7 Halloween Cocktails Dripping with the Dark History of L.A.

These party-perfect cocktails each have a morbid theme tied to a famous Los Angeles locale

Sure, you could dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. But why not battle him back to hell with these fabulous cocktails? Some even come with a ghost story or a tale of death centered in the dark and spooky history of  Los Angeles…

Black Dahlia cocktail (Credit: Biltmore Los Angeles)

The Black Dahlia

The last time Elizabeth Short was seen alive was at the Biltmore Hotel. Honor her at the Gallery Bar with citrus vodka, Chambord raspberry liqueur and Kahlua coffee liqueur. There are American Mishima wagyu sliders too, wrapped in black sesame brioche buns. 

The Biltmore starred as the Sedgewick Hotel in 1984’s Ghostbusters and there have been reports of entities in rooms, a man in a stove pipe hat in the Tiffany Room, and more.

Sorcerer’s Sangria (credit: Magic Castle)

Sorcerer’s Sangria

The Magic Castle in Hollywood is an exclusive clubhouse, but aside from the piano-playing ghost of Invisible Irma—and her caged canary, Katy—there have been reports at the English Hat & Hare bar about Loren, a “Ghost Bartender” who still turns up to work. 

Sip the sangria and explore; dry red wine, brandy, triple sec, and fresh orange and pomegranate juices. 

La Seductora

El Carmen’s La Seductra (Brooke Olsen)

Opened in 1929 by Encarnación Gomez, El Carmen became a hangout for everyone from directors and actors to artist Diego Riviera and later, Fleetwood Mac formed here. “Mama” still oversees her restaurant, and the ghost of stepdaughter Martha, who worked the till and handed out candy, sometimes rewards staff with scary sweet treats.

La Seductora will woo you with Pueblo Viejo Reposado, agave nectar, watermelon juice, lime juice and muddled cucumber and mint, with a Tajin rim.

Zombie (photo:Tonga Hut)

Tangle with a Zombie

Back in the 1950s, tiki bars were all the rage with their exotica music and kitschy décor of fountains, rattan furniture, grass-skirted women, and grim-faced statues.

The Tonga Hut in NoHo is the oldest surviving tiki bar in L.A. and a stool is reserved for Dottie, a regular six days a week for 49 years… and after she died. She’s no zombie, but their 1934 recipe of three rums, lime, anise and spice is a killer.

Lock Horns with Diablo 

Diablo cocktail (Photo: The Wolves)

The Wolves takes you back to a 1920s Parisian Salon, but the first restaurant here was the Peacock Inn in 1926. Today, Charlotte Corday, the 18th-century knife assassin of French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat and shown imprisoned in a portrait here, is said to keep the bar safe at night. 

Originally, though, this was a lodging house, and in 1899, former city tax collector WS Redding, led astray by drink after a family tragedy, was found dead in his room. Fight temptation with their concoction of mezcal, crème de cassis, ginger, lime, bitters and soda.


Calavera De La Muerte – (Credit Beverly Wilshire, a Four Seasons Hotel)

Cavalera De La Muerte

There are reports of a ghostly woman in white on the eighth floor of the Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel. Could it be Barbara Hutton, who died here in 1979? Becoming one of the richest women in the world at 21, she was happy despite crooked lawyers and dishonest husbands. But she became a penthouse recluse when her only child died in a plane crash.

Revive your spirits with the Calavera De La Muerte; Dragones Blanco tequila, Bruao Mezcal, Grand Marnier, lime, grapefruit, tangerine ginger and pepper agave syrup. 

Call It A Mezcal (Photo: Maxim Shapovalov)

Mezcal It A Day

Summon your last energy to sip the Madre Mezcal, Ancho Reyes Verde, fresh cucumber and lemon at the old school, red-drenched Formosa Café in WeHo. 

A former gangster hangout featuring a lounge fashioned from an old Pacific Electric Railway car, it still hosts former chef and co-owner Lem Quon. Banging pots and pans, footsteps—even a nudge in the back—come from the ghost of the cardigan-clad old gentlemen. He often appears at his favorite booth, #8 too, but doesn’t hang around. Busy in life, and busy in death.

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