the glass size. For instance, if you’re using a pint glass, a double is usually the best alcohol to juice ratio.
Apple Pie Cocktail
Nothing says fall quite like apples. And apple pie cocktails bring a warm sweet taste that most guests will enjoy. Especially if your guests enjoy sweet drinks that don’t have a strong taste of alcohol.
For the Apple Pie Cocktail, you’ll use one shot of vanilla-flavored vodka, one shot of cinnamon-flavored whiskey, a squeeze of lemon juice, and apple cider or apple juice. This cocktail can also be dressed up with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg to give it that fresh-baked pie aroma and add to the flavor.
If you use a deep snifter, as shown above, the dry ice creates a lovely picture as it fills up the inside of the curved glass.
This drink can also be adjusted to serve as a shot. Generally, shots are much higher in alcohol than the mix, you might use a third of each the vanilla vodka, cinnamon whiskey, and apple juice. To use your dry ice to great impact, you can use a deep tray layered with the dry ice and a screen above to hold the shots, so that the fog billows around your drinks but your guests won’t accidentally touch the dry ice.
Margaritas are a summertime standard, but they’re also an excellent drink for any crowd that loves tequila. To make it a bit more Halloween themed, you can use food coloring to change the color from the muted lime to a deep black. This can be achieved through a combination of the standard dye colors or black food dye. For an extra Halloween punch, use black salt to rim the glass, rather than your standard margarita salt rim.
For a truly outstanding Margarita, you want to use a shaker to make sure that the ingredients are combined perfectly.
Start with regular ice in your shakers
For one drink, you’ll use 2 shots of your favorite tequila, 1 shot of Grand Marnier, a generous amount of lime juice, and your food coloring. Shake well and strain into your garnished glass over dry ice. You can substitute Triple Sec for the Grand Marnier, but the Grand Marnier really does give this drink an unbeatable flavor.
The fun part of Halloween is the fact that you get to be creative and play with colors and looks. Don’t be afraid to try out vibrant cocktail colors, like deep blues, stunning purples, and witch cackling greens. But your guests will thank you if you make the flavor of the drinks and even higher priority than their aesthetic. There are so many choices, you can absolutely have both gorgeous to look at and delicious.
About the Author:
Merry Monteleone is a freelance writer from the Chicago area. Professionally, she writes about content marketing, business, and IT. She writes fiction and humor for fun, which often intersects with great cocktails. Find out more about her here.