hemlock cocktail.

oh, you guys. i love you to death, but i swear some of you are going to drive me to drink!

how did you spend your weekend?

i spent mine watching the comments section of my last post like a hawk…you know, moderating. like a boss.

why, you ask? well, things got a little…R-rated.

is it that i’m naive and silly and didn’t really think my last post through well enough? or perhaps some of you just have very dirty minds? either way, a number of you seemed to think that those meringue bones looked a little…phallic.

hilarious? absolutely. though i did have to delete a number of comments, i hope you won’t be terribly offended. i was just trying to keep the comments section from reading like a Saw script or something.

so i love you all. even those of you who thought my meringue bones looked like meringue…boners. tee hee.

suffice it to say that i worked on cocktail recipes this weekend…

this hemlock cocktail is crazy delicious. herbal, slightly floral, sweet, and complex. this cocktail is named for the herbaceous poison that was formerly used for executions, most notably that of Socrates. pretty gruesome, huh?

i promise this cocktail won’t kill you, though.

hemlock also makes me think of storybook witches wearing black pointy hats, standing over an enormous bubbling cauldron, reciting incantations and cackling. spooky!

hemlock was also used in ancient Greece and Persia as a sedative and a cure for arthritis…it seems they stopped using it for medicinal purposes because they couldn’t determine the proper dosage to prescribe. apparently, the difference between a therapeutic amount of hemlock and a toxic amount is teeny tiny, as ancient doctors found out due to the massive amounts of people dying from hemlock poisoning. oops.

hemlock is pretty spooky stuff, guys.

which makes my hemlock cocktail a perfect libation for halloween! in order to maximize the creepy quotient, i would definitely recommend making a big batch and serving it as a punch out of a cauldron. if you can get someone to dress up as a witch and serve your guests their hemlock cocktails while cackling ominously, even better!

hemlock cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes

this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd!


2 sprigs fresh mint, whole leaves removed (about 30-40 mint leaves)
6 sprigs fresh thyme
the peel of one fresh orange (just use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel, be careful not to press too hard, otherwise you'll get the white pith as well, which you definitely don't want!)
1/4 cup rosemary simple syrup (get the recipe here!)
4 ounces gin (i like Bombay Sapphire)
4 ounces melon liqueur (i like Midori)
juice of 1/2 orange
1.5 ounces orange liqueur (i like Grand Marnier)
3 dashes bitters (i love blood orange bitters)
champagne, chilled, for topping off each glass
green sanding sugar, for lining the rim of each glass (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice, for rimming each glass (optional)


place the mint leaves in between your hands and lightly roll them back and forth to bruise them ever so slightly. this will help the mint to release its' essential oils and flavor!

in a large pitcher, combine the mint leaves, whole sprigs of thyme, orange peel, rosemary simple syrup, gin, melon liqueur, orange juice, orange liqueur and bitters. stir to combine.

you can prepare the cocktail up to this point a few hours ahead of time, just cover and store in the fridge.

when ready to serve, give the cocktail a good stir to re-mix.

if rimming the glasses, pour the remaining orange juice onto a shallow plate.

pour the green sanding sugar onto a second shallow plate.

dip the rim of each glass into the orange juice first, then into the sanding sugar to coat the rim completely.

strain the chilled cocktail mix into a large bowl (or cauldron!) using a fine-mesh sieve.

fill each glass about halfway up the side with the cocktail mix, and fill the rest of the way with champagne.

serve and enjoy!

a food + words original

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21 Responses to “hemlock cocktail.”

  1. #
    Bev Weidner — October 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    I’m nervous.

    And I’m liking this.

    And I’m thirsty.

  2. #
    Kathryn — October 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Living dangerously, I like it!

    And I love your cute cups and jug, so pretty!

  3. #
    Diane {Created by Diane} — October 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    oh I’ve very thirsty, pass me a glass. It looks so pretty!

  4. #
    Jessica — October 25, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Eek! This is soooo…..green! I love it!

  5. #
    Alison @ ingredients, Inc. — October 25, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    very cool!

  6. #
    Lindsey — October 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm

    PERFECT for the pot luck Halloween party I am going to this weekend :)

  7. #
    Katie from Katie's Cucina — October 26, 2011 at 8:53 am

    This looks great! I wish I would have known about this beverage before my party last weekend… I was looking for a creepy cool signature cocktail to serve! Saving this for next year! :)

  8. #
    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — October 26, 2011 at 11:11 am

    I thought the same thing about the meringues but no one had said anything yet when I read your post—I wasn’t about to go there! :)
    This looks like one delicious cocktail!

  9. #
    Cookin' Canuck — October 26, 2011 at 11:14 am

    What a gorgeous color! This is the perfect cocktail for Halloween – the parents need a little treat too, right?

  10. #
    Elina (Healthy and Sane) — October 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Hehe, I totally thought that too when I first saw it. I guess a lot of us have dirty minds :)
    This cocktail sounds fantastic!! I really need to start making cocktails at home… so fancy and way cheaper than going out!

  11. #
    Wenderly — October 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I am in love with the spectacular color of this cocktail! What a show stopper!

  12. #
    Vanessa — October 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    this looks soooo good! gorgeous photos too. =)

  13. #
    adventureswithben — October 26, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    I love the glasses more than anything!

  14. #
    naomi — October 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    For the record I may have thought they looked like meringue boners, but I didn’t mention it, for fear that I might be judged as something other than pure-HA!

    All kidding side, they were awesome creepy, and I love this hemlock cocktail just as much!

  15. #
    Kiran @ KiranTarun.com — October 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    That looks strange yet delish!

  16. #
    sarahsjoys — January 29, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    If I don’t like gin, could vodka work? Or…? This looks like fun, thanks for posting!

  17. #
    bolster couch size color — October 14, 2014 at 10:19 pm

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  19. #
    Brock — October 27, 2015 at 1:28 am

    How many cocktails does this recipe make?


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