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  • Kelly Sanford

Cocktails and Sweets

It’s that time of year again and what better way to celebrate the delicious decadence of spooky season than by combining two of our favorite things: candy and cocktails! This Halloween, I set out to do just this with fellow cocktail lover and owner of Confection candy store, Ivy Horn. Trust me, when you get the chance to work with a candy guru conjuring the perfect cocktails to compliment the trickiest of treats, you step up to the cauldron with mad delight. No matter your taste preference or mixology skill level, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest. From tried and true to new and trendy, from classics to crafts, we’ve got you covered.

It wouldn’t be Halloween without fun-sized candy bars like Snickers, Three Musketeers, Milky Ways, and Kit Kats. Let’s face it, they were always primo trick-or-treating loot. We decided the timelessness of an Old Fashioned is best suited for these American classics. With enough moxie to hold its own with flavors like chocolate, peanut, and caramel, it is sure to delight the tastebuds when paired with these tiny candy bars. Choose a bourbon with strong caramel notes like Makers Mark 46 and for extra credit, try switching out the traditional angostura bitters with more interesting selections like chocolate or walnut. Don’t forget the Luxardo cherry!

Fruity treats like Albanese 12 Flavor Gummi Bears are best enjoyed with bubbles. Sure, an Aperol Spritz would work wonderfully here but there’s a new spritz in town. Meet the Italicus Spritz. The softly sweet and gently bitter Italicus Rosolio di Bergamatto perfectly enhances each gummi with its floral and citrus notes and comes in the most gorgeous bottle with a lid that gives us some serious Beetlejuice vibes. As a bonus, the olive garnish helps cleanse the palette between flavors.

I have to admit, I’ve been having a bit of a love affair with the Negroni cocktail recently. It is oh so bitter, but oh so smooth, and might be the perfect pairing for red licorice. While it’s not for everyone as most folks either love Campari or hate it, those who love it will appreciate how the bold bitterness helps to balance out the sweetness of this classic candy. If you’re feeling extra sassy, try an Empress Negroni with black licorice. Empress gin is made with Butterfly Pea Blossom, giving it a beautiful purple hue that screams Halloween when paired with black. Also, the Luxardo Bitter Bianco has earthy, herbal notes that mirror the anise and fennel flavors of the licorice.

While searching for a complementary counterpart to an Almond Joy, we came across the Saturn cocktail. Rum might be an obvious choice here, but the botanicals in gin actually go surprisingly well with coconut. After swooning over this stunning tiki drink (the garnish looks like Saturn), we were compelled to try it with a Mars bar, if only for whimsical posterity. Turns out, this is a match made in the heavens. The sweet almond in the Orgeat and the Caribbean spices in the Falernum enhance the caramel, nougat, and chocolate, while the acidity of the passion fruit and citrus really makes all the flavors pop. It is delicious with an Almond Joy, but Saturn and Mars together? Cosmic!

I’ve always been a sucker for Reese’s peanut butter cups. The salty, chocolaty, peanut buttery deliciousness just begs to be washed down with ice-cold milk. For an adult version of this classic childhood combination, try a Brandy Milk Punch instead. Sweet and creamy, with hints of vanilla and nutmeg, and two ounces of Brandy that packs quite the “punch”, this one is good with almost everything.

We wanted to include an all-in-one candy-cocktail combination and decided buttered rum infused with candy corn was the best way to encapsulate the feeling of the season. Total Harry Potter vibes were involved in conjuring this creamy and dreamy treat! It makes a great shooter or sipper and might be the ultimate Halloween libation.


1 oz candy corn infused butter-washed spiced rum*

½ oz Licor 43

1 oz heavy cream

Pour all ingredients into a mixing tin filled with ice, shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Double strain into a cordial glass and garnish with candy corn.

*For the rum: Melt 1 stick of butter and cook until golden and nutty. Let cool and pour into a mason jar containing 12oz of spiced rum. Swirl and let sit for one hour, then freeze overnight. Pour the liquid away from the fat, then strain through a coffee filter. Add 1 cup of candy corn to buttered rum, swirl, and keep refrigerated. The candy corn will dissolve and leave the rum with a beautiful orange color.

Photography by Amy Sexson


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