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As TDE readers know, I'm enjoying the cocktailing fad. But at some point, the drinks pass from craftsmanship to self-indulgence, kinda like the way weightlifting goes from the pursuit of health to running your hands over your oh-so-beautiful pecs.

Exhibit A: Most of the drinks featured a few days ago at 8 Perfectly Spooky Halloween Cocktails. Sample:

In this murky concoction, partner and head bartender Jim Kearns employs a favorite Halloween ingredient: activated charcoal. Known for its medicinal properties, the heated charcoal is used here to add a sultry black hue to a tropical mix of Santa Teresa 1796 rum, calamansi and orange juices, honey, ginger and arrack (a Southeast Asian beverage distilled from either coconut flowers or sugar cane). It's served in a fittingly skull-shaped bowl filled with crushed ice, topped with sorrel and crowned with orchids and a lit votive candle.

"Activated charcoal"? What the heck? And it's a "favorite" ingredient? To be honest, I'd like to try it (drinking it, not making it), but who comes up with such a thing . . . and then to require, among other odd ingredients, a Southeast Asian beverage distilled from coconut flowers? I didn't even know coconuts grew flowers.

I made a new drink last night that I call "The Holiday Elf." It's a take-off on "Liquid Marijuana." By my fourth drink, I think I got the ingredients down, which I'll share at a later date, after a bit more experimentation. I thought I was being exotic because I used Midori melon liqueur. Apparently, I'll have to urinate in it ("activated liquid excretion") or some such thing to qualify it for the truly exotic.