Lily’s Aperitif


I saw somewhere a cocktail recipe that contained Gin, Suze and Blue Curaçao.  The drink was, of course, a brilliant green.  So in my pursuit of holiday cocktails, this was perfect!  This wonderful aperitif is named after Lily the Haunted Doll.  She is the slightly creepier version of the Christmas surveillance doll “Elf on a Shelf.” The idea being that, after you adopt her, she haunts various places in your home.

For the cocktail, we chose the slightly floral Oxley Gin, Suze, Carpano Dry Vermouth, and blue curacao.  The nose is bright with citrus and juniper from both the Gin and Suze.  The taste is bittersweet with orange, botanicals, and a bit of spice.  The finish is long with juniper, a touch of pine and gentian.


  • 1 oz. Oxley Gin
  • 2 oz. Suze
  • 1 oz. Dry Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Blue Curaçao
  • 2 drops Doc Elliott’s Actually Bitter Orange Bitters
  • Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Express the lemon peel over the drink and discard the peel




It’s Halloween!

This is a wonderful time of year, and Halloween is one of the best excuses for partying ever invented!  So in that spirit, we offer a couple of ideas for spooky entertainment.

First for the drinks (have to keep our priorities straight).  Halloween specialty drinks tend to be, shall we say, “yuck.”  Some really look cool, but the flavors are not so much.  We prefer to take a standard cocktail, rename it and put it in a costume.  For instance, a chocolate martini in a glass rimed with melting chocolate and a chocolate spider web.  Or a “Dark and Spooky” with a black sugar rim.



For an eerie green drink try equal parts Midori, vodka,  simple syrup  and lemon juice, (aka Midori sour.)

You can also add a little dry ice for that smoking fog effect – just be very careful. Dry ice will burn you and can break glassware.  The safest way is to drop a small amount into a punch bowl.  By “small,” I mean a chip or two.  Also, don’t use dry ice in any drink with eggs, milk or cream.  The dry ice won’t smoke, it will foam.

While a smoking drink is fun, nothing beats a drink on fire!  Choose any Tiki drink or sour.  Name it something ghoulish like “Mr. Hyde.”  Serve it neat in a large round wine glass, filling it less than half way.  For the flame, float an inverted lemon or lime hull with a little piece of toast soaked in 151 proof rum.  Light the rum and serve the drink – with a straw.

Severed Arm

Severed Arm

In the past we have prepared various Halloween themed foods: mozzarella “eyeballs”, “severed arms” and pot sticker “brains.”  This year we served roasted “fingers” and meatloaf “coffins.”

Fingers 1

Meatball logs with almond slivers for “nails”

For the severed fingers, we used a meatball recipe, rolled them into finger sized logs and inserted sliced almonds for the “nails.”

Fingers 2

Severed fingers with their “skin,” ready for the oven.

We then used prosciutto for the “skin.”Fingers 3

After roasting in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes, we put them on bamboo skewers and served them with marinara.

The meatloaf “coffins” are simply individual meatloaves shaved into a coffin shape:

Meatloaf Coffins

Dark Chocolate Martini

This works best if you chill or freeze the vodka.  Makes a fun Halloween concoction.

  • Raw sugar
  • Finely chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 oz. chilled vodka
  • 2 oz. chocolate liqueur such as Godiva or Starbucks
  • 1 dash orange juice
  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water
  2. Combine sugar and chocolate.
  3. Empty and dry the glass then moisten rim with orange juice or water and coat with mixture.
  4. Combine vodka, chocolate liqueur and orange juice in a mixing glass with ice
  5. Stir to thoroughly chill, but do not over dilute.
  6. Strain into rimmed glass
  7. Garnish with an orange wedge

Dark and Spooky

This makes a fun Halloween drink, especially since the kids can be included with drinks sans the rum.  Note that black decorating sugar and black gummy spiders may need to be ordered in advance.

  • Black sugar for the rim
  • 1 black gummy spider
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • 2 oz. lime juice plus 1 lime wedge
  • 2 oz. ginger beer or ginger ale
  1. Rub lime wedge around the rim of an old fashioned glass and coat with black sugar
  2. Combine lime juice and rum in a shaker with ice and shake
  3. Strain into rimed old fashioned glass over fresh ice
  4. Top with ginger beer or ale
  5. Garnish with the black gummy spider