In celebration of Day of the Dead from October 31st until November 2nd, we wanted to share with you some history, some things you should know and some ways you can celebrate with some amazing cocktails developed with some pretty top notch mixologists. Before we get to the Day of the Dead cocktails, you’re going to need to know the important lingo and the things you need to decorate to master all the details. Good thing we have you covered. Like, for one, as we keep calling it Day of the Dead, know that we are doing it for reading ease, the proper name is Dia de Los Muertos. I’ll leave it to your to translate that riddle!
The ofrenda, or alter, is the focal point of any Day of the Dead celebration. This is where pictures, personal possessions and even favorite food items of passed loved ones are displayed. As you create your ofrenda, be sure to incorporate bursts of bright colors to give it a ‘wow factor.’ Surround your ofrenda with marigolds or paper flowers and votive candles to dress it up.
As the traditional flower in honor of passed loved ones in Mexico, marigolds are everywhere during Day of the Dead celebrations, and your party should be no exception. Arrange the flowers around your ofrenda and place them on tables around the room to add pops of color throughout your party. Allow guests to make headbands out of the flowers to dress up their costumes and get them involved in the fun.
Calacas are another staple for any great Day of the Dead party. Make them part of the crowd by hanging them around the room. You can find all different types of calacas at your local party supply store along with other Day of the Dead themed party favors and decorations.
Face painting is a huge part of Day of the Dead symbolism. You can encourage everyone to arrive with face paint already applied, or set up a face painting station at the party to let guests have some fun and be creative as a group. Turn it into a contest for best face paint and have the crowd pick a winner.
Day of the Dead is a celebration, so keep the music for your party lively and upbeat. Create a themed playlist by searching “Day of the Dead” or “Dia de los Muertos” on your favorite streaming service. Be sure to pair that with some speakers that will fill the room. Set the right tone.
Day of the Dead Cocktails
These Day of the Dead signature cocktails are sure to satisfy any crowd and pitchers of of hard ciders and margaritas are perfect for a group. Be sure to offer some additional non-alcoholic options for those designated to drive. And finally, what we’ve all been waiting for – the Day of the Dead cocktails.
PRO TIP: Add dry ice to any of the below to bring your cocktail to life.
El Diablo’s Paloma
1.5 oz. el Jimador Tequila
0.5 oz. Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur
1 oz. Blackberry puree
2 oz. Grapefruit soda
2 Parts Milagro Reposado
1 Part Fresh Mandarin Juice
1/2 Part Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 Part Green Cardamom (Orange Blossom) Honey Syrup
1/2 Part Egg White
Modelo Ofrenda Picante
Recipe by Andrés Chopite-Parra, Austin
3-4 oz. Modelo Negra
3/4 oz. Mezcal
3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Agave Syrup (1:1 ratio agave nectar to water)
3 barspoons Worcestershire Sauce
3 dashes Habanero Bitters
4 slices Habanero Peppers
Tajín Clásico Seasoning
Red Chili Slices
Method: Rim a Collins glass with Tajín Clásico Seasoning. Add all ingredients to a shaker, excluding Modelo Negra, Tajín Clásico Seasoning rim, red chili slices and lime wheel. Shake and strain into the Colliins glass. Top with Modelo Negra.
Tito’s Lurid Lemonade
- 5 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
- 3 oz of lemonade
- ¼ tsp activated charcoal
Pour Tito’s Handmade Vodka in a glass over ice and add lemonade.
Stir in the activated charcoal.
Boozy Pomegranate Cider
- 2 cups pomegranate juice
- 1 cups apple cider
- 4 tsp mulling spice, in a mulling ball or tea bag
- 2 shots dark rum or whiskey
In a small saucepan, add all ingredients except booze. Turn the heat to medium and let the mixture come to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes or so, until it’s nice and fragrant. Remove mulling bag.
Divide between two warm mugs, and add a shot of rum to each mug. Serve immediately.
Recipes use Urban Accents’ Wine & Cider Mulling Spice
Created by: Jonathan Pogash
1 oz. clove syrup**
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. apple cider
1 lemon peel
1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
Chilled club soda
Combine all ingredients (except for club soda) with ice and stir until adequate amount of ice is dissolved. Strain into punch glass or hollowed-out pumpkin. Top with club soda.
Garnish: apple and pear slices and cinnamon sticks
**Can be made in large format for multiple people
**Clove syrup: dissolve equal parts demerara sugar and water over heat, along with 1 tbsp. cloves. Simmer for several minutes, then strain out cloves and chill.
If you’re in need of a Punch Bowl, look no further.
As you gather the marigolds, calacas, and face painting supplies, put together that playlist that’s sure to set the mood, we hope these Day of the Dead cocktails above bring the whole night together. Have fun celebrating and remember, unlike sugar, moderation is the name of the game.