Instructables

Pumpkin Liqueur

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Picture of Pumpkin Liqueur
This liqueur tastes of the rich, earthy flavors of pumpkin with just a touch of spice.  Drink straight-up as a Halloween treat, add to warm cider, create a pumpkin champagne cocktail, or make a pumpkintini. 
 
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
4 cups pumpkin juice*
1/4 teas ground ginger
1/4 teas ground cloves
1/4 teas ground allspice
pinch ground nutmeg
2-4"cinnamon sticks
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups 100 proof vodka
Large sterilized jar or bottle
Coffee Filters
Filter Holder or Mesh Strainer

*There are many ways to juice a pumpkin, including a whole fruit/vegetable juicer, other methods you can find on the internet, or the techniques I've described in my previous Instructable, Juicing a Jack-O-Lantern.

Step 2: Spice

Place 4 cups pumpkin juice into a medium saucepan, add the ginger, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon sticks.  Reduce (that is, boil down) the 4 cups pumpkin juice by half.  So you should have about 2 cups concentrated, spiced juice. 

Remove the cinnamon sticks and strain the juice through a coffee filter that has been placed in a filter holder or mesh strainer.  If you are particularly impatient, you can strain it through cloth (cheesecloth is too loose to strain out the spices so I sometimes use clean organic unbleached muslin in these situations).  This process can take some time but it's well worth it.

I have previously made this liqueur and aged it with the spice but this made it far too spicy.  I find that infusing the spice into the juice during the "reduction" phase gives a more subtle spice flavor without overwhelming the pumpkin-ness.

Step 3: Make the Syrup

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Rinse out the pan to remove the spice residue.  Pour the reduced and strained juice back into it. Add the sugars.

Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Once the mixture has reached a full rolling boil, remove from the burner.

Allow the mixture to cool before proceeding.
starshipminivan (author) 3 years ago
I'm commenting on my own Instructable so that's kind of weird. But I didn't want to mar what might be considered a labor- and instruction-heavy process with my ramblings. So here they are anyway, just tucked away. I'm not into mixology, just into pumpkins, which is why I experimented and posted my final recommended recipe here.

As stated in Step 2, I made a previous version with the spices infused over two weeks. It was more like cinnamon liqueur and reminiscent of red hot candies. In this version, I condensed the pumpkin juice to give it a stronger flavor. If you are a pumpkin fan like I am, I think it is well worth the effort. Nothing I've found in a store packs a pumpkin flavor quite like this.

I also used a combination of white and brown sugar which didn't overpower the pumpkin flavor but that was a lucky accident. I had intended to use all brown sugar but decided against it at the last minute. I'm glad I changed my mind.

For those who want more earthiness but not necessarily more spice, this can be made with rum instead of vodka. Because rum will have it own strong flavor, I would not use brown sugar but go with all white sugar. That way there are less flavors competing for dominance.

Also, for those who want this to look more technicolor orange, you can also use all white sugar and color it with yellow and red food colors in a ratio of 4:1, yellow:red. This will give it a good orange color.

One more note: you can add glycerin at the end if you would like. 1 teas ought to be enough to give it thickness and body that could enhance its appeal, if you like a thicker liqueur.
I really really like using plain white rum for infusions and the like, I find that many cheap rums are tasty enough to drink and yet don't have a strong flavor. Would those kinds work well for this?

I just made butter out of my last pumpkin; can this be used as the cooked down base instead of pumpkin juice? I want to start this NOW and am too impatient to get another pumpkin too soon. XD

I too like the taste of pumpkin, so I'm looking forward to trying this. Thanks for this 'Ible!
starshipminivan (author)  Batness3 years ago
They say that you should only use alcohol that is not objectionable to drink so I don't see why not. A less expensive but drinkable rum would probably work fine here.

I'm glad you see the potential in this. I kind of felt like I cheated because I use the pumpkin juice in the syrup to get the pumpkin flavor. I tried a few ways of making pumpkin liqueur and one was to make an infusion with roasted pumpkin pieces but it wasn't pumpkiny enough for me, the pumpkin superfan. However, pumpkin butter would be very strong because it is cooked-down and it would probably bring some great, strong flavor. Logistically, I can see that the surface area of the mashed pumpkin would allow for a more thorough infusion of flavor.

Were you planning on making the pumpkin butter part of the final liquor or straining out the pulp? You could always make a smaller batch to see how it goes and get useful feedback. I'd love to hear how it turns out and what your thoughts are on the flavor.
The roasted pumpkin you tried wasn't very pumpkin-y? That does not bode well for me. :( I already have some pumpkin butter, and I figured since there aren't huge chunks in it I'd just leave it in the liquor...I could strain it. Didn't think that far ahead; trying to figure out how much butter would be equivalent to the juice and spices.
starshipminivan (author)  Batness3 years ago
The roasted pumpkin didn't work as well for me, probably because I left it in big pieces, not pureed. Pumpkin butter is cooked down and more concentrated. It also has the benefit of increased surface area of the pumpkin exposed to the alcohol. I think you'll have a good end result using it. Also, you benefit from it already being spiced the way you'd like so it's a good substitute.
tcowl1 year ago
I made this recipe after following your other instructable on juicing the Jack. i juiced 4 pumpkins and got about 11 cups of pumpkin juice. so i modified the recipe to account for the increased juice. I did everything except when filtering out the spices i poured roughly the first 2/3rds without filtering because i noticed most of the spices had started to settle to the bottom. It is delicious and it smells like pumpkin pie! you can't smell or taste the vodka at all.
Chef-Elaine3 years ago
I mad some last year, only I used a different method:
I pierced the bottom of a large pumpkin, filled it with natural brown sugar, and enclosed the whole thing in panty hose, tying the top...
I used two skewers to brace the bottom of the pumpkin, and covered it entirely with cheesecloth.
The result was a thick, sweet syrup, to which vodka was added. turned out really nice, and the syrup doesn't freeze when left in the cold either.
The panty-hose worked great in that there was no mess to clean up . I simply pulled the remains of the pumpkin up, drained off the excess liqueur, and discarded the panty hose with all the mess inside it!
Someone told me about this - when I tried it it just became all mouldy. It started out all right but then went bad. What did I do wrong? Could you give me more detail? I'd like to have another go. Thanks!
It yields about 4 cups.
Hi Duncan!
So sorry to hear that. All I did was prepare the pumpkin as posted, and left it alone for at least 2 weeks. The less air it has at this stage, the better, as exposing it to air in the early stages induces rot and mould formation.
There will be some decay of the pumpkin, which is perfectly natural, and nothing to be concerned about.
did you remove all the seeds from it before adding the sugar? Seeds left inside can induce mouldiness.
Did you add enough sugar?
After two weeks, you're safe to check the batch, and don't be alarmed to see a shrunken pumpkin!
I hope you let me know how your next batch turns out, please. If I can help in any way, I'll be happy to.
Good luck! :)
Elaine
So, how much does this yield? I'm looking for something different to give to family for Christmas and think I'm going to try this one out.
zascecs3 years ago
Im gonna have to try this, the problem is, I'll have to wait several years... X(

But hey, who'll know?