Personally, as far as I’m concerned, summer is not over. We have at least another month of amazing weather and I will be a the beach tomorrow, getting my tan on,  not preparing for the next holiday on our seasonal list.

But beer is a finicky creature. One the shelves one moment, it’s gone the next whether due to the vagaries of the LCBO or the buying public. It behooves you to grab the good stuff while you can.

So here’s a list of the best Halloween beers provided by BarTowel, along with an addendum provided by myself; sure to enliven your celebration of all things spooky. (Most of these items are not officially released yet and you won’t be able to search for them on the LCBO website until they are. They should be out soon. Don’t forget to use drinkvine for all of your booze-locating needs!)

St. Ambroise Pumpkin Ale (4×341 mL, $9.95)

Southern Tier Pumking Ale (650 mL, $8.95)

Nasty Habit IPA (650 mL, $6.10)

Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale (650 mL, $4.95)

Brooklyn Post Pumpkin Ale (330 mL, $2.50)

Brasserie Dieu du ciel’s Rigor Mortis ABT (341 mL, $3.50)

Along with these I recommend some new (and old favorites) brews to bring to the witching hour:

Brasserie Dieu du ciel’s Péché Mortel (12540, 341 mL, $3.55) A sinful stout indeed.

Brasserie Dieu du ciel’s Corne du Diable (132761, 341 mL, $3.25) It’s not Halloween if the devil’s not invited.

Unibroue’s Maudite (698208, 750 mL, $5.40) Sure it’s damned but it’s a fantastic value!

Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde (927350, 750 mL, $4.90) Particularly appropriate when you consider this holiday was traditionally celebrated as the start of the dark half of the year.

If you want a keg for your Halloween party, you could always pick up a 30L keg of Delerium Tremens from the Dupont and Bathurst Beer Store for $272.85 (plus $65 for the pump and cleaning). Not only was it banned from sales on the the shelves of the LCBO because it made light of the serious effects of alcoholism. Seems like the perfect mad choice to me.

If you don’t like beer, there are still some ways for you to express your dark side.

Poole’s Rock has both two Australian wines released under the Cockfighter’s Ghost moniker, a Shiraz 2006 (595439, 750 mL, $23.95) and a Cabarnet Sauvignon 2006 (672550, 750 mL, $21.95). I’ve not tried the latter but the Shiraz is quite nice and smooth with loads of juice. It’s well-balanced and works well with anything you might try to grill before it gets too cold outside.

While you can’t really order Dan Akroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka here in Ontario thanks to the LCBO’s banning of the product due to a skull “being associated with death” according to LCBO spokesperson, Chris Layton, that shouldn’t stop you from picking up a bottle if you happen upon it in your inter-provincial travels. I don’t think you can get Blavod (black-coloured vodka) here anymore so if you want to incorporate spirits into your Halloween party, think flavors or colors.

Most Halloween cocktails you’ll find online are just terrible. The only one that’s any fun at all is the Brain Hemorrhage, a shot of Peach Schnapps with a 1tsp of Bailey’s Irish Cream and a few drops of Grenadine syrup but leave that to the college kids and go with something simple and a bit more elegant.

When I saw the Wild Hibiscus Royale I knew I had to try it for two reasons. First, ever since I was a little kid, sorrel juice was a favorite. Made from the hibiscus flower and generally available at West Indian grocery stores, it has a tart flavor that’s similar to cranberry but a bit mellower. Second, it seems like every cocktail I’ve been making lately has either cava or prosecco in it and a bottle or two can usually be found in my fridge.

Still, I couldn’t help thinking that this drink needed a harder edge and, of course, I looked at my go-to spirit, gin. Plymouth’s a nice choice (540682, 750 mL, $28) but work with whatever you like best. Don’t spend more than $15 for the sparkling wine.

GIN ‘N’ SORREL ROYALE

1 oz gin

1/2 oz hibiscus syrup

1/4 oz lemon juice

top up with prosecco or cava

Make the hibiscus syrup using this recipe.

Place a dried hibiscus flower in the bottom of a champagne flute. Pour the syrup over top.

Add the gin and the lemon juice. Fill with either prosecco or cava.

This cocktail might not bludgeon guests over the head with the scary but an obvious choice is not always the best one and I think it has a certain creepiness to it.

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