News & Politics

Terrifyingly Tasty Cocktails

Two fantastic Halloween cocktails to stir up at home from Washington's top bartenders

The Passenger’s Alexandra Bookless concocts a seasonal, spiced brew of Calvados (French apple brandy) and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, a Jamaican rum infused with allspice berries, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Both spirits can be found in local liquor stores; Bookless recommends Ace Beverage in Northwest DC, which has an extensive selection and call-ahead curbside service for Halloween-party hosts in a rush.


Makes one cocktail

1½ ounces Calvados (Bookless uses Daron brand)
½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup (In a small saucepot set over medium-high heat, combine equal parts sugar and water, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 10 minutes, and cool completely before using.)
¼ ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1 cinnamon stick, toasted
1 3-inch twist of lime

In a shaker, combine Calvados, lime juice, simple syrup, and allspice dram with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain twice, the second time into a chilled cocktail glass. Wrap the lime twist around the toasted cinnamon stick, and place in the glass as a garnish.

>> Next: Jackson 20's hibiscus-and-lime Little Shop of Horrors

This Little Shop of Horrors-inspired libation from Jackson 20 has a complex bite, thanks to a combination of fresh lime juice and hibiscus sweetness. Specialty liquor stores and markets such as Balducci’s carry jars of wild hibiscus flowers in syrup.


Makes one drink
For the rim:

2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1½ teaspoons powdered ginger

Combine all the ingredients and spread out on a plate. Lightly wet the rim of a highball glass and press it into the mixture so it adheres.

Make the cocktail:

2 ounces Milagro tequila
2 ounces chamomile-citrus-berry AperiTea mixer by Mighty Leaf Tea (available online here or on
1 ounce hibiscus syrup from a jar of wild hibiscus flowers in syrup
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 hibiscus flower

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into the highball glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a wild hibiscus flower from the jar.

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.