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TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pumpkin Liqueur


Sip your pumpkin liqueur straight, mix into a
pumpkin Martini or other cocktail. Photo
courtesy SXC.
 

If you like to create something new, how about pumpkin liqueur? You can make enough for your own household and as gifts for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Then, pumpkin up your holiday cocktails and desserts.

This recipe comes from The Martini Diva.

You’ll need these tools:

  • Baking sheets
  • Large metal strainer
  • Coffee filters or cheesecloth
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Citrus zester
  • Large glass jar (infusion jar) for distillation process
  • Second large glass jar for filtering process
  • Decorative bottles and labels for finished liquor
  •  
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN LIQUEUR

    Ingredients

  • 1 fresh pumpkin, 10-12 pounds or 32 ounces canned pumpkin (see note below)
  • 1 fifth 100 proof vodka
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Optional: orange food color (combine red and yellow—see note below)
  •  

    Preparation

    1. REMOVE seeds and fibers and cut pumpkin into chunks (about 8″). Place flesh side down on a baking sheet and bake at 400°F for about half an hour or until the flesh is tender. The baking time will depend on the size of your pieces.

    2. SCRAPE the cooked flesh from the shell and place into the infusion jar with the vodka. Reserve the vodka bottle to bottle your liqueur.

    3. ADD the lemon zest, pumpkin pie spice and sugar. Seal jar and place in the fridge. Let this distill for a minimum of one week and up to two weeks. Shake the jar up whenever you open the fridge, or at least once a day. After the first week you can test the depth of flavor until you get the intensity of pumpkin flavor you want.

    4. STRAIN the ingredients through a large sieve or metal strainer to remove the chunkier pieces.

    5. LINE the metal strainer with coffee filters or cheesecloth and place over the over the filtering jar. Filter the infused pumpkin liqueur through the strainer in stages (do not overfill the strainer). After each portion of the liqueur filters through, toss out the sediment that has accumulated in the strainer. When all the solids are removed, you’re ready to bottle.

    Use the retained vodka bottle for your own use. For gifting, purchase decorative bottles and add a label.

     
    You can also buy pumpkin liqueur. But where’s the fun in that? Photo courtesy Hiram Walker.
     
    Substitute pumpkin liqueur for vermouth to make a Pumpkin Martini, and create your own pumpkin cocktails.

    PREPARATION TIPS

    Canned Pumpkin: You can substitute 32 ounces of canned pumpkin purée can for the fresh pumpkin, but you’ll lose some of the great flavor. Think of fresh-baked acorn or butternut squash versus frozen squash.

    Color: If you want a really bright orange colored liqueur, Add a few drops of food coloring to the infusion jar. Use the proportion of 4 drops yellow to 1 drop red. Add it bit by bit, but don’t worry if you find yourself adding 12 drops of yellow and 4 drops of red food color.

    Rum Option: You can use white rum instead of vodka, but the pumpkin flavor will be less pronounced. Vodka is a neutral spirit, but rum has flavor. Try both and see how you like them.

      




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