One small upside of the varying degrees of curfews and lockdown tiers in UK right now is that we can all avoid the lurid Halloween-themed cocktails that usually grace drinking institutions at the end of October. No enforced pumpkin spice mixes, no spookily sweet punches, no tacky fake cobwebs. ‘Trick or Treat’ has been replaced by ‘Track and Trace’, and this Halloween you can drink exactly what you want. What’s more, you can do it in the comfort of the home bar you’ve no doubt perfected over the last six months.
That being said, there is just one spooky cocktail worth the trouble. It comes from the underground drinking den at Ollie Dabbous’ Hide in Mayfair, where cocktails are crafted to celebrate unusual ingredients: martinis are stirred with frozen birch sap instead of ice, and herbs like meadowsweet, lemon balm and sage are infused into drinks.
Hide Below’s head bartender Oskar Kinberg likes to call this blood-red little number ‘The Root of all Evil’. Far from being a Halloween special, it’s really an homage to the unexpected alchemy that happens when beetroot and good quality tequila are mixed. A wintry yet refreshing drink, the earthy beetroot is the perfect partner for that bottle of tequila you’ve got lying around from when parties were a thing. Properly made tequilas like Tapatio Blanco or Altos Plata are key: the latter having been awarded “Best Tequila for Margaritas” by the World’s 50 Best Bars, as chosen by the top bartenders around the globe.
Throw in lime juice and a splash of red wine and you get a cocktail unlike anything you’ve tried before. “It’s a drink for any occasion, but it’s perhaps best pre-dinner,” Oskar tells Gentleman’s Journal. “The small splash of red wine ties it all together and gives you a good reason to open a nice bottle that you can have with your dinner after.”
Ingredients (serves 1)
50ml white tequila (the citrus notes of Altos Plata work well)
20ml fresh beetroot juice
15ml lime juice
15ml good red wine
15ml simple syrup
A twist of lime peel
- Add the tequila, beetroot juice, lime juice, wine and simple syrup and 2-3 ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.
- Shake well, then strain over fresh ice cubes in a highball glass or tumbler.
- Take a piece of lime peel, twist slightly to release the essential oils, and place it on top for garnish.
Become a Gentleman’s Journal member. Find out more here.