CTV Morning Live

October 31, 2017

Theme: Spooky Halloween Cocktails

Today on CTV Morning Live, CTVs Trisha Owens and Sommelier Matt Steeves showcased some spooky Halloween cocktails and horrifyingly delicious wines to enjoy with your Halloween festivities. Check out the CTV video here!

Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or offering neighbours an adult treat during their Trick or Treating adventures, these Halloween inspired cocktails and wine picks are sure to be enjoyed, in fact they might just be to die for…

With a few basic ingredients you can easily whip up some spooky Halloween cocktails.

Leading up to Halloween, and especially after the fact when we all have loads of little chocolate bars in our homes, people often ask me if it’s “ok” to enjoy chocolate with wine.   The answer is always, ‘Of course it is!  You can enjoy whatever you’d like with your wine, and chocolate with bold red wines is actually a pretty good pairing.  Big full bodied red wines such as Amarone, Napa Cabernet, or Okanagan red wine, are all super flavorful and have significant body so they can actually go quite well with premium dark chocolate such as  IXCACAO Belizean dark chocolate.  Although I typically pair big red wines with things that I cook, the reality is a piece of chocolate can complement them quite well, especially at the end of a fine meal, or perhaps when your kids return from their Trick or Treating with 300 chocolate bars, you might just be inclined to taste a few of those bars with that nice Amarone you’ve just popped to reward yourself after a big night.  With that in mind, here are a few of my top (spooky) Halloween wine picks (Spooky Cocktails follow below…):


Farina Amarone


Bold, layered, and full flavoured – Farina’s Amarone is a wine that everyone will love! Rich and delicious, it’s packed full of black cherry, plum, dried figs, nutmeg, BBQ smoke, and cedar. Full bodied with a velvety smooth texture, sweet dried fruits and refreshing savoury flavours persist on the long finish. It’s no wonder why Canadians love this Amarone so much! Enjoy with Risotto all’Amarone, beef medallions with figs and blue cheese, and save a splash for dessert and enjoy with dark chocolate – all incredible pairings with this wine! Score – 93. (Matt Steeves, quercusvino.ca, Oct. 6, 2016)

Available at LCBO $39.95



Besieged Sonoma County Red Blend


Besieged 2014 is a blend of Petit Syrah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, Barbera, and Mourvedre grapes all from the Sonoma County. Legendary winemaker, Joel Peterson, produced this exceptionally interesting and consumer friendly blend of seven grapes that’s guaranteed to be loved by anyone that dares open this haunted looking wine. The nose is complex with warm baking spices, dark plum and cherry, and sweet vanilla. Textured with fine tannins wrapping up the medley of smoky berries, plum, and spice. Very impressive Sonoma Country blend! A must for your Halloween festivities, but this versatile wine is great all year round! Tasted October 2016. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Available at LCBO – $24.95



Predator Cabernet Sauvignon


Ladybugs, such as the one on the label, are used as an eco-friendly tactic for controlling pests in the vineyard through natural predation – adult ladybugs can eat 50 aphids a day and up to 5,000 over the course of their lifespan. This Cabernet Sauvignon has certainly made the most of their protection with its ripe raspberry, cherry, and blueberry tones, plus campfire smoke, graphite and vanilla. Smooth and long with good balance, this will be a great choice for burgers or steak. (Vintages panel, Jan. 2017)

Available at LCBO – $21.95


Predator Old Vine Zinfandel


Predator Old Vine Zinfandel is a terrific example of the great wines being made by Predator Wines thanks in part to their Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing practices. Predator Wines proudly employs a full range of sustainable practices to produce their award wining wines, including using the mighty ladybug to keep vineyards safe from harmful aphids and mites.

2013 Predator is a deep ruby red with sweet and pronounced notes of blackberry, Bing cherries, black raspberry, fragrant clove, bacon, cedar and spice. Velvety smooth with smoky plum, raspberry, cherry, clove and spice on the long finish. Enjoy this stunning Zinfandel alongside smoked chicken wings with chipolte honey glaze, charcoal-grilled pork chops with homemade cherry BBQ sauce, so simply on its own – a great treat! An absolute must-try! Tasted October 2016. 91+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca


Tom ‘Gore’ Cabernet Sauvignon


Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon displays great varietal characteristics, balance, and complexity for the price! Fleshy dark fruit, plums, cherry, cedar, underbrush and vanilla. Refreshing acidity, with soft tannins, and a long finish make this wine killer with gourmet burgers, beef tenderloin, or aged cheddar. Enjoy 2016-2020. Tasted July 2016. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Available at LCBO – $19.95



Now, for a sweet kiss of (deliciousness) death, try a premium Canadian Icewine with those Halloween candies, such as Kismet Estate Winery’s 2014 Riesling Icewine from Oliver (in the heart of the Okanagan Valley), BC – Canada’s Wine Capital.   This wine won top honours, the coveted Platinum Award, at the 2015 British Columbia Wine Awards , recognizing it as a top 1% of British Columbia wines.   The nose shows sweet apricot, caramelized apple, and luscious beeswax.  The palate is so deliciously creamy and refreshing with sweet and spicy orchard fruit on the long finish.  The Kismet Riesling Icewine would be delicious when enjoyed with any dessert, or spicy take-out dishes too, and for Halloween, feel free to throw any candy at it and be amazed with the pairing opportunities. Tasted October 2017. 93 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Available winery direct:  Kismet Estate Winery’s 2014 Riesling Icewine



Now, into our spooky cocktails!


I’ve selected three spirits to showcase this year’s Halloween Cocktails. Starting off with a delicious Burbon barrel aged Anejo Tequila, that rivals premium Whiskey/Whiskys.  I love fine Anejo Tequila when served neat, or with some ice, and absolutely LOVE it in a Tequila Sour.  This Bourbon barrel aged Tequila has the best of both worlds, the creamy and smooth characteristics of a fine Anejo Tequila (fyi, that’s not the kind you may have ‘enjoyed’ with salt and lime at a bar when you were 19 years old), and add in the extra vanilla and creaminess imparted from the time spent in Bourbon barrels.  A fine sipping Tequila but for today we’re whipping up a delicious Tequila Sour which will be dynamite with milk chocolate.


Aged like Whiskey, but with the benefits of an ultra smooth Anejo Tequila.

Hornitos Black Barrel Anejo Tequila – Available at LCBO – $40.20


Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila Sour:

Tequila Sour, one of the hottest cocktails around these days.  From this naturally terrific cocktail, you can doctor up your drink to make it as horrific as you want.  By starting with the basic ingredients for a fresh and creamy Tequila Sour you’ll be sure your guests will love it, no matter how terrifying your Halloween cocktail looks.




Next up, who doesn’t love Gin & Tonic?  Seriously, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t.  This is an impressive craft Gin that I came across recently and am super impressed with it.



Death’s Door Gin. This Wisconsin-based craft distillery is producing some of the finest Gin available.  They’ve achieved Certified Organic status from growing their hard Red Winter Wheat on Washington Island, which is also where they grow the super aromatic Juniper that is the hallmark of this fine Gin. On the nose, botanical Juniper berry and sweet evergreen notes, followed by delicate exotic spice.  The palate is incredibly smooth which persists on the long anise and Juniper finish.  Very impressive, this is a Gin you’ll enjoy served straight up on ice, and is stellar as the main component of a traditional G&T.  Death’s Door is named after the passage of water between Washington Island and Wisconsin mainland.  It may sound spooky but it couldn’t be further from that and once you smell the pure Juniper, Corriander, and Fennel, and taste how smooth that is. Death’s Door may just be the gateway to Gin heaven. Tasted October 2017. Highly recommended! 93+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

Available at LCBO – $43.20


Death’s Door Gin & Terror

Lychee and Blueberry Eyeball garnish, the perfect way to make a great Cocktail terrifying!

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2 oz Death’s Door Gin

4 oz Tonic

Splash of Beet juice for ‘blood’ colouring



Add the Death’s Door Gin to a highball glass and fill with fresh ice.

Top with Tonic water.

Drop in a splash of Beet juice for ‘blood’ look

Garnish with Lychee and Blueberry eyeball(s)



Vokda – the essential Cocktail spirit.  Today we’re going with Crystal Head for obvious reasons, in addition to it being so smooth and ideally suited for Vodka martini cocktails.


Available at LCBO – $54.95 (until Nov 5)

The Vampire Kiss Martini. So simple and so lethal…Will this be your first or last kiss this Halloween…



3 oz of Premium Canadian Vodka, my choice – Crystal Head Vodka.

Strawberry Sunday syrup for decorating the glass.

Red grandulated sugar for rimming the glass.

Plastic vampire teeth as a garnish.



Rim a martini glass with the strawberry syrup. Drizzle some on the inside of the glass so it drips to give the allure of blood. Shake vodka with ice and strain into prepared martini glass. Garnish with plastic vampire teeth on the side of the glass.




Morgue-A-Rita (by Sam Henderson)



  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 3/4 cup tequila
  • 3 ounces triple sec
  • 4 cherries
  • 4 teaspoons maraschino cherry syrup
Yield: 4 cocktails1: Mix together 1/4 cup light corn syrup with green food dye. Tip: Start with just a little coloring and add until you get the desired color then set aside.

2: Place glasses in the freezer to frost them. When frozen, dip each glass into the green syrup and invert to allow the syrup to drip slightly. Return glasses to the freezer to set.
3: Insert stirrers through maraschino cherries for each drink and set aside.
4: Juice the limes and strain if desired to remove pulp (Image 1).
5: Combine tequila, triple sec and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until very cold (Image 2).
6: Pour one teaspoon of the maraschino cherry syrup into the bottom of each glass. Add a cherry and stirrer to each glass.
7: Carefully pour the margarita mixture into each glass till about 3/4 full. Tip: Pour very slowly to avoid disturbing the syrup on the bottom.8: Top off each drink with 1/4 cup club soda and serve immediately.


More great Halloween Cocktails can be found here: