Halloween has always been big in the US and as with a lot of things in America, the UK tends to follow a number of years later. This is very much the case when it comes to Halloween, as each year it increases in popularity here in Britain, not only with kids dressing up, playing silly pranks and trick or treating but with restaurants displaying magnificently cut out pumpkins and creating special Halloween cocktails and menus so the adults don’t feel left out of all the fun. So we thought it would be interesting to look at few things happening around London this Halloween.
First off and not to miss a trick (or treat) we’ve noticed that even the drinks companies are jumping on the Halloween bandwagon and coming up with special themed drinks.
One such company is Il Gusto, who have created four rather spooky yet fun Halloween-themed bottles.
Dreamline Vulcano Premium is a sparkling white wine based drink which has a glowing reddish orange colour with amber highlights, accompanied by an attractive effect similar to a flare golden colour along with a slow, steady release of small bubbles and costs £18.00.
Skull with Blood Orange Vodka is a blended pure vodka with refreshing blood orange juice to create a drink that has a delicate bitter fruit aroma. The glowing colour and sepulchral skull shaped bottle makes this the perfect Halloween gift. The 50ml bottle costs £8.50, the 200ml £15.50 and the 500ml £29.00.
Skull with Absinthe Emmanuelle is the notorious liqueur that was loved by artists like Van Gogh and Picasso and is served in a rather macabre skull shaped bottle and is sure to add a suitably gothic note to your Halloween evening. The 50ml bottle costs £9.00, the 200ml £26.00 and the 500ml £53.00.
Skull with Tequila Gold is aged up to two months in wooden casks and has a powerful tequila, vanilla tone smoky exit. The 50ml bottle costs £10.00, the 200ml £18.50 and the 500ml £36.50.
For those of you not familiar with Il Gusto, they stock a wide range of artisan products from extra virgin olive, nut and seed oils and vinegars, which are well-known for their nutritional benefits, to aged whiskies and their very own flavoured spirits. Sustainability is also important to the company as their wonderfully shaped glass bottles can be refilled time and again in their stores.
All of Il Gusto’s products are available to buy online as well as in Il Gusto’s stores and kiosks around the UK.
Halloween Afternoon Tea at Dukes London
Another treat for the adults which you can also involve the children, is a special Halloween Afternoon Tea at the recently opened Great British Restaurant (GBR) at Dukes London, where the whole family can enjoy their classic tea with a spooky twist and seasonal autumn goodies.
The delicious finger sandwiches are filled with baked gammon and tomato chutney, smoked salmon and cream cheese and an old favourite – coronation chicken. The kids will love the spiced pumpkin pie and rich dark chocolate mousse topped with hazelnut and sticky toffee apple. They even have pumpkin custard tarts and soft cider marshmallows! And for those of you, like me, who love those freshly baked warm fruit scones, don’t fear, they’ve kept them on the menu I’m pleased to say.
The GBR Afternoon Tea is available between 30th October and 5th November 2017 and costs £32.50 per person or £42.50 with a glass of Champagne.
Halloween Cocktails in St John’s Wood
And finally, we venture up to St John’s Wood to Crocker’s Folly where you can enjoy some spooktakular craft cocktails (their description, not mine)!
Why not sip on a ‘Witches Brew’, which is an unearthly infusion of gin, egg white, apricot liquor, cranberry syrup ad rose wine, or perhaps you’d prefer the ominously named ‘Undertaker’, which is a potent potion of tequila, vinegar-shiso syrup, yuzu and apple juice. Personally I prefer the sound of ‘Jack The Ripper’, which is made with vodka, cherry liquor, banana liquor and lemon juice and cherry bitter but you may prefer the ‘Trinidad Sour’ with Angostura bitter, whiskey, almond syrup and lemon juice.
Be sure to also check out the bar bites menu to pair with your cocktail, which includes some small dishes that are perfect for sharing such as the spicy Lebanese sausages sautéed in lemon and tomato sauce, mini shawarma bites and quinoa tabbouleh.
I should also mention that the building that houses Crocker’s Folly has a history as long, dramatic and littered with ghost-sightings as you could hope for from what used to be a former gin palace, with ghostly happenings of its ill-fated founder still reported to this very day!
The special Halloween cocktail collection is available from 23rd to 31st October 2017, priced at £9.50 each and you’ll find Crocker’s Folly at 24 Aberdeen Place, St John’s Wood, NW8 8JR.
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs courtesy of Il Gusto, Dukes London and Crocker’s Folly