Spooky Sips: Halloween and Day of the Dead Cocktails

There is only one antidote for an overdose of Halloween candy and jack-o-lanterns — and that’s a drink or two. Tricks are for kids; treat yourself to one of these Halloween and Day of the Dead cocktails to get in the spirit of things.

Bleu Boheme, San Diego, California
Creatures of the night will be reaching for the new Sleepy Hollow cocktail just in time for Halloween. Made with mescal, allspice Dram liqueur, and an absinthe rinse, this creation is garnished with toasted rosemary. Wisps of smoke emanating from it resemble an eerie fog. Make a reservation at Bleu Boheme.

Halloween and Day of the Dead Cocktails

Dusk at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida
The Witches Brew is a rich concoction of Absolut Elyx, Cointreau, POM Blueberry juice, and a hint of sweet and sour. Some dry ice and a black sugar rim give this fruity cocktail a sinister look and feel to get you in the mood. Make a reservation at Dusk at the Ritz-Carlton.

Halloween and Day of the Dead Cocktails

Holsteins-The Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas, Nevada
Holsteins Shakes and Buns will offer the Graveyard Bam-BOOzled shake from through Halloween. This seasonal shake is created with vanilla ice cream and cherry vodka and is garnished with a graveyard made from Oreos, cherry sauce, a gummy skull, a mummy lollipop, a marshmallow Peep tombstone, bloody bones hard candy, and whipped cream finished with a candy corn-frosted rim. Get your drink and your candy fix all in one! Make a reservation at Holsteins-The Cosmopolitan.

Halloween and Day of the Dead Cocktails

Rosa Mexicano-Tribeca, New York, New York
To celebrate Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos, certified mezcalier Courtenay Greenleaf created the Rising of the Dead cocktail. It’s a spicy margarita with pineapple and basil, playfully garnished with two red chiles de arbol standing upright to resemble someone rising from the grave. Every sip is equal parts mysterious and spicy. Make a reservation at Rosa Mexicano.

Halloween and Day of the Dead Cocktails

Calavera, Oakland, California
At this Mexican restaurant in uptown Oakland, you’ll find the Ancient Corn Old Fashioned just in time for the Day of the Dead and Halloween. It combines Mezcal Vago ‘Elote’ harvest mezcal, bourbon, housemade pumpkin-spiced bitters, carved rock, and a homemade spiced caramel lollipop – the best flavors of fall in a single glass. Make a reservation at Calavera.

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Good Gourd: 12 Pumpkin Desserts to Celebrate the Season

Once a humble, orange gourd best known for adorning dining room tables and decorating doorsteps, pumpkin has become a divisive element of the fall culinary landscape. Each year, pumpkin in all forms appears in coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants across the country, to the delight of some and exhaustion of others. We’re taking a stance, though, however controversial: we love pumpkin. Whether it be the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, a creamy, comforting bowl of soup, or a hot-from-the-oven bread, we’re all in. However, pumpkin desserts reign supreme in our diets. From tiramisu to fritters to the most distinctly autumn ice cream sandwich, check out how chefs from around the country do justice to our favorite fall flavors.

Ginger Snap Cookie and Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich, CBD Provisions, Dallas, Texas
This modern-yet-inviting brasserie in the heart of downtown Dallas is open all day, but make sure to stop in for lunch or dinner for a taste of fall on a plate. Executive pastry chef Keith Cedotal combined two of the season’s best, most quintessential flavors in his Gingersnap Cookie Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich with housemade cookies and a coating of pumpkin seeds for a little added texture. If we could dole these out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, we’d officially be the most popular house on the block. Make a reservation at CBD Provisions.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Spice Gelato, Alla Spina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Among the many reasons to love chef Marc Vetri’s Italian gastropub is the extensive beer selection (including the Victory Verde, a saison made exclusively for the Vetri family restaurants,) the comforting yet impressive, pork-centric menu, and, not least, the soft serve gelato. Flavors change seasonally, but this fall enjoy a Pumpkin Spice swirl in a cup, on a cone, or, for a little pick me up, an affogato with a shot of espresso. Make a reservation at Alla Spina.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Basque Cake, The Bristol, Chicago, Illinois
Renowned chef Grant Achatz has called the Basque cake at this beloved American restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood one of his favorite desserts in the city. A staple on the menu, pastry chef Amanda Rockman has given the cake an autumn spin, adding pumpkin marmalade — made from scratch by cooking a mixture of small diced pumpkin tossed in maple sugar and lemon zest — and a garnish of candied sage, spiced pumpkin seeds, and maple chantilly to the classic Spanish dessert. “If you can find them, the best pumpkin for marmalade that I have found is called a Long Island Cheese Squash,” asserts Chef Rockman. “Odd name, but great pumpkin.” Make a reservation at The Bristol.

Pumpkin desserts

Tiramisu’ Alla Zucca, Lago, Las Vegas, Nevada
At this stylish spot in the Bellagio, get a front row seat to the resort’s famous fountain show while enjoying plates like crudo, small pizzas, and focaccia. And for those celebrating Thanksgiving in town, don’t miss the seasonal spin on the traditional Italian dessert. Tiramusu’ Alla Zucca layers pumpkin mascarpone mousse onto espresso-soaked lady fingers in an indulgent, impressive — and appropriately Vegas — presentation. Make a reservation at Lago.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Cake in a Box, BOA Steakhouse, Santa Monica, California
The classic steakhouse gets an L.A. twist at this perpetually buzzing Santa Monica hot spot. After treating yourself to a juicy steak — the 40-day, dry-aged New York Strip or bone-in Kansas City filet mignon are among the many menu heavy-hitters — the Cake in a Box is an apt ending. With moist, spiced pumpkin cake, vanilla cream cheese icing, anisette cream, and candied pecans, the “box” aspect of this dessert means taking it to go is just as easy as diving in on site. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse.

Pumpkin Desserts

Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts, Taste on Melrose, West Hollywood, California
Paired with a hot coffee at brunch or saved for dessert at lunch or dinnertime, the Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut — made with a soft pumpkin brioche, drenched in butter, and covered in cinnamon and sugar — makes for a perfectly autumn indulgence at this warm little neighborhood spot. Or, opt for the spicy Pumpkin Crumb Cake, topped with an almond nutmeg crumb layer. With ample outdoor seating for L.A.’s 364 days of sunshine, enjoy either one of executive pastry chef Katie Shyne’s house-baked creations and win fall. Make a reservation at Taste on Melrose.

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Counter Point: 5 Restaurants Offering Reservations and Counter Service

Traditionally, there was a strong split between casual counter service eateries and fine dining restaurants with table service. These days, enterprising entrepreneurs are trying to recalibrate restaurants by blending the two experiences together in a variety of creative configurations. Here are five restaurants offering reservations and counter service — rewriting the rules.

Megu, New York, New York
Make a reservation to sit down in the dining room or simply saunter up to the sushi counter where it’s first come, first serve. Chef Frances Tariga-Weshnak’s dishes delight the eye and the palate equally, so be prepared to shoot an Instagram before you take a bite. Hone in on the spicy tuna and truffled avocado roll, radish-adorned Wagyu beef, and the Matcha crepe layer cake. Make a reservation at Megu.

Restaurants offering reservations and counter service

Kingside, New York, New York
You’ll need a reservation if you want to score one of the plush booths at this New American stunner from chef Marc Murphy. However, the counter with red stools at the back is open to walk-ins. No matter where you sit, make sure to order the burger topped with fiery giardiniera relish, soppressata, and a slab of white cheddar, as well as Pecorino toast slathered with a snowdrift of ricotta and a golden drizzle of truffled honey. Make a reservation at Kingside.

Restaurants offering reservations and counter service

Little Gem, San Francisco, California
Counter service by day, reservations by night. This out-of-the-box groundbreaker is the brainchild of owner Eric Lilavois and chef Dave Cruz, both alums of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. The idea is to accommodate a casual crowd during the day, while making it a potential date-night spot after darkness falls. Expect globally inspired salads, soups, bowls, hearty plates, and a variety of shared plates. Read the full story of this modern California eatery in our blog post here. Make a reservation at Little Gem.

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7 Creative Cranberry Cocktails: Seasonal Sips Chock Full of Good

The fall kicks off cranberry harvest time when those adorbs little red berries, ripe for harvesting, float to the top of the bog. In many areas of the country, the harvest is celebrated with festivals with bonfires and fireworks. Restaurants and bars also honor the tart, antioxidant-rich berry. Here are seven creative plays on cranberry cocktails that transcend the Cosmopolitan (#sorrynotsorry, Carrie Bradshaw!) and embrace autumn. Keep calm and cranberry on!

Seasons 52-Perimeter, Dunwoody, Georgia
The refreshing Cranberry & Sage cocktail stars PrairieOrganic Gin, white cranberry juice, fresh muddled cranberries, simple syrup, and lime accompanied by a fresh cranberry and sage leaf garnish. Make a reservation at Seasons 52-Perimeter.

Cranberry Cocktails

Streets, Williamsburg, New York
An edgy and local BK take on the classic Moscow Mule, Streets’ Cranberry Ginger Mule stars cranberries, fresh lime, and Ginger Beer. Streets sources the fresh cranberries from the farms at Brooklyn Terminal Market. Make a reservation at Streets.

Cranberry Cocktails

Lucy Restaurant & Bar, Yountville, California
The craftologists at fun-loving Lucy in the Bardessono Hotel & Spa have debuted hand-crafted I Love Lucy-inspired cocktails. “The Ethel” cocktail features Hardy Cognac, fresh cranberries, white wine, orange juice, apples, and club soda. We’re guessing Lucy loves it. Fred? Who knows! And Ricky wants to add a splash of rum. Make a reservation at Lucy Restaurant & Bar.

Cranberry Cocktails

Mr. Purple, New York, New York
Mr. Purple is the signature drink at this rooftop bar and restaurant on the 15th floor of the Hotel Indigo Lower East Side — and it will color your world. Their cran-centric drink is a blend of Casamigos Reposado Tequila, Mr. Purple punch mix (cranberry liqueur, Allspice Dram, apple, and lemon) and a garnish of six healthful cranberries. Make a reservation at Mr. Purple.

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