There’s a time for cheery, brightly colored cocktails that bring out your bubbly personality—and then there’s a time for drinks that reflect your inner goth. Whether it’s Halloween or you’re just feeling a little emo, these four black-hued cocktails are the ebony pools of deliciousness for you. Dyed not with black food coloring but with natural (if somewhat unconventional) ingredients like activated charcoal, black limes, charred coconut husks and squid ink, they’re perfect for your next horror-movie night or My Chemical Romance listening party. Or you can always nurse one as you stare out the window at the gray expanse that so appropriately reflects your inner anguish.
4 Midnight Black Cocktails for Your Dark Side
This cocktail is smoking—literally. Eric Trousdale of Chicago’s Arbella combines un-peated blended scotch, smoked bitters and actual hickory smoke with the flavors of stone fruits and amaro in a dramatic fashion. Inspired by primitive fire-fighting methods in which firefighters would hurl a grenade of extinguishing liquid at smoking fires, the cocktail is prepared in a sealable bottle, with hickory smoke piped in. The result is a showstopping, spooky cocktail infused with terrifically smoky flavors. Trousdale uses a smoking gun to create the hickory-infused cloud, but if you don’t have one at home, simply swap in a peated scotch and, for bonus points, use DIY smoked ice.
Crème de Noyaux
At the Crystal Tavern in New Jersey, director of spirits and mixology Carlos Ruiz uses black lime powder to color and flavor this surprisingly bright and gulpable drink. A common Middle Eastern ingredient made from dehydrated limes, black lime powder is strongly sour, earthy, smoky and slightly bitter. Combined with activated charcoal, the black lime syrup is a perfect match for acidic black coffee and smoky Highland Park Dark Origins scotch. Bubbly tonic and creamy egg whites elevate the intense ingredients.
black lime syrup
Adam Nystrom, lead bartender at E.P.&L.P. in West Hollywood, California, infused a classic Gin Sour with Southeast Asian flavors like coconut and lychee to make this beautiful beverage. Delicately sweet and floral lychee liqueur mixes with dark Amaro Montenegro and botanical-heavy gin to yield a complex, bittersweet flavor. The drink gets its signature jet black color from coconut charcoal, made from coconut husks that have been charred, cooled and ground into a powder. A frothy egg white head and a dusting of more coconut charcoal creates a striking ombré effect.
Maybe you’ve been bold enough to order black squid ink pasta, but throwing that briny ink into your cocktail shaker takes nerve. Bartender Stamatis Dimakis of Death Ave. Brewing Company in New York dared to do just that when he created a cocktail inspired by the bar’s macabre name. The result: an ebony take on a Martini made with salty squid ink, fruity grape brandy, sweet vermouth and agave nectar.