Irish Barmbrack Cocktail (For Halloween)

Every morning my five year old son, Liam, loves to update the Halloween count down calendar in our entry way before he heads out to school. Seeing that every morning definitely makes the month go by that much quicker. There are already only 18 days left until Halloween. What?! Well, I guess I better get ready and what better way to do that than to drink this Irish Barmbrack Cocktail in the meantime?


Traditionally, Barmbrack is a fruit filled bread served on Halloween night in Ireland. It is called “breac” (pronounced as brack, and meaning speckled) because it is speckled with dried fruit and candied peel. Often the bread is baked with either a ring, coin, or a piece of cloth inside. If one finds the ring, they are believed to be the next to get married. If they find the coin, it is suggested that they will be rich, and if they find the piece of cloth, they will be poor.


Though, come Halloween night with all that candy, you might not have any room left for a slice of Barmbrack, so this cocktail is a good substitution. The recipe calls for two ingredients that aren’t all that common, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, and toasted raisin syrup. I found the allspice dram at BevMo. It has a very seasonal taste to it and it’s sweet. Obviously, you probably won’t use up a whole bottle on this drink, but it also goes well with Wassail punch, mulled wine, and even eggnog. So, it definitely won’t go to waste during this holiday season. As for the toasted raisin syrup, I’ve attached the recipe to this blog. It is a fairly quick and simple syrup to make and once you strain the raisins out, you can save them in a container in the fridge to add to oatmeal or yogurt later on, so no waste. Yay!


The following recipe is originally from Irish bartender, Sean Muldoon, co-owner of The Dead Rabbit in NYC. This is an indulgent drink that’s perfect for that chilly Halloween night, but maybe you should have it after you take the kids out trick or treating, unless you’re the adventurous type. Oh, and don’t forget the sprinkle of nutmeg on top! Sláinte!


Serves one drink.



2 ounces (1/4 cup) single-malt Irish whiskey (60 ml)

1/2 teaspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram (rum-based allspice liqueur)

2/3 ounce Toasted-Raisin Syrup (19 g)

1/2 ounce heavy cream (14 g)

1 large egg yolk

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish


Simply load up your cocktail shaker with ice, add all of the ingredients apart from the nutmeg garnish, and shake well.

Strain the cocktail into your glass and use the nutmeg to garnish.



Serves : Makes about 9 ounces


1 cup raisins

1 1/4 cups superfine sugar

7 ounces hot water


In a medium saucepan, toast raisins over moderate heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and hot water and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then strain into a jar, cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Note: Recipes both found through Food & Wine.


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