Introduction: Pumpkin Liqueur

About: I'm a Renaissance woman. I love to create things with a fantasy, medieval, or geeky edge. I'm also a math/science nerd. I have a passion for all things Halloween. I like to build props, create costume elements…

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. 

Step 1: 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

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.

Step 4: Mix

Once the syrup has COOLED, add the 1 1/2 cups vodka and 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract.  I repeat, WAIT until the syrup has cooled.  You do not want to add alcohol to boiling hot liquid.

Pour this mixture into a sterilized jar or bottle.

Allow to age in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Step 5: Final Touches

Once two weeks have passed, it's ready to use.  Store in the refrigerator and shake the liqueur before each use.

Step 6: Drink Ideas

1 ounce vanilla vodka
1 ounce pumpkin liqueur
Cinnamon and sugar mixture

Rim a martini glass with cinnamon sugar.  Shake vodka and pumpkin liqueur over ice.  Strain into the glass.

Pumpkin Champagne Cocktail
1 ounce pumpkin liqueur
1/2 ounce vanilla vodka
Chilled Champagne

Shake pumpkin liqueur and vodka over ice.  Strain into a champagne flute.  Top with chilled champagne.

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