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