By the time you reach whiskey-drinking age, Halloween isn’t really about you. Sure, you can still dress up in creative costumes, go to blowout Halloween bashes, and decorate your yard until it looks Shelob’s lair, but ultimately, the people who get the most out of Halloween are somewhere between the ages of four and 12 and dressed as a Disney character you do not understand.
That’s OK. Like tube tops, all-nighters, and Jello shots, ringing strangers’ doorbells to ask for candy is one of those things you should let gracefully fade into history as time passes. But that doesn’t mean trick-or-treating offers you, the grown-up, nothing—quite the contrary. I actually have more fun handing out candy than I think I ever did going door to door. It’s warm and dry in my house, I can watch movies all night while waiting for the bell to ring, and I no longer have to fight with my mother about how the raincoat she’s making me wear obscures too much of my ballerina costume. Plus, I get to eat all the Almond Joy candies and nobody can tell me no.
Another perk of adult Halloween? Fixing yourself a nice adult treat to enjoy while you send your neighbors’ children into sugar-induced mania. Here’s what we’ll be drinking.
Last year, we learned that a spicy, higher-proof bourbon like Old Forester Single Barrel is your best choice for pairing with any and all chocolatey treats you know you’re going to sneak from the bowl. I also suspect any of Barrell’s wonderful releases would do the trick, perhaps lightened with a single ice cube. Bring on the Butterfingers!
Having some friends over? Make a batch of punch. It’s easier than playing bartender all evening, it’s festive, and you get bonus points if you skip the ice ring and freeze a latex glove full of water to make some spooky hand ice. The Atlantic City punch combines two parts smoky scotch, one part sparkling wine, 1/3 parts cinnamon syrup, and a few dashes of chocolate bitters to make a serious cocktail in no time flat.
Like a good couples costume, a great boilermaker is more than the sum of its parts. I love a nice roasty stout with a peated Scotch, but you can also get pretty good mileage out of a wheat beer with a wheat whiskey, a citrusy IPA paired with a spicy rye, or the classic American-lager-and-low-key-bourbon combo.
Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...