Halloween is a time of carnival, superstition and the origins of Halloween or All Hallows Eve are disputed. It may date back to the Ancient Roman end-of-harvest feast for Pomona the tasty goddess of fruits and seeds. Others suggest that it came from the Ancient Roman Parentalia festival of the dead.
For Italians, however, Halloween is a relatively new craze. You can find sweets in some of the larger cities like Venice or Florence and some families take their children trick or treating whilst bars and clubs host Halloween nights.
Crime. Superstition. Chaos. Absinthe has been blamed for them all. “Assenzio” or “Absinthe” is a hallucinogenic anise-flavored spirit was created at the end of the eighteenth century and has a history of being both poisonous and medicinal. Italians have made “bevande speciali” or “specialty drinks” with absinthe a popular tradition during the Halloween season. Italy is now producing its own variations of the mind-altering liqueur and creating some fantastic concoctions. There is something enticing about this little magic potion with its ritualistic and unique way of being served that peaks everyone’s curiosity.
A classic absinthe cocktail and suitable for Halloween is the famous Death in the Afternoon, originally invented by Ernest Hemingway. The cocktail shares its name with Hemingway’s book Death in the Afternoon, and the recipe was first published in So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon, a 1935 cocktail book with contributions from famous authors (coincidentally 1935 was the year when La Clandestine Absinthe was born). Hemingway’s original instructions were:
“Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.”