Growing up, we had a close family friend who would turn out the creepiest witches' brew, and it's something I looked forward to every year. She served hers in a big black cauldron surrounded by mouse traps, severed heads, and creepy crawly bugs. Kids would squirm while she asked if they wanted witches eyes, teeth, veins, and earthworms in their drink.
This version includes a spiced syrup, which brings a fall ginger and clove flavor to the drink. It also acts as a perfect compliment to dark rum.
Adapted from Gourmet
6 whole cloves
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 orange, peel half and reserve remaining peel for garnish
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1 (25 1/4-oz) bottle sparkling cider, chilled
1 (32 oz) bottle cranberry cocktail, chilled
1 (1 liter) bottle club soda or seltzer, chilled (flavored orange, if available)
1 cup dark rum (optional)
Hand-shaped ice blocks (see instructions below)
Gummy worms (earthworms)
Licorice rope (veins)
Candy Corn (witches' teeth)
Peeled grapes, frozen (eyeballs)
Combine the cloves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, orange peel, water, and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Then simmer, covered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to steep for an hour. Strain through a fine sieve and chill syrup.
Combine syrup with remaining liquid ingredients (except rum) in a punch bowl. Add ice and serve with orange peel garnish and candy as desired.
Fill powder-free, latex-free gloves with water and tie closed at the wrist. Freeze and peel off gloves when ready to use.
(Images: Stephanie Barlow)