Every Spooktacular Studio Soiree needs its own witch’s brew to keep the party going, and since it’s fall in Wisconsin, I decided to put a terrifying twist on the familiar favorite — the Wisconsin Old Fashioned.
A New Old Fashioned
When ordering an old fashioned, you usually choose between whisky and brandy, but for this mix, I chose to use both. Why skimp on the good stuff?
To make it really special and specific to the season, I added local apple cider, homemade maraschino cherries, and cinnamon candies along with the customary bitters.
The slight kick of cinnamon from the candies complements the dark liquors and gives the drink a full, fall flavor that is irresistible on a spooky night. For an added layer of flavor, I smoked the cocktail with some hickory smoke using a tea diffuser over a drink jigger and wood pellets used in pellet smokers. I lit the pellets on fire using a butane torch, then blew out the flame and inverted the glass dispenser over the smoking pellets.
When the container was full of smoke, you have to quickly put the cover back on top and add the ingredients using a funnel to prevent the smoke from escaping. We garnished the final glasses with a smoking cinnamon stir-stick.
Bone-Chilling Apple Skulls
To top off the creepy concoction, we carved apples to look like skulls. While also adding a little natural apple sweetness, they certainly catch the eye while floating in your blood-read old fashioned mix.
To create the apples, first remove the skin. Then, use a small melon baller or paring knife to create the eye sockets. In relation to the eyes, carve the mouth and nose. Then, shave the sides of the apple to give the illusion of gaunt cheekbones.
Here are a couple of tips to keep your skulls looking their best.
- Soak the apples in lemon water to prevent browning.
- Dehydrated the apples overnight or cook them in a 175 degree oven for 4 hours.
I made a big batch for our large group of guests, but you can easily pair down this recipe to a pitcher or even an individual glass.
Guests were impressed with my Halloween interpretation of a beloved drink. I was just happy to live up to high Wisconsin standards.
Let me know if this ghoulish old fashioned makes your holiday table!
Jim & Jena
Check out our other posts about this Spooktacular Soiree!
Smoked Candy Apple Old Fashioned Cocktails
- 1 jar luxardo or maraschino cherries or homemade, stemmed with liquid
- 16 dashes cranberry or angostura bitters
- 1 container small red hot candies (optional)
- 1 gallon fresh apple cider
- 1 750 ml bottle Brandy of choice
- 1 750 ml bottle Bourbon of choice
- 2 12 oz bottles Ginger beer such as Gray's
- 6 Cinnamon sticks
- 6-8 Granny Smith apples carved into heads and dried overnight
- In a blender, combine cherries, bitters and cinnamon candies. Blend into small pieces. Pour mixture into a large glass drink dispenser.
- Add cider and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, add ice and serve with cherries and cinnamon stir sticks for garnish.