Halloween has become an important time for the on-trade. Aside from Christmas, New Year and Bank Holiday weekends, this spooky festival has become the next biggest sales period in the UK. With growing commercialisation and Americanisation of the event amongst children over the last couple of decades, it’s possibly unsurprising that a whole new generation are now starting to celebrate it in pubs and clubs.
In fact, research has shown that while a fifth of all adults celebrate Halloween, the proportion of people aged between 18-24 jumps a third! Almost one in four of this age range head out to the pub for Halloween. Remarkably too, consumer spending on Halloween hit £320 million in 2017, and is expected to rise to £350 million this year.
Traditionally beer, cider, lager, wines and spirits are consistently the biggest sellers in Halloween week and sales continue to grow year-on-year. However, more autumnal cocktails, spiced rums and mulled ciders and wines are starting to flourish amongst the millennials and young adults that are driving growth in the UK. For these drinkers, seasonal offerings are a-plenty. There’s the ever popular Captain Morgan’s Spiced or Dark Rum and pumpkin spice liqueurs are available from both Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream.
In recent years, suppliers have been theming their offerings at this time. Jägermeister once launched print-out online origami masks in the shape of a skull, bat, and, in a nod to its logo, a stag. They also went all out with the #Jagerzombie outbreak campaign a couple of years ago.
Halloween is also an opportunity for venues to get creative and have some fun. From spooky decorations to a special cocktail list or hosting a monsters’ ball, there is plenty outlets can do to boost sales.
With many younger consumers sharing their on-trade life on social media, and using it to find new venues – maybe it’s time to get “grammable.” If you’re curating a Halloween themed menu, think about how you can use colours and garnishes to create a “Spooktacular” cocktail. A picture of stunning serve travels fast on Instagram!
In addition to entertaining the millennials, Halloween presents a number of different opportunities amongst families, outside of the late-night drinking scene. Operators could provide child-centric day time events such as a gruesome food and drink menu for the children or face painting or pumpkin carving. For more mature consumers, outlets could look to a menu of seasonal foods paired with some great wines.
Halloween does not need fulfil the cliché as an event for children or young adults; it can be used as an opportunity to add variety to the whole social experience. To help you on your way, here’s a few ghoulish cocktails to entertain your ghastly crowd this Halloween!
Jekyll & Gin
- 75ml.London Dry Gin
- 12.5ml. Lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Grenadine
- 1 handful ice
- tonic water
Mix gin, lemon juice and grenadine in a cocktail shaker; pour into a large glass filled with ice.
Top with tonic water. Garnish with an optional glow stick.
Black Magic Margaritas
- Black sanding sugar
- 2 cups. ice
- 100 ml. Silver tequila
- 50 ml. Triple sec
- 12.5 ml. Lime juice
- Red food colouring
- Blue food colouring
- Green food colouring
- Lime slices, for garnish
Rim two glasses with a lime slice and dip in the black sanding sugar. Divide tequila, triple sec, and lime juice between two glasses and stir to combine. Add food colouring until desired black colour is achieved. Add ice and garnish with a slice of lime and serve.
Apple Cider Slushies
- 300ml Cider
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 mini cinnamon doughnuts
Pour cider, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a loaf pan, whisking to combine. Freeze for 1 hour.
Remove the cider mixture from the freezer and use a fork to scrape the slushy mixture, so it doesn't turn into a giant ice cube. Once fully scraped and stirred, return it to the freezer for 1 hour more.
Remove the cider mixture from the freezer once again, using a fork to scrape and stir it into a consistency like shaved ice. If it's not frozen enough for your taste, pop it back in the freezer for another 45 minutes. Otherwise, spoon into 2 glasses and garnish each rim with a mini doughnut.
- 25ml. Captain Morgan’s Golden Rum
- 25ml. Captain Morgan’s Dark Rum
- 25ml. Apricot liquor
- 50ml. Orange juice
- 1 dash Bitters
- 1 handful ice
- 25ml. Bacardi 151 Rum
- Orange slice and cherry, for garnish
Combine light rum, dark rum, apricot liquor, orange juice, and bitters using a cocktail shaker.
Pour into a large glass filled with ice. Top with the shot of Bacardi 151, then garnish with the orange slice and cherry.