Next up in our horror movie-inspired series of Halloween cocktails: The Spider Bite. It’s an Arachnophobia-themed libation that’s a fitting homage to the deadly arachnid nest in the film. In the spirit of the film, the drink is infested with an oozing overflow of gelatinous spider eggs, threatening to burst open and release a torrent of tiny hatchlings. But don’t let its sinister look fool you—this cocktail is actually silk sweet and full of rich coffee flavors (the spider eggs are simply tapioca pearls with flecks of vanilla bean!).
Click through for the recipe for The Spider Bite cocktail…
The Spider Bite
Whip up this skin-crawling concoction with notes of tongue-tickling vanilla and a whirl of darkly decadent Kahlua. Forget wine, this luscious libation really has legs!
• 1 part Kahlua coffee liqueur
• 1 part vanilla vodka (Absolut or Stolichnaya)
• Crushed ice
• Spider sac garnish (details below)
Pack the cocktail glass full of crushed ice. (This is the real trick to the drink—densely packed ice will allow the “spider sacs” to perch atop the glass for a striking effect). Pour the Kahlua and vodka over ice, using a spoon add the spider-egg garnish to the edge of the glass. Enjoy!
“Egg Sac” Garnish
Spoon these on the cocktail and your guests are guaranteed to do a double take just to be sure these aren’t pulsing egg-sacs brimming with spider babies. Unsettling as they look, the tapioca offers a neutral chewy texture and adds vanilla flavor to the drink as the pearls burrow under the melting ice.
• 1 cup large pearl tapioca in either white or black
• 1 to 2 tablespoons of vanilla bean paste (I used Nielsen-Massey)
Follow the directions on the package to cook tapioca. Once it’s prepared, toss in some of the vanilla bean paste to coat the pearls. Add more if needed.
The tapioca pearl spider sacs were so perfectly creepy (and easy to make!), I couldn’t resist creating two versions of the coffee-based cocktail. For a White Russian variation on this drink, add 1 part heavy cream to the recipe above and swap white-pearl tapioca for the black-pearl variety.
• To deepen the color of your Black Russian cocktail, add a couple of drops of black food coloring.
• The tapioca pearls are best if you make them within an hour of serving. If they get a little sticky, loosen them up with some more vanilla bean paste or a dash of warm water.
• Scatter prop spiders around your drink serving tray (I think it’s more subtle and delicately suspenseful to scatter the spiders about rather than perch them directly on the glass).
• Vanilla bean paste is something I always keep around. It’s amazing in coffee, ice cream, etc.
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