It’s that time of year again when the days grow shorter, and a spooky spirit descends!
What better way to celebrate this season than by adding a ghostly touch to your beverages with dry ice in drinks for Halloween?
Food-grade dry ice is safe for drinks and cocktails, and we have all the dos and don’ts you need to know about using it.
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Dry Ice In Drinks for Halloween
We have all the info you need if you are throwing a Halloween Party or want to experiment with using dry ice in your spooky cocktails…
As well as lots of awesome recipes for Halloween cocktails using dry ice for you to make!
Before diving into the smoking cocktails world, let’s understand dry ice.
Disclaimer: We are providing these tips for how to use (and what not to do with) dry ice. Always read any instructions and advice from your dry ice supplier. As you read through, you may think it all sounds too scary to use dry ice in your Halloween drinks, but just follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, and you will be fine!
What is Dry Ice?
Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2) with a surface temperature of -109°F/-78.5°C.
Unlike regular ice, which melts into a liquid phase, dry ice sublimates, transitioning directly from a solid to a gas.
This creates a smoking effect that brings the spooky season to life in your glass!
At higher temperatures, the sublimation process happens faster, producing even more of the smoky effect we love so much during Halloween.
The smoky fog effects are so much fun, and the best part is that dry ice is safe when handled correctly.
IMPORTANT! Dry ice is not for consumption but for the visual and cooling effects. You can sip your cocktail while it is smoking, but wait for it to have sublimated completely for maximum safety.
The post is part of the Crafty October series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog, filled with free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Halloween! Check out Crafty October from 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 for tons of awesome Halloween ideas and inspiration!
Dry Ice Safety
You should never touch dry ice with your bare hands—it is extremely cold and can cause frostbite.
Always use tools and/or insulated gloves to handle dry ice. Wearing long sleeves will also help to protect your arms.
It is advised not to saw or hammer a block of dry ice to turn it into smaller parts,
The safest way to buy small pieces of dry ice for drinks is to buy the required size, for example, Dry Ice Pellets, which start from 2.5 kg packs up to 60 kg.
However, breaking a large block of dry ice into small chunks or smaller pieces can be achieved by simply dropping the plastic bag it was delivered in from waist height to a hard surface like a concrete floor.
Other safety issues to be mindful of:
- Be careful what surfaces you put dry ice on, as extreme temperatures can cause them to crack.
- Use dry ice in a well-ventilated area. A build-up of carbon dioxide gas can lead to harmful effects.
- Dispose of unused dry ice correctly we have a whole section of this further down the page).
- Do not consume solid dry ice. Allow it to sublimate in your drinks before consumption.
Where Can You Buy Dry Ice?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to buy dry ice at major grocery stores. You may find it near the front of the store, or you may have to call ahead to request it.
Your other option is to buy it online by searching for a dry ice distributor and your location.
When hosting large Halloween parties, you may want to buy several pounds of dry ice to use not only in cocktails but for atmospherics too. (Ensure the area is well-ventilated, as a build-up of CO2 can be harmful.)
Dry ice evaporates over time, even in the special coolers it is transported in.
Always order a little more than you need (2.5kg/5½ lbs is good for 20 party guests) and purchase it close to the time you’ll be using it.
Keep dry ice in the storage container it was supplied in and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Ensure there is plenty of ventilation around the container.
- Store the container in a cool area to slow down the sublimation.
- Do not store dry ice in an airtight, sealed container.
- Do not store dry ice in the fridge or freezer – these are airtight.
Using Dry Ice in Drinks
Now that we’ve covered dry ice safety and where to buy it, let’s get to the best part of any party— the cocktails and mocktails and take their presentation to the next level!
Dry ice is safe for drinks, but ensure that you buy food-grade dry ice.
- Food grade means it uses the same CO2 that is used in soda fountains.
- The ideal size for a single drink is about 1″/2.5cm for a nice smoking effect.
- Use a couple of large pieces about 4-5″/10-12cm for punch bowls.
- Do not swallow dry ice—it can burn GI tissue.
- Dry ice will settle at the bottom of a drink and doesn’t harm the drink in any way.
- The bubbling smoky effect will happen when you add the dry ice, so get ready with your camera!
- The effect will last for around 10 minutes but will be at its best in the first 3-5 minutes.
- Once the smoke has gone, the dry ice will have evaporated.
Dry Ice Swizzle Sticks are a great option for those who would love a smoky effect but are apprehensive about using dry ice directly.
Dry Ice Cocktail Recipes
Halloween is the perfect time of year for (safely) playing with dry ice cocktails and drinks, and I have several ideas that will be a hit at your next Halloween party!
When creating these festive cocktails, please remember the safety precautions we mentioned earlier.
Never handle dry ice with bare hands, and always wait until the solid carbon dioxide sublimates before drinking!
Halloween Love Potion
The first drink on our list is a Halloween Love Potion. (Makes 2 Halloween drinks)
This Halloween cocktail uses 3 oz each of Pomegranate Juice, Cranberry Juice, Cranberry Vodka (or plain vodka), Peach Schnapps, and a bit of dry ice for that smoky effect.
Shake the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice until combined and well chilled.
To serve, carefully add a small piece of dry ice to the bottom of a served in a lab bottle—called an Erlenmeyer Flask—for a smoking cocktail that will have your guests spellbound!
Next up is the Devil’s Kiss, a Halloween vodka cocktail with a blood-red color. (Makes 2)
In a cocktail shaker, shake 2 oz each of Raspberry Liqueur and Vodka with ice and a large handful of frozen raspberries.
Add a small cube of dry ice to martini glasses for that eerie, smoking effect, then fine-strain the cocktail over top. Top up with Champagne, Prosecco, or club soda.
Halloween night when it is stormy outside? Yes, please!
The Stormy Halloween is a twist on a classic cocktail (Dark & Stormy Cocktail), and this recipe makes 1 drink.
Place a small chunk of dry ice into the bottom of a highball glass, and add regular ice cubes on top.
Pour 2 oz Spiced Rum, 1 oz Lime Juice, and 4 oz Ginger Beer into the glass and stir to mix. (Add ½ oz simple syrup for sweetness if desired.)
Nutty Professor’s Poisoned Apple
Consider the Nutty Professor’s Poisoned Apple for those wanting to serve something truly special.
Brandy Snifters are the perfect glasses for this cocktail, but any kind will do – just place a small piece of dry ice in it to create that smokey, haunted atmosphere!
Shake 3 oz each of Apple Sourz (which gives this drink its vibrant green color) and Calvados (Apple Brandy) in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Pour into glasses with ice and top up with Lemon-Lime Soda. Then add a few drops of Grenadine Syrup for the “poison.”
Swamp Green Halloween Punch
Our next offering is a Halloween punch recipe for the whole family.
Pour in 42-oz/1.3L pineapple juice and 2 (2L) bottles of Ginger Ale into the bowl and sprinkle over 2 (13-oz) packages of Lemon-Lime Kool-Aid. Stir well to combine.
Add some lychee and blueberry “eyeballs,” pineapple chunks, gummy worms, and maraschino cherries to finish off the swamp water!
And, of course, because it is a dry ice punch recipe, add a medium-sized chunk of dry ice to the bowl just before serving.
Spike the punch with Tequila, Vodka, or Rum if your party is a strictly adult affair!
Witches Brew Cocktail
This creepy concoction is a must-make for fans of coffee.
To make 2 Witches Brew Cocktails, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 3 oz vodka, 1½ oz each Kahlúa (a coffee liqueur), and freshly brewed, cooled Espresso.
Add a bit of dry ice to the bottom of two martini glasses before straining the drink in. Top with a coffee bean, and watch as your cocktail bubbles and smokes!
More Creepy Cocktails To Try
Add a little dry ice to the bottom of the glass you are serving the spooky drink in, and it becomes even more magical!
In fact, the addition of dry ice to any of our Halloween Cocktails will provide that cool, smoky, haunting vibe!
And if you still haven’t found the perfect drink for your Halloween celebrations, here are more to take a look at:
(Remember, the dry ice enchantment is in the spectacle, not the touch—handle dry ice with care!)
How Do You Dispose of Dry Ice?
Disposing of dry ice should be done carefully to ensure safety. When you no longer need the dry ice, follow these steps for proper disposal:
Allow it to Sublimate: If you have leftover dry ice, simply leave it in a well-ventilated area at room temperature and let it sublimate (turn into a gas). Do not seal it in an airtight container or dispose of it in a closed space.
Do Not Flush or Pour Down Drains: Never dispose of dry ice by flushing it down toilets or pouring it down drains. The rapid sublimation of dry ice could cause pipes to crack or burst.
Wear Gloves: Use insulated gloves or tongs to handle any remaining dry ice, especially if it’s been in contact with food or drinks.
Outdoor Disposal: If a small amount of dry ice is left, you can place it in an open container and leave it outside in a well-ventilated area. Make sure to keep it away from pets and children.
Ventilated Trash Container: If you need to dispose of more dry ice, place it in a well-ventilated container (like a cardboard box) and put it inside a garbage bag. Seal the bag loosely to allow gas to escape.
Inform Waste Collectors: If you’re disposing of dry ice through your regular trash collection, consider attaching a note to the bag or container to inform waste collectors that it contains dry ice. This will help them handle it safely.
Remember, allowing the dry ice to sublimate in a safe, well-ventilated environment is key. Avoid sealing it in airtight containers or disposing of it in confined spaces where pressure can build up. If you have any doubts or concerns, contact your local waste management or environmental agency for guidance on proper disposal procedures in your area.
FAQ About Using Dry Ice in Drinks
Here are some questions people often ask about using dry ice.
Click the question to read the answer. If you have one of your own, please comment on this post!
Yes, you can buy dry ice in the UK. However, you must buy it online from dry ice suppliers, as it is not readily available in supermarkets.
No, dry ice is not the same as regular ice cubes. Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide, which is extremely cold and sublimates (turns directly from a solid to a gas) instead of melting like traditional ice.
Dry ice should be handled with caution. While it’s safe when used properly, direct contact with dry ice can cause frostbite or skin injuries. It’s important to use tongs or gloves when handling dry ice and to avoid ingesting it, as it can cause internal burns.
Please note to follow safety around your pets and your little humans.
Dry ice can be used in various drinks, but it’s generally recommended for cold and carbonated beverages. Dry ice quickly dissolves when added to a hot drink, creating a spectacular display.
Yes, the use of dry ice can turn any drink into a spooky, smoking delight. However, safety should always be the priority. Do not consume the dry ice cubes; ensure they’ve completely sublimated before drinking.
Dry ice is used in cocktails to create a dramatic “smoking” effect, enhancing the Halloween or spooky theme of the drinks. It adds an element of excitement and intrigue to the presentation.
It’s not recommended to put dry ice directly into a household freezer. The extremely low dry ice temperatures can disrupt the thermostat and potentially damage the freezer. Instead, store dry ice in an insulated cooler.
Dry ice has a relatively short lifespan, usually around 18 to 24 hours. Its sublimation rate depends on factors such as temperature, how it’s stored, and the amount of dry ice.
No, you should not touch dry ice directly, even briefly. It can cause cold burns or frostbite. Always use insulated gloves or tongs when handling dry ice.
You can use dry ice to create a smoky effect for ice cream or other desserts. However, it’s important to ensure that the dry ice is not ingested, so it should be placed in a separate container within the dessert.
The smoking effect of dry ice will typically last for several minutes to around half an hour, depending on factors like dry ice use, ambient temperature, and drink conditions.
While it’s safe for kids to be around and even enjoy the fog effects, they should not handle dry ice. Also, ensure any drinks or foods served to children have had the dry ice fully sublimated before consumption. Ensure they know not to touch or ingest the dry ice, and consider using adult supervision when handling it.
Please drink responsibly and ensure all safety precautions are taken when using dry ice.
It’s all fun and games until someone gets frostbite from mishandling dry ice.
Enjoy your spooky season, everyone, and cheers to a haunted Halloween!
The post is part of the Crafty October series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog and is filled with free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Halloween! You can check out Crafty October from 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012 for awesome Halloween ideas and inspiration!