Sometime in early Fall of 2008 I was at a party at our friend Roy’s house. Roy has a nice bar set-up in the garage and that tends to be the hang-out spot for the men-folk during shindigs. So I’m at this party, Sean and I are behind the bar making drinks, and Roy tells us that he bought some pumpkin liqueur for his wife. His wife loves pumpkin and he tasked us with making a drink for her. Well, I’m guessing that a majority of you good cocktail drinking folks out there know what kind of pumpkin liqueur can be found at your basic liquor store. Yep, nothing good. I tried making a few drinks, but everything came out tasting fake. Just weirdly fake flavors due to the liqueur.
At the end of the night, Roy laid down a challenge. To come with with pumpkin cocktails that his wife would enjoy. That challenge got me to thinking about making my own, homemade pumpkin liqueur. Better yet, I could make a big ole batch and give away as Christmas gifts.
I began my research in how to go about making pumpkin liqueur. As the fates would have it, during the October “Made From Scratch” Mixology Monday, Craig Hermann of Tiki Drinks & Indigo Firmaments wrote about his own homemade pumpkin liqueur! Just how fortuitous is that?!?! So after a few false starts and a purchase of bottles from Specialty Bottle, I was ready to start my pumpkin liqueur. The recipe below is for a single batch that gives you about half a gallon of liqueur.
Spiced Pumpkin Liqueur
2 Cups of Pumpkin, cubed and roasted
.5 Cup of Ginger, sliced
.5 Cup Allspice Berries, crushed
.25 Cup Cloves, crushed
1 Nutmeg, Ground
4 Sticks Cinnamon, broken
1 Tbls Cinnamon, ground
1 Tbls Mace, ground
2 Pods Vanilla, scraped
750ml Lemonhart 151
8 cups sugar for syrup
First, peel, cube and roast your pumpkin.
Then divide your pumpkin and spices into two equal piles.
Put your first half of the pumpkin and spices in a container and pour your bottle of Lemonhart 151 over to infuse. You will infuse this for at least a week. I recommend stirring or shaking this once a day every day. At the end of your infusion time (for me it was a week exactly) strain the solids and filter the infused 151.
Take the second half of pumpkin and spices and place in a pot with the 8 cups of sugar. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Just when the mixture comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. After the simmering is complete, transfer everything in the pot to another container and let infuse for at least a week. I infused my syrup for exactly a week. After your infusion time, strain out the solids and filter the best you can. A word of warning though – this stuff is thick and sticky. I used cheesecloth and coffee filters and it took about 4 hours to filter it all. Time consuming, but well worth it.
Finally, take your infused rum and infused syrup and mix the two together. Bottle and use. The resulting liqueur is very sweet and packs a nice rummy punch from the Lemonhart. The spices are also very in your face. In my recent champagne post, I included the following recipe which used the pumpkin liqueur to great effect.
A Sweet Ending
2oz Amber rum
1oz Spiced Pumpkin Liqueur
-Shake the rum and liqueur with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top of dry/brut sparking wine of your choice.
There you have it – Spiced Pumpkin Liqueur. Many thanks to Craig for posting his recipe! Oh and did Roy’s wife enjoy the gift of pumpkin liqueur. I’m happy to report that she had two helpings during New Year’s Eve and reported that she thought it was wonderful. I’d call that a win!
Have you made your own liqueurs? Have a good pumpkin recipe? If so, share your experiences and recipes in the comments section!