Ars Obscurorum

I was excited about making this cocktail. For Halloween I typically make drinks 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, not just at Halloween. It's an ingredient that is supposed to help your digestive system because of it's absorption qualities. Whether or not that's true, it just looks friggin cool in a drink. That said, you want to be sure your drink doesn't sit around for too long, as the charcoal will start to separate and make it look a little sketchy. But I am definitely not one to let a drink sit around. HA!

*Also a note of caution: for those of you on medication of any kind, charcoal can interfere with the effectiveness of certain medications, especially when you have it within several hours of having taken any meds. So be careful with this stuff. You don't want to end up pregnant because you had some charcoal right after taking your birth control pills, or having difficulty because your blood pressure meds were effected by charcoal.

You can order the activated charcoal online from a supplement supplier or Amazon, or you can find it in most grocery stores in the health & wellness section near the other digestion aids. I bought a bottle of 50 for about $6 at the very expensive grocery store in my neighborhood, so I know you can find it cheaper elsewhere.

With the dark appearance of this drink, I wanted to take the opposite route with the flavor profile. I wanted the base spirit to provide a depth of flavor, but to keep the other ingredients feeling bright and tart. I used the Highland Park Dark Origins, which is one of my favorite Scotches. The smoky notes in the whisky really held up to the tang of the lime and other ingredients, without overpowering them.

In keeping with a Halloween mindset, the darkness of the drink made me think of all things magic, and a bit of Harry Potter. To that end, I decided to use the Latin term, Ars Obscurorum, which means Dark Arts. I really like this drink because it's unexpected. Give it a try at home and let me know what you think!

Ars Obscurorum

  • 1 1/2 oz Highland Park Dark Origins
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 oz Orgeat
  • 1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 capsule Activated Charcoal

Instructions: Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain into a cocktail coupe. Enjoy!