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Halloween – what’s it all about then? The origins of Halloween date back 2,000 years to when the Celts lived in the area of the world that is now Ireland, the UK and northern France. The Celts celebrated their New Year on the 1st November. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest as well as the beginning of winter. Celts believed that the on the evening before new year the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. Because of this on the 31st October they celebrated a festival known as Samhain (pronounced sow-en) when they believed ghosts of the dead returned to earth as they could not travel to their final resting place until they were prepared with wealth, gifts, food and drink for themselves or to pay the God that ruled the next world.

A common tradition amongst the Celts to help the spirits move on to the next world involved them spending the day preparing food to “treat” the ghosts well so that it would not “trick” (or haunt) those who had neglected to prepare any gifts for their onward journey. Another of their customs was to wear ghostly disguises. As the Celts thought that ghosts walked and mixed with the living on this day, by dressing as a ghost they hoped that the spirits would not plague them.

By the end of the 10th century, the influence of Christianity had spread across the Celtic lands. In the 7th century the reigning pope had designated the 1st November as All Saints Day – a time to honour saints and martyrs. This day was then known as All Hallows (hallow meaning to be or make sacred). It is widely thought now that the Pope was trying to replace the Celtic Festival with a church sanctioned festival however the festival of Samhain continued to be celebrated and eventually the day before All Saints Day then became known as All Hallows Eve and eventually Halloween.

Other traditions which are still continued include the pumpkin lanterns with cut out faces known as a “Jack-o-Lantern”. Originally thought to be from Irish folklore, the story tells of a man called Jack who was infamous as a trickster and drunk. He tricked the Devil into climbing a tree and carved an image of the cross on the trunk trapping the devil in the tree. Jack then made a deal with the devil that if he did not tempt him again then he would promise to help him down from the tree. According to the tale, when Jack died he was denied entrance to heaven because of his evil ways, but because he had tricked the devil was not admitted to hell either! As his punishment, the devil gave him a single candle to light his way through the eternal darkness. The candle was placed in a hollowed out turnip to keep it glowing longer. In the 1840’s when many immigrants from Ireland fleeing the potato famine arrived in the America they kept up this tradition but finding pumpkins more plentiful and cheaper than turnips, used them instead for their “Jack-o-lanterns”.

Well enough about all the traditions and customs of Halloween! How about trying some of our spooky cocktail recipes to brighten up your Halloween party – never mind the pumpkin lanterns and scary stories, use some of our cocktail “tricks” to “treat” yourself!!

Black Magic

Black MagicOn Halloween what could be more appropriate than a little Black Magic? This spooky recipe is made with vodka and Tia Maria with a dash of lemon juice for an exotic dark flavour with the hint of coffee.

Black Shadow

Black ShadowBlack Shadow – here’s a spellbinding little cocktail we have devised for Halloween within its shady appearance tastes totally fantastic. This recipe includes De Kuyper Blue Curaçao and De Kuyper Crème de Cassis topped up with an in-the-spirit favourite – champagne!


BullfrogIf you have heard the typical scary stories about witches – we’re often lead to believe they used unusual ingredients in their spells … eye of bat, tongue of newt as well as turning princes into frogs in fairy stories! Well, we’re sure a friendly witch must have concocted this sublime cocktail recipe for a Bullfrog - a gorgeous blend of De Kuyper Green Crème de Menthe, vodka with single cream and milk.

Devil's Brew

Devil's BrewDo you fancy something more unusual and a bit daring this Halloween? Why not try our Devils Brew cocktail? A tangy blend which includes tequila, De Kuyper Crème de Cassis with the juice of half a lime and topped up with ginger ale.


ZombieLast but not least for our spooky cocktail suggestions in keeping with our Halloween theme – why not try a Zombie? This is a well known cocktail recipe made with light, golden and dark rum with De Kuyper Apricot Brandy as well as pineapple juice, lime juice and gomme (or sugar) syrup. As you can tell from these ingredients – it‘s pretty strong so watch out!


in-the-spirit recommends drinking cocktails in moderation.



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