5@5 - Halloween party tricks and boozy treats
October 26th, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

It's monster mash-planning time, but don't let your to-do list scare you.

Nate Howell, head bartender at Cusp Dining & Drinks and Hiatus Lounge, has all the tricks and treats to raise the spirits of you and your guests this Halloween.

Oh, and did we mention the killer punch recipes?

Five Tricks for Throwing a Halloween Cocktail Party: Nate Howell

nate howell

1. Be prepared and know what you want to make
This means knowing what supplies, ingredients and tools you will need to ensure you don’t have to send someone to the store to look for what you need. It allows you time to properly execute whatever it is you are making. Decide early on whether you will make a cocktail, a punch or both.

2. Don’t overthink it, but be unique
Too many times people go for the over-the-top approach, but really all you want to do is make sure whatever you make is fun, festive and tastes good. This means using produce that is in season, spirits you are familiar with or just knowing what everyone is going to enjoy. Great produce and ingredients include seasonal spices like cinnamon, fresh citrus and juices, and seasonal berries and fruits - these also make great garnishes.

3. Punches for the masses
Punches are a great way to serve unique cocktails to a large gathering. They are easy, can be served warm or cool, and are perfect for guests to serve themselves so you can get back to the party. Make an impression and head to your local thrift store for some cool glassware or punch bowls to serve it in.

4. Wide variety is key
Have plenty of food and drink options for your guests. Try to find what people’s tastes are, whether it’s sweet or salty or bitter, and adapt to that.

5. Have fun and enjoy it
The last thing your guest wants is for you to be running around the house an hour after people have arrived, worried about the cheese dip is or where more glasses are. Be sure to enjoy your friends' company because, after all, that is why you are having this awesome party.

Witches' Brew Recipes

Toothless Wonder
In a large punch bowl, muddle the skin of 4 grapefruits with 2 pints of strawberries and 3 cups of sugar until it becomes a paste. Let the paste sit for 4-6 hours until a true paste forms. Add 3 bottles (750 ml each) of mezcal to the paste and stir until blended. Add ice to fill the bowl and garnish it with mint leaves. Stir and enjoy.

Headless Horsemen
In a large punch bowl, muddle 4 cinnamon sticks with 3 cups brown sugar, the skin of 5 lemons and 2 peaches into a paste. Cover and let the paste sit for 4-6 hours until a true paste forms. Add 3 bottles (750 ml each) of spiced rum to the paste and stir until blended. Add ice to fill bowl and garnish with peach and lemon slices. Stir and enjoy.

Werewolves of London
The first step is to infuse your gin with chilies. In a large, airtight container, add 1/2 lb. of chopped chilies and 3 bottles (750 ml each) of gin to the container. Seal and let soak for 4-8 hours. When soaked, strain the seeds and chile pieces from the gin and discard.

In a large punch bowl, muddle the skin of 4 lemons and 4 limes with 4 cups of sugar. Cover and let the paste sit for 4-6 hours until a true paste forms. Add the 3 bottles of chile-infused gin. Add ice to fill bowl and garnish with lemon and lime slices. Stir and enjoy.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Cocktail Recipes • Halloween • Holidays • Sip • Spirits • Think


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