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Halloween Cocktail Recipe: Ars Obscurorum

This Halloween cocktail recipe was adapted from spirits veteran Emily Ross-Johnson. Johnson is the founder of Portland Whiskey Society and owner of fern+shaker, a cocktail company specializing in educating about spirits. Her focus is on beautiful, seasonal beverages!

About Ars Obscurorum

I typically make Halloween cocktails with very fall-inspired flavors, but not necessarily something creepy. This year, I wanted to do something that looked a little bit spooky instead. I’ve seen a lot of people using activated charcoal* in drinks lately. It’s an ingredient that is supposed to help your digestive system because of its absorption qualities. Whether or not that’s true, it just looks friggin’ cool in this Halloween cocktail. You can buy it at a supplement supplier, Amazon, or even at your local grocery store in the health section.

Halloween cocktail

With the dark appearance of this Halloween cocktail, I wanted to take the opposite route with the flavor profile. I wanted the base spirit to provide a depth of flavor while keeping the other ingredients bright and tart. To that end, I used Highland Park Dark Origins,  which is one of my favorite scotches. Its smoky notes really hold up to the tang of the lime and other ingredients without overpowering them.

The darkness of the drink made me think of all things magic and a bit of Harry Potter, so I decided to title the Halloween cocktail “Ars Obscurorum,” which means “dark arts” in Latin. I really like this drink because it’s unexpected. Give it a try at home and let me know what you think!

*Charcoal can interfere with the effects of certain medications, especially when taken within several hours of each other.

Halloween Cocktail Recipe: Ars Obscurorum

Serves: 1


  • 1 1/2 ounces Highland Park Dark Origins
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Orgeat
  • 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 1 capsule activated charcoal


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously, then double strain into a cocktail coupe.
  3. Enjoy!

Looking for more cocktail recipes? Check out the passion fruit sparkler and the gin shandy.


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