Black to Front: The Cocktail Trend Perfect for Halloween

The Thunderhead at Analogue in NYC.

Dark cocktails are gaining traction

Black is back but this time it’s in the form of cocktails—and just in time for Halloween. Bars across the country are pouring beverages that range from a sultry purple-grayish black to the deepest black you can imagine.

On the fall menu at Analogue in New York City is the Thunderhead, which takes its color from dark aged rum and Crème de Violette.

“We like to have something really out there,” says bartender E. Carter Wilsford. “We like how it looks. We wanted something that stood out because of an unusual design but also for its unusual color.”

The drink’s popular, especially with women, he says, but it’s being consumed both pre- and post-prandially.

“It’s an on-point drink with a flavor profile that most people can get behind,” Wilsford explains. “The flavor is rich—a tad sweet but not really sweet. It’s got some flavors of spice, vanilla, and a bright floral note.”

But the big bonus with this cocktail: It turns heads. “People want it because they’ve seen it,” Wilsford says.

Nightclub & Bar offers a round up of some other black cocktails:

Thunderhead cocktail recipe - Black and dark cocktails


By the team at Analogue, New York City

  • 0.75 oz. Creme de Violette
  • 1 oz. The Botanist gin
  • 0.75 oz. Atlantico rum
  • 0.5 oz. Cynar 70 Proof
  • 2 pieces raw ginger

Shake and double strain. Serve in Nick and Nora glass, then garnish with candied ginger.

Space Oddity cocktail recipe - Black and dark cocktails

Space Oddity

By Marlee Palmer, assistant bar manager, Obon, Tucson, Ariz.

  • 1 oz. Green Mark vodka
  • 1 oz. Laird’s apple brandy
  • 4 dashes Fresh bay leaf tincture
  • 0.75 oz Balsamic plum shrub
  • 0.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 barspoon Squid ink
  • 1 barspoon Edible pearl dust
  • Edible stars
  1. Batch the balsamic plum, squid ink, apple brandy, vodka and pearl dust.
  2. Shake with lemon juice and 4 dashes of bay leaf tincture.
  3. Double strain over a spherical ice ball into stemless glass with a dimple in the bottom, and garnish with small edible stars.

Blackberry Sage Tea Negroni cocktail recipe - Black and dark cocktails

Blackberry Sage Tea Negroni

By mixologist Mike Monreal, Bottiglia, Las Vegas

  • 1 oz. Bulldog gin
  • 1 oz. Blackberry sage tea infused Campari
  • 1 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
  • Garnish: orange peel, blackberry and sage

Place all ingredients into mixing glass, add ice and stir for 20 seconds. Strain over blackberry sage ice sphere into a double old-fashioned glass. Garnish with orange peel wrapped around ice, skewered blackberry and sage sprig.

The Ghost

By Jenn Knott, head bartender, Bar Allegro, Chicago

  • 1.5 oz. Scotch
  • 0.75 oz. Pama pomegranate liqueur
  • 0.5 oz. Orange syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1 activated charcoal tablet
  • Pomegranate seeds to garnish

Shake all ingredients and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with sprinkled pomegranate seeds.

Black Tie White Noise cocktail recipe - Black and dark cocktails

Black Tie White Noise

By Carlos Abeyta, mixologist, Beauty & Essex, New York City

  • 1 capsule activated charcoal powder
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon simple syrup
  • 0.5 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
  • 0.75 oz. Lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz. Gentleman Jack
  • 0.25 oz. Bruichladdich Port Charlotte, 10-year

Mix all ingredients n a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain in a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.

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