GRINNING SKULL Day of the Dead Cocktail

Diá de los Muertos, or The Day of The Dead, is a Mexican holiday that dates back hundreds of years to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl (Queen of Mictlan, the Underworld in Aztec mythology). It is a holiday celebrated throughout the world that remembers friends and family members who have died with prayer, favorite foods of the dearly departed and gatherings in homes, churches and cemeteries. The festivities start on October 31st and continue through November 2nd.

Alters (ofrendas) are erected, foods are shared and colorful sugar skulls and skeletons join the party from the beyond. Generally November 1st is dedicated to children and infants who have died (Día de los Inocentes, "Day of the Innocents" or Día de los Angelitos, "Day of the Little Angels") and November 2 is reserved for the adults (Día de los Muertos or Día de los Difuntos, "Day of the Dead").

The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds (the flowers of the dead), muertos (the bread of the dead), sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, decorations, fruit and nuts, incense, fireworks, and the sharing of gifts, favorite foods and drinks of those who have passed on with both the living and the dead.
To celebrate my loved ones from beyond I have created this lively and delicious craft cocktail:

Day of the Dead Cocktail
1-1/2 Oz. Tequila
3 Oz. Pineapple Juice
1-3/4 Oz. Orange Juice
1 Oz. Lime Juice
1 Oz. Triple Sec
Dash of Chipotle Sauce
Splash of Grenadine

Garnish: Orange Slices, Black and White Sprinkles, Day of the Dead Gummy Skulls
Dip your glass rim into Pineapple juice, then into the sprinkles. Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a fun skull glass with ice then add the tequila, triple sec, juices and chipotle sauce and stir well. Pour in the grenadine which will sink to the bottom. Add your gummy skulls and orange slices to a cocktail pick and set this across the rim. Enjoy as you celebrate your dear departed.

Hay más tiempo que vida.
There is more time than life.

Updated Nov. 2017


One of the scariest movies I saw as a little kid was "The Mummy" starring Boris Karloff. One of the most fun movie series I've seen as an adult is "The Mummy -The Mummy Returns" starring Brendan Fraser. I like mummies! Don't ask me why, I suppose I have mummy issues.

When I happened on some adorable gummy candies in the shape of a mummy I knew I had to do a cocktail using that as the garnish. I have my cute black and white hand painted martini glasses that I made a few years ago and decided a black martini was required.

That meant sacrificing my very last bottle of Blavod* Vodka. But then I had hoarded two cases for years** just for Halloween cocktails so what was I silently kvetching about? I pulled the last bottle of my beloved black spirit from the box and cracked it open. I swear a cold wind passed through my body and a sigh whispered past my ear as that bottle opened . . . or maybe the gummy mummies were coming back to life. But I digress.

The recipe also had to be fruit based because the gummy candies are fruity and I always repeat the flavors of my cocktails in their garnish. I didn't want to desaturate the black color so I pulled out my Chambord and Blue Curacao. These not only added a deep purple depth to the black but they brought citrus and black raspberry flavors to play! A bit later I grabbed my Homemade Blueberry Simple Syrup to add a bit more fruit and some extra body and sweetness to the cocktail then squeezed a bit of lime in for a dash more acidity.

A few tears over lost vodka, a few cocktails to get the balance right, a few more shakes of my trusty Boston and
The Mummy Returns:


2 Oz. Blavod Black Vodka
(Yes, you can color plain vodka if needs be)
1/2 Oz. Blue Curacao
1/2 Oz. Chambord
1 Tbsp. Blueberry Syrup
1 Tsp. Fresh Lime Juice

GARNISH: Gummy Mummy

Chill glass in the freezer. Add your Blavod Vodka, Blue Curacao, Chambord, the blueberry simple syrup and the lime juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Pour, rub the rim with a bit of lime zest, garnish the drink with the gummy mummy and enjoy by the light of a Halloween moon.


Have no fear of creatures that go bump in the night, your mummy will protect you.

*A Little 411 on Blavod Vodka:
Blavod is a premium vodka distilled in the UK which uses the herb Black Catechu to achieve their black colored vodka. The company's media states this herb is used because it doesn't add flavor and it fosters a smoother taste (less burn) from the herb's tannins. The herb itself, particularly the deep black variety, has a slightly sweet acerbic taste and, though I've tried, I have never been able to detect the taste in the straight vodka, let alone in a cocktail. The color is truly a deep black and it is a superior vodka, suitable for sipping unadorned, especially when ice cold from the freezer!

**There was a disruption in the importation of Blavod to the United States back in 2015, disrupting my black cocktails for a few years. These days I lay in a good supply of favorite spirits just in case there's some kind of import SNAFU or some fool in Beancounterville decides to pull a product I love just because it doesn't make them profits!

Updated 10-2021


THE HALLOWEEN VISITATION, A Cocktale Story of Horror and Vodka

A Cocktale of Horror and Vodka
By The Martini Diva

Once upon a late night dreary,
as I sat most weak and weary,
to sip some Crystal Head alone
and rest my soul and ease my bones,
there came a knocking at my door.

Knock, knock, knocking at that door,
They kept on knocking evermore!
I dragged my feet across the floor,
(while under breath I softly swore.)

Upon my stoop were birds galore;
at least a gang of ten or more!
Raven black and swathed in gore,
they whispered from their spectral corps, 
"We cannot find a liquor store,
would you share your vodka pour?"

Shocked was I, and very leery,
Black birds begging booze? 'Twas eerie!
So to these specters this I said, 
"Be gone you crows, you spirits dread!
You cannot have my Crystal Head!
So do not beg, do not implore,
I share this Vodka NEVERMORE!"

They took no heed, they would not stop!
So at their heads an ax I chopped.
Feathers flew and squawks arose, 
it froze me right straight to my toes!
When at last their cries grew still,
I threw their corpses on the grill.
Some lemon juice, some herbs, fine ground;
my dinner soon began to brown.
When they were done, most nicely roasted,
With Crystal Head to them I toasted.
©2014 by TheMartiniDiva.Com


Thanks to Crystal Head Vodka and  BevMo for the inspiration.



I've already done several Candy Corn Martinis, including my original, my Sparkling Candy Corn Martini and my Candy Corn Creeptini as well as my Candy Corn Vodka. But when I happened on some fun, over sized candy corn gummy candies, and remembered that October 30th is National Candy Corn Day, I had to add this recipe to my Halloween cocktail line up, cocktail being the operative word since this old family recipe won't fit in a martini glass!

In fact, it doesn't go in a glass at all, it goes in a jar! Serving cocktails in jars is a trending thing lately. I think it has to do with the popularity of modern day moonshine and, since this is made with homemade candy corn moonshine inspired by my Granny's recipe, it's a perfect fit. After all, it is Corn Moonshine!

First, you have to distill your
Candy Corn Moonshine!

(Since I don't have Granny's still anymore and can't brew up some real corn likker, I've had to make some modern day adjustments to the old family recipe.):
1 Cup Candy Corn Gummy Candy
1 Bottle of Vodka
DIRECTIONS: Combine together in a 2 quart canning jar and let this sit a spell while the candy dissolves. A good 24 hours ought to git 'er done. Shake the bottle up good whenever you pass by. Once your candy has mostly dissolved, strain the whole passel of 'shine through a clean cloth into a nice clean mason jar. No need to age, Granny never did.


1/2 C. Candy Corn Moonshine (Vodka)
1/4 C. Pineapple Juice
1/4 C. Orange Juice
Juice of Half A Lemon
1 Tablespoon Grenadine
Orange Sugar Crystals
Candy Corn Gummies
Half Orange Slices

Dip your glass rim into some of that there candy corn moonshine then into the orange sugar crystals then chill in the ice box. (The good 'un in the house, not the old 'un on the porch) Add the lemon juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and candy corn moonshine to a large jar filled with ice and shake 'er up 'til chilled. Pour into a nice cold jelly jar filled with some fun ice cubes, float the grenadine (which will sink to the bottom) and make it right purty with the candy corn gummies and slices of orange.

Sit on yer porch and enjoy but put yer shotgun in the cupboard. Ya'll don't want to mistake the li'l Trick or Treaters for the revenuers while yer in yer cups!

FYI, here's just a few other names for moonshine:
White Lightening, Kickapoo Juice, Blue John, Cat Daddy, Hooch, Happy Sally, Mountain Dew, Red Eye, Rot Gut, Tennessee White, Wild Cat

Another bit of moonshine trivia:
NASCAR grew out of moonshining! Yep, those good ole boys who learned their driving skills on the backroads of moonshine country took the souped up cars they designed to outrun Johnny Law to the racetracks after Prohibition and so began the start of NASCAR! Read more about the beginnings of NASCAR and Junior Johnson here.

Here in moonshine country we don't hide crazy. We parade it on the porch and give it a cocktail!
~ Anonymous

National Candy Corn Day is October 30th

Updated 10-2020

DIRTY Bloody Mary

Every body's heard of a Dirty Martini but how many of you have tried a Dirty Bloody Mary? It's one of my favorite ways to enjoy a Bloody and I really like enjoying Bloody Marys. I love how the olive brine cuts the sweetness you can sometimes experience with bottled tomato juices. Plus it gives me a great excuse to load up on the olive garnishes.
This is also a great way to drink some "hair of the dog" (Ah heck, it's Halloween. Let's call it hair of the werewolf!) to combat the toxic waste of overindulgence! Which is why this glass with the skull and crossbones is a perfect vessel. It also looks really nice with my bottle of Crystal Head Vodka which is a great quality vodka for a great drink! And it's a pretty cool look for a Halloween cocktail.
Below is my personal recipe for a
2 Oz. Crystal Head Vodka
6 Oz. Tomato Juice
3 Drops Chipotle Hot Sauce
4 Drops Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 Tsp. Prepared Horseradish Sauce
Juice of 1/4 Lime
1 Tbsp. Olive Juice
1 Tsp. Celery Powder
1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
Cracked Black Pepper
Sea Salt & Smoked Paprika for Rim
Assorted Garnishes, like celery sticks, olives, pickled green beans

Mix together the sea salt and smoked paprika in a flat plate. Dip your glass rim in some tomato juice then into the sea salt and paprika mixture. Fill glass with ice balls then tap the drops of chipotle hot sauce on the ice. Add the Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, celery powder, garlic powder, olive juice, sea salt to your taste and black pepper then pour in the vodka and tomato juice. Stir until well mixed, squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with a good bunch of edible snacks.

Try out all my other

Keep Calm and Drink A
Dirty Bloody Mary!

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Updated 9-2016



Halloween isn't complete without a worm or two to serve to your ghoulish guests. Your Halloween creep factor rises by serving some slimy but sweet little wriggling critters who met their demise by drowning in rum.
First you have to make your Gummy Rum and you'll need a full day for the worms to decompose so plan ahead! To make your dead worm juice simply take 30 orange and red sour gummy worms and pour 8 ounces of white rum over them, shaking often to speed up the decaying process of the worms. Strain out whatever leftover worm carcasses are left, bottle and chill.
1-1/2 Oz. Gummy Rum
1/2 Oz. Pineapple Juice
Black and Orange Cake Sprinkles
Gummy Worm Garnish.
Dip the rim of a shooter into pineapple juice then into the sprinkles. Pour in the chilled Gummy Rum and top off with the pineapple juice. Lay a gummy worm over the rim.
Shoot or sip, watch out for the worm!
Pleasure only starts once the worm has got into the fruit, to become delightful happiness must be tainted with poison.
~ Georges Bataille
UPDATED 10-2018



I can't let one more Halloween go by without a nod to my youth and one of the most iconic rock bands of the Flower Power generation, The Grateful Dead.
Yes, my fellow Deadheads, below is your passport back to the past, The Perfect Trip - cocktail style - Truckin' in just in time for All Hallows Eve!
1-1/2 Oz. Light Rum
Splash Purple Grape Juice
2 Fresh Lime Quarters
4 Oz. Club Soda
Tablespoon Agave Syrup
Fresh Purple Grapes, split in half
12 Leaves Fresh Mint
Lime Twist
Mint Sprig
Small Ice Block to fit glass

Chill your glass in the freezer. Pop the mint in between your palm to release the oils. Muddle the mint, lime quarters and grapes in the bottom of your glass to release grape and lime juice. Add your ice and pour the agave syrup over the ice, add your rum, soda and stir to mix. Top off with the grape juice and garnish with mint sprig, lime twist and a few full grapes. I slid my grapes onto the straw and then popped out the itty bitty grape meat cylinders after inserting each grape.
If you peek closely, you might spy Jerry's skeleton frozen in time in the ice.
(Yes, I froze a nicely cleaned skeleton in the ice block and as the ice slowly melts UP pops Jerry!)

Play Grateful Deads' "Friend of the Devil" - Skeletons from the Closet while you sip!




Nuts are a wonderful addition to cocktails, whether you use a nut infused alcohol, like Frangelico or Nocino*, a nut syrup like Orgeat, nut bitters or just add some to your glass rim for extra flavor and texture. Nuts can add depth of flavor and subtle nuances to a cocktail that surprise and delight your palate.

Since it's National Nut Day I thought it was a good time to share:

Almond Butter Crunch Martini
Candied Pecan Martini
Candied Pecan Mudslide
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cocktail
Chocolate Pecan Pie Martini
German Chocolate Cake Martini
Joy of Almond Martini
Nutella Martini
Peach Praline Martini
Pecan Pie Martini
Pecan Cookie Martini
And let's not forget the Nut Infusions:
Candied Pecan Liqueur
Toasted Maple Walnut Bourbon 
Now go out there and go a little 40 proof nuts!

*Nocino is an Italian green (unripe) walnut infused liqueur.

Updated 10-2018



Making Brandied Fruit is easy and a great homemade holiday gift project. Brandied fruits are wonderful over ice cream, cakes, pancakes and bread puddings and they make lovely additions to cocktails as well. And don't forget about adding to the stuffing of a holiday bird or some pork chops!
You want to use ripe, unmarred fruit with no bruises or damage and a good brandy (or cognac). I use a VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) or VO (Very Old) brandy which has been aged at least 4 years. You can also use dried fruits and you can combine fruits for a "signature" blend.
Feel free to add flavors with spices like vanilla beans, anise stars, cardamom seeds or the zest of lemons and oranges as well. Even chilies and peppercorns can bring unexpected depth of flavor! Add these to the jar just before sealing up.
5 Cups of Fruit
5 Cups Sugar
4+ Cups GOOD 80 Proof Brandy
(You'll need enough to completely cover the fruit. Any leftover can be saved for cocktails!)
Large Mixing Bowl
4 Sterilized Pint Glass Jars with Sealable Lids
Mix the fruit and sugar in a large bowl and allow mixture to macerate for a minimum of an hour, tossing every 15 minutes.
Divide the fruit mixture between the jars and fill remainder of jar with your brandy, leaving about half an inch head space.
Cover and let infuse for a MINIMUM of a month, shaking occasionally. Keep in mind the longer your fruit is allowed to soak in that lovely brandy the better it will be!
Label and give as a gift or just keep for yourself!
Some say you can add more fruit and brandy to the jar as you use it up, however I prefer making fresh batches to keep the aging controlled. Your brandied goodness can last up to nine months, more if refrigerated, just make sure the fruit is completely submerged in the alcohol at all times.

The fruit infused brandy is great in a Brandy Old Fashioned.

Enjoy. YES, you can eat it right out of the jar with a spoon!





While searching for the building blocks of life in outer space astronomers recently found a giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way that is loaded with ethyl formate, an amino acid that gives raspberries their flavor and rum it's distinctive smell! So, for all intents and purposes THERE'S A PAYLOAD OF RASPBERRY RUM IN OUTER SPACE!
The first thing this made me think of was a bunch of drunken, spacesuit adorned bar hoppers cavorting around the cosmos.

The next thing got me to thinking of was a stellar rum and raspberry cocktail. Unfortunately this newly discovered cloud of happy hour is about 58 quadrillion miles away so we'll have to create a little bit of intergalactic inebriation right here on the third rock from the sun, aka Earth.  I have (with no permission whatsoever from N.A.S.A) done all the formulation for you so there's no need to shell out $250,000 to Virgin Galactic to hitch a ride to high flying Hoochville.

And my cocktail doesn't come with all the other space debris like carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and ammonia which you'd have to contend with in the vacuum of space.


1 Oz. Light Rum
3/4 Oz. Chambord
1/4 Oz. Orange Curacao
3/4 Oz. Lime Juice
1 Drop Orange Bitters
2 Tsp. Honey
Fresh Raspberries
Lime Twist

Chill your glass in the freezer. Warm the honey for about 10 seconds in the microwave.  Add 1 cup of ice to a blender, pour in the rum, the Chambord, the Orange Curacao, the lime juice, the orange bitters a handful of fresh raspberries and the warmed honey.  Blend until your cocktail is the consistency of a slushy.  Pour into your chilled glass then garnish with a few more fresh raspberries and a twist of lime.
Enjoy and call ET for a ride home.
Updated 7-2018


The 1492 Cocktail for Columbus Day

Happy Columbus Day!

I just tried this cocktail out yesterday and really liked it so, since today is Columbus Day, it's now The 1492.

Seriously, it has nothing to do with Columbus except sailors liked rum, but it's good and worth a holiday!

THE 1492

1-1/2 Oz. Gold Rum
3/4 Oz. Apricot Brandy
1 Oz. Lime Juice
Dash of Nutmeg
Dried Aprict

Shake with ice, garnish with a dried apricot and enjoy.

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Tell us, what forces you
to drink vodka every day?
- Nothing. I'm a volunteer.

Apologies right up front, but you're not getting a neat list of vodka cocktails today.
I have hundreds of cocktail recipes featuring vodka and flavored vodkas (so many in fact that I've lost count of how many, but there's one here for just about everyone from A to Z, Soup to Nuts), the lust would scroll for days!

INSTEAD, I suggest you use my search bar (upper right hand ↗️) for vodka plus whatever you want to use it with:
and every vodka recipe I've ever posted with those ingredients will come up.

That being said, I have to at least post
a few of my personal favorite

So sue me, I still love an Apple Martini!

Brunch doesn't happen without one.

Still the best.

Done right it's superb.

Like Spring in a glass.

Perks happy hour up.

I just love saying wallbanger ...

Still a delicious cocktail after half a century.

(Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice Only)


Good way to test a bartender.

The Dude is not wrong.

Check out the
(Other than just for cocktails!)

You can also use vodka to make a variety of FLAVORED VODKAS,
like Bacon Vodka

The word "vodka" comes from the Russian word "Zhizennia voda" which means "water of life".
  • One of the reasons vodka became popular in Russia was of its ability to remain liquid even in the coldest regions of northern Siberia.
  • Drinking moderate amounts of vodka can help keep bad cholesterol levels down, keep arteries healthy and can aid in the prevention of stroke, heart attack, and Alzheimer's
  • Vodka doesn't promote gluten formation, so it helps a pie crust stay flakier and more tender. (Vodka Pie Crust Recipe.)

I believe that if life gives you lemons,
you should make lemonade...
And try to find somebody
whose life has given them vodka,
and have a party
~ Ron White

Updated 10-2021



There's nothing quite like a little sunshine in a glass and I captured some for you with this lemony twist on a classic Champagne Cocktail by adding my Homemade Lemoncello (Limoncello is a trademarked brand, btw) and lemon flavored bitters!

Go ahead and Drink A Little Smile


1 Oz Lemoncello, chilled
3 Oz. Brut Champagne, chilled
Sugar Cube
2 Drops of Lemon Bitters
Lemon Twist

Chill your glass in the freezer.
Drop the sugar cube into your chilled glass.
Drip the lemon bitters on the sugar cube.
Pour in the Lemoncello. 
Top off with your Champagne.
Garnish with the lemon twist. 

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves ~ James Matthew Barrie




Because melons and cucumbers both belong to the Cucurbitaceae, aka the gourd, family they make a nice pairing in a martini.  They're also abundant during the fall, sometimes from our own gardens, and this means it's the best time to enjoy them.

Here I've paired Pinnacle's Cucumber Vodka with the fresh fruits, some honey and a pinch of spicy fennel salt from Pollen Ranch for a really nicely developed craft cocktail that has a surprising depth of flavor.

MELON CUCUMBER MARTINI COCKTAIL RECIPE with Ingredients and Instructions



1-1/2 Oz. Cucumber Vodka
1 Oz. Pureed Honeydew Melon
1 Oz. Pureed Cantaloupe Melon
1 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Pinch of Pollen Ranch Spicy Fennel Salt
1 Tsp. Honey Syrup*

Garnish: Honeydew and Cantaloupe Cubes,
Slice of Cucumber

Chill your glass in the freezer.  Add a cup of ice to your cocktail shaker then pour in the vodka, honeydew and cantaloupe purees, the lemon juice, fennel salt and the honey and shake vigorously until well chilled.  Pour into your chilled cocktail glass, add a few cubes of the melons and the cucumber slice to a cocktail pick and serve.


* Here's a little tip on using honey in a cocktail.  If you add equal parts honey and water together - "honey syrup" -  you'll get a thinner syrup and it will mix in your cocktail more effectively.


And if you're wondering where to get the Pollen Ranch Spicy Fennel Salt:

Updated 8-2021




When I was a kid I loved grapes, grape juice and grape soda.  I still love grapes but the juices and sodas have become a bit too sweet for my adult palate and I wanted to explore a way to drink the fruit of the vine where the grape shines and not the sugars from processing.

The easiest way to balance sugar is with a citrus and another wait to cut the sweetness is by adding a bit of effervescence from a dry sparkling wine or a Brut Champagne so I did a bit of both.  The bit of grassiness in the mint lends a bit more balance as well as added flavor and crispness.  By the time I had combined all these I finally had a cocktail version of the grape beverages I loved as a kid!

The frozen grapes are not only a great garnish, they help to keep your cocktail chilled while you enjoy it.

Add these great Health Benefits of Grapes to the mix and you're good to go!


1-1/2 Oz. Citrus Vodka
1 Oz. Concord Grape Juice
1 Oz. White Grape Juice
3 Mint Leaves
1 Oz. Dry Sparkling White Wine or Brut Champagne
Frozen Grapes to chill and for garnish
Sprig of Mint for garnish

Chill some grapes ahead of time, it only takes an hour or so for them to freeze.  Chill your glass in the freezer.  Muddle the mint leaves and the citrus vodka in the bottom of your cocktail shaker.  Add one cup of ice to shaker then pour in both the grape juices and shake until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass to about 2/3 full then top off with the sparkling wine or Champagne.  Add a few frozen grapes to the cocktail to keep chilled, place one grape on the rim and slide in the fresh mint sprig and enjoy!

Now go get a copy of What's Eating Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp and Leonardo Di Caprio are in it!) and enjoy it with this cocktail!

"The juice of the grape is the liquid quintessence of concentrated sunbeams.”
― Thomas Love Peacock




Since Fall is here this is a pretty good time to share all my Apple Cocktails with you, right? And happily apples are abundant in the market place and orchards as well, if you're lucky enough to live close to an orchard.

All because you're just the apple of my eye!
October is National Apple Month.
National Apple Day is October 21st.
Updated 10-2018
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