Get Devilishly Drunk With the Defender

Photo: Claire Lower

3-Ingredient Happy Hour3-Ingredient Happy HourThe weekly drink column featuring super simple yet delicious libations.

If you search the phrase “Halloween cocktails,” you will find many recipes for green or purple cocktails with names like “witch’s brew” or “witch’s heart,” or “melted witch.” Most of these cocktails are overly sweet, and few of them enticing.

The only purple-colored alcohol I heavily fuck with is Crème Yvette. When used judiciously, it adds just the right amount of raspberry and blackberry, as well as a nice swirl of deep violet. These dark, seductive qualities make it perfect for a slightly spooky, but not overly themed adult beverage.

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One of my favorite Crème Yvette cocktails is the Defender, named after some guy’s yacht. (I find ships of all kinds to be inherently spooky, especially yachts owned by rich dudes. Sinister things happen on rich dudes’ yachts.) The Defender is basically a 50/50 martini, where the gin is Old Tom and the vermouth is Italian—I used Carpano Antica Formula, which is honestly good enough to sip over ice. Those two, plus a splash of Crème Yvette, creates a aperitif-style cocktail with fruity and herbal flavors, perfect for enjoying with or without fun-size candy bars. I used a little more Crème Yvette than the traditional recipe, and I urge you to follow my lead. To make the Defender, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Old Tom gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces Carpano Antica Formula (or another sweet Italian vermouth)
  • 1/4 ounce Crème Yvette

Add everything to a stirring glass filled with ice and stir until the glass becomes very cold. Strain into a coupe glass and sip while handing out candy, watching horror movies, or inhaling a pile of smol candy bars.

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