Season of the Witch

With Halloween around the corner, Cafe Drake is going into scary mode, and beginning to serve theme meals based around our darkest holiday. Things should never get sinister in the kitchen however, and the new crop of pumpkins and other squashes and root vegetables, combined with a seasonal taste for heartier fare, makes menu planning easy. Try the hauntingly good cocktail and soup recipes below to get in the mood, and don't forget to break out the eerie music mix and creepy decorations. Table designers will thrill to the possibilities Halloween affords, just remember to air on the side of good taste, accessorizing with friendly ghosts and witches - gruesome centerpieces such as dismembered hands or trays of eyeballs are best left to frat parties or horror film set dressers. DO NOT, in other words, throw a Texas Chainsaw Massacre BBQ dinner. Opt instead for an elegant vampire theme or haunted house grandeur.


We've been serving this soup for years, not just at Halloween but frequently as a first course for Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is adapted from an old cookbook written by, appropriately enough, Vincent Price. Canned pumpkin works quite well in this instance.

1 large onion, diced medium / 2 carrots, diced medium / 1 large leek, diced medium /2 cups pumpkin, canned /6 cups vegetable or chicken broth /1/2 teaspoon cumin powder / 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon / pinch of clove /pinch of nutmeg / salt, to taste /1 cup half and half

  1. Place all ingredients except the half-and-half into a stock pot over medium high heat.
  2. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.
  3. Simmer for 30 minutes and remove from heat.
  4. Stir in half-and-half and let sit for 5 minutes, covered. Gently reheat until just hot. Garnish with a swirl of pumpkin seed oil or toasted pumpkin seeds (or both).


Conjuring up equal parts Halloween creatures (in name) and tropical 60s locales (in historical reference), this potent witch's brew is sure to rattle your chains.

1 oz Apricot Brandy /1 oz light rum / 1 oz dark rum / 1 oz lemon juice /1 oz lime juice /dashes grenadine and orange juice / 1 oz 151 rum

In a cocktail shaker, mix light & dark rums and brandy. Add lemon and lime juice and dashes grenadine. Shake well and strain into a higball glass filled with ice. Fill glass with orange juice leaving room to float 1 oz of 151. Garnish with cherry, orange slice, pinapple wedge.


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