Halloween Cocktails

Japan Style Hallowe’en Cocktails

Nikka Persimmon Old Fashioned

The grandfather of all cocktails meets the Japanese way of life. Persimmons, sometimes also known as sharon fruit, are a staple autumn fruit in Japan and make a flavourful twist to the traditional orange you would use to garnish an old-fashioned. Oranges are the Westerners’ fruit; bold colours and a very strong flavour. We’ve all experienced the long-lasting, sickly sweet flavour of orange sticking to our hands and clothes. Persimmons come from different stock. Where oranges burst with flavour, persimmons are more subtle. Give it a little patience, wait for the perfect ripeness and you get a beautiful, floral and sweet garnish for your old fashioned.

Added Bonus: they say persimmons help cure a hangover…cure the hangover at the same time as creating it!

Halloween Cocktails


You will need:

A glass tumbler

Ice cubes, enough to fill the glass

Brown sugar or brown sugar syrup, 2 tsp

Angostura bitters, 1-2 dashes

Nikka whisky, 2 ounces

Soda water

A persimmon



This recipe serves one.

Put two teaspoons of brown sugar in your glass, along with 1 or 2 dashes of bitters and a drop of water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Next, fill the glass with ice. Like, really fill it. To the top. Add 2 ounces of Nikka and then take your teaspoon and very slowly stir the contents of the glass for about 2 minutes. It will feel more like you are gently nudging the ice and liquid around in a circle. While you are doing this the ice will melt and dilute the cocktail.

The beauty of cocktails is experimentation. If you prefer a stronger old fashioned you might stir the ice a little less and have a smaller amount of more concentrated liquid. I stirred for 2 minutes until the glass was ¾ filled with liquid. Then I topped it up with soda water for that old timey flavour.

For the persimmon garnish you will want to use a sharp knife to cut a strip of persimmon skin about an inch wide and 2-3 inches long. From this big strip next cut a thinner rectangular strip about half an inch wide. This is what you will twist to create the garnish. I had to then slice my strip again to cut away some of that succulent persimmon flesh, so it wasn’t too thick and stiff. You can create your twist by pressing the strip against a small, cylindrical shape – like a pencil. If this doesn’t make any sense to you here is a video demonstrating how to make a citrus twist.

When you cut into the persimmon you will be releasing sweet oils into the air. When you are making the twist the same thing will be happening so you will want to do that over the drink so that it gets some of these tasty oils. When you add the twist to the drink, perched on top, it’s presence in the glass will again add a hint of that sweet persimmon flavour. In reality, whisky is the main source of flavour in this drink.


Sailor Moon Highball

Everyone around the world – Japan, Scotland, the U.S. – will look up at the night sky this Hallowe’en and see a full moon. It’s a pretty special one this year. To celebrate you can make this Sailor Moon Highball invented by Jonathan Elliott, the bar manager at Ani Ramen.


Japan Halloween Cocktail

You will need:

A collins glass

Ice cubes, lots

1 ounce whisky, your favourite Japanese*

1 ounce rum

¾ ounce fresh lime juice, plus a slice to make a wheel

¼ ounce Okinawa brown sugar syrup (vinepair has a recipe for this)

Ginger Beer, to taste

Lime wheel

(*Probably something with a stronger and more rich flavour like Yamazaki 12)


This recipe serves two.

Pour the whisky, rum, lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add plenty of ice. Shake!

Alternatively, add all the ingredients to a pitcher. Add ice and give it a good stir. This will thoroughly mix the ingredients and dilute them enough for the recipe.

Next, fill a collins glass with ice and strain the liquid into it. Top with ginger beer.

To make the lime wheel cut a slice of lime. Cut a divet into the circle of lime – normally about a radius of the slice.

Place the lime wheel onto the lip of the class and – kanpai!


Bramble Roku Gin

Although the 6 botanicals in Roku have been chosen to create the perfect seasonal balance, the addition of this dark, autumnal fruit turns this into a fresh but zesty late year drink. Roku gin isn’t too sweet so pairs well with the tart flavours of the berry. Of course, for a Hallowe’en drink you expect tart, dark and mysterious flavours…

Halloween Cocktails

You will need:

A glass tumbler

Ice cubes

1 and a half ounce Roku Gin

1 ounce of fresh lemon juice, plus one wheel to serve

A hefty drizzle of Creme de Mure

Tonic water, to taste


This recipe serves one.

Fill the tumbler with ice. You know by now we want that bad boy filled up to the top. Add the gin and lemon juice. Stir.

Stop to note the heavenly scents you have created. If you would like, top up the drink with tonic water. Add a hefty drizzle of creme de mure and throw in a few brambles.

Make a lemon wedge, just the same as the lime wheel for the Sailor Moon Highball.

There you have it – beautiful, crisp, with all the right zingy flavours!


Whisky Bloody Mary

Things are a litte different this year; it’s time to make fashionable the At Home Hallowe’en Brunch. In a way this is the most Hallowe’en drink because the red colours are so vivid and the sweet/savoury balance is a little uncanny. For the autumn/Hallowe’en version of this classic we exchanged the celery for a stick of cinnamon and the celery salt for a little powdered cinnamon. It worked out really nice and heightened that sweet versus savoury experience.

Halloween Cocktails

You will need:

A collins glass

Ice cubes, lots

Whisky, about 3 and a half ounces – a Japanese blend goes very well.

Tomato juice, 2 cups

1 ounce lemon juice, plus 2 slices to serve

A few shakes of Worcestershire sauce

A few shakes of Tabasco sauce

A pinch of cinnamon powder

A pinch of black pepper

A cinnamon stick to garnish



This recipe serves two.

First, place the ice in a large pitcher. Then measure the whisky, tomato juice and lemon juice and pour it straight onto the ice. Add 3 shakes of Worcestershire sauce and the same again of Tabasco. Add the pinch of cinnamon and another of pepper. Keep stirring gently and stop when the outside of the pitcher is cold to touch, then strain the cocktail into two collins glasses.

To finish top up with fresh ice, add the cinnamon stick and a lemon wheel to each glass. Kanpai!

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