With its spooky dark red hue and delicious sweet flavor, the Red Death cocktail is a perfectly spooky Halloween cocktail recipe! Inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s masquerade, it’s an easy, crowd pleasing Halloween drink to die for. Step by step instructions for a layered martini glass cocktail or an easy recipe served over ice.
It’s October which means that things are about to get really spooky around here! I have loved October and all things Halloween my entire life. Halloween is the go-to party season around here.
We’ve got loads of ideas gathered for you to check out like setting up a Halloween Party Buffet or Amazing Outdoor Porch Decoration Ideas, while we here are gushing over choosing our Halloween costumes, watching spooky ghost movies, and getting ready for our annual Halloween fete.
The base of the cocktail is a simple combination of Rum with boozy and sinister flavors of raspberry, pomegranate, and cola. The drink not only tastes delicious, but the presentation makes this signature Red Death Martini the must-serve drink at any Halloween party.
Bartender’s Tools I Use
I worked my way through college as a bartender and thoroughly enjoy the creativity of making cocktails. For this cocktail, the essentials of a well stocked bar are easy to gather.
- Jigger with 1oz and 1.5 oz measurements
- A spoon
- Cocktail shaker (optional for this recipe)
- Martini Glasses
- Rocks Glasses
- Cocktail swords or these Reusable Skull Cocktail Picks
Red Death Cocktail Ingredients and Substitutions
- A White Rum such as Bacardi Superior Rum – A classic choice for a smooth, subtle flavor.
- Raspberry Liqueur – Chambord is one of the best known examples, but DeKuyper Razzmatazz is fine as it is more budget friendly. You can also use other fruit flavored liqueurs, as most will layer between the grenadine and rum nicely.
- Soda – Coca-Cola, Pepsi, or Diet of either brand work well.
- Maraschino Cherries – these are for garnish.
The Science Behind Layered Cocktails
You wondering why certain drinks layer and separate rather than blend together? Science, my friends!
The secret to getting the drink to layer nicely is using components with different specific gravities. This is just a fancy way of saying how heavy or dense an ingredient is.
The amount of sugar or alcohol in an ingredient determines its density or specific gravity. Lighter ingredients (low specific gravity) will float on top of heavier liquids (high specific gravity). For example, grenadine is very sugary, syrupy, and thick, so it’s almost always sinks to the bottom. Grenadine has a specific gravity of 1.18.
On the other hand, High-proof rum, whiskey, and other liquors are lighter than water and have a specific gravity around 0.95. For instance, 151-proof rum often floats on top of drinks like the flaming Dr. Pepper so it can be lit on fire.
You can easily find specific gravities of many liquors and mixers in this specific gravity chart.
How To Make A Layered Cocktail
Now that you understand how certain liquors and mixers will layer, there are some specific tips and tricks to making a drink layer perfectly. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a bartender to make perfectly layered cocktails!
- Chill all ingredients in the refrigerator prior to layering. Density and specific gravity will change depending on temperature of the ingredients. Also, the addition of water can change how cocktails layer. If you happen to forget, you can shake the rum and raspberry liqueur separately with ice for this recipe. The grenadine will be fine.
2. Measure and add grenadine in the bottom of the glass.
3. Using the back of a spoon placed against the glass rim, slowly pour the raspberry liqueur in the glass. For ingredients with similar specific gravidities, this will slow the liquid down so it doesn’t mix with the previous layer. Repeat with the rest of the layered ingredients.
4. Serve immediately with two maraschino cherries pinched together on a cocktail pick.
Check Out Our Other Fun Cocktail Recipes:
- Strawberry White Sangria Recipe
- Crown Apple Cocktail
- Winter Vodka Punch
- How to Set Up A Coffee Bar Party
- Blackberry Sangria Recipe
Red Death Cocktail Variation
Or…if you are fresh out of martini glasses or just looking for an easy signature party cocktail that guests can make themselves, this recipe also works very well with ice in a rocks glass. It will still be somewhat layered, although it may be a bit muddier.
Pre-chill the ingredients as well just to slow the melting of the ice. Add ice to a rocks glass and pour the ingredients in order – grenadine, Chambord, Rum, then cola – over the ice. Garnish with two maraschino cherries on a pick and enjoy!
The ice itself will slow the pour action, so no need to use a spoon in this variation.
Halloween Cocktail Making Tips
- To add an even spookier ambiance, consider adding a small piece of dry ice to each cocktail. However, it is extremely important that you wait until the dry ice has completely dissolved before drinking. You DO NOT want to ingest dry ice. Also, use gloves or tongs to handle the dry ice as it will burn you.
- If you do not have a jigger, 1 ounce is equal to 2 tablespoons.
- If you happen to forget to chill your ingredients, you can shake the rum and raspberry liqueur separately with ice for this recipe. The grenadine will be fine. You would still have to chill the cola or pour through ice before pouring into the glass.
What's For Dinner?
Signup for recipe updates and get a free cookbook of Easy Weeknight Supper Solutions!
More Boozy Drink Recipes
PS. If you make this recipe, leave a COMMENT AND A STAR RATING in the comments section at the bottom and be sure to take a photo and tag it #cravingcreative on Instagram! I appreciate you for taking the time to read about me and my family recipes.
Red Death Halloween Cocktail
- Martini Glasses
- 5 oz Coca-Cola Pepsi and Diet cola varieties also work.
- 1.5 tablespoon Grenadine
- 1.5 oz Bacardi Superior Rum
- 2 Maraschino Cherries
- 1 Cocktail Picks
- 1 oz Raspberry Liqueur Chambord is the best, but DeKuyper Razzmatazz is a cheaper option.
- Chill all ingredients in the refrigerator prior to layering.
- Measure and add grenadine in the bottom of the glass.
- Measure out the raspberry liqueur with a jigger. Using the back of a spoon placed against the glass rim, slowly pour the raspberry liqueur over the spoon into the glass. Repeat with the rum and then the Cola,
- Garnish with two maraschino cherries on a cocktail pick.
More Fun Cocktails!