It's that time of year again when we get to throw costume parties, eat copious amounts of store-bought snack size candy, and dress inappropriately — all in the name of Halloween. Halloween happy hours can be as serious or sweet as you like them. A few years back, as a guest on NBC's TODAY show, I had the chance to sip and shake with the authentic George Lucas-endorsed Yoda, Chewbacca and C-3PO, which for sci-fi nerds is about as serious as Halloween can get. Each year NBC's TODAY pulls out all the stops for the Halloween show, so it was no wonder the drinks followed suit.
For months leading into the holiday the development of the Halloween episode is kept TOP SECRET. Even as part of the program I was not privy to the theme until the day of. I was thrilled to be in the green room with herds of storm troopers and gangs of Ewoks. Being the original costumes from the Star Wars trilogy, each had a professional handler (a.k.a. a costume guard) so as Chewbacca and I shook up some drinks and toasted cocktails with Hoda Kotbe (dressed as Yoda) and a gold plated Kathie Lee (C3P0), the handlers were anxiously eyeing the wardrobe to be sure they didn't get splashed or such. We mixed up Blood Orange Martinis, a smoking cauldron of ghoulish punch and decadent pumpkin pie milkshakes.
That year I made them kid-friendly but the recipe below is suitably spiked for any adult parties needing Halloween cocktails this season.
Like many TODAY show fans I can only speculate on what this year's theme will be, but knowing the amazing producers I'm sure it will be nothing short of spectacular. What do you think they should go as this Halloween?
(If you'd like to see more of my wild time, here's the complete Halloween Happy Hour including Chewbacca and yours truly mixing up ghoulishly good drinks!)
Spiked Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
Serves 6 to 8
1/2 gallon Edy's Slow Churned Limited Edition Pumpkin Ice Cream, softened (Or you can use vanilla ice cream with 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste.) 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 2 to 2 1/2 cups whole milk (depending how thick you prefer your shake) 1 to 1 1/2 cups Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum Whipped cream and cinnamon for garnish
Straws for serving
Place the ice cream, vanilla, and milk into a blender. Puree until desired thickness.
For the kids: Skip the spiced rum and serve in mini pumpkins, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cinnamon.
Maureen C. Petrosky writes what she knows, food, booze and parties. Author of The Wine Club, she appears regularly on The TODAY show to share her vices (and advice) with the world. For more info check out www.maureenpetrosky.com or follow her on Twitter @maureenpetrosky.