Hannah Drake

Entertaining

The Great Pumpkin Cocktail

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It’s The Great Pumpkin [Cocktail], Charlie Brown!

Like I mentioned last month, I tend to divide my three months of autumn into three flavour palettes. September is for apples. October is for pumpkins. November is for cranberries. So here we are, two weeks away from Halloween, and I’m sharing a pumpkin spice cocktail that I just made up one evening a few weeks ago. It took a few trial runs to tweak, but I think I’ve perfected it.

THE GREAT PUMPKIN COCKTAIL

  • 1 oz spiced rum

  • 1.5 oz pumpkin cordial

  • 2 oz pumpkin simple syrup

  • 2 oz ginger beer

  • whole cloves, to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add rum, cordial, simple syrup, and ginger beer to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail saucer. Top with 2-3 whole cloves to garnish.

RECIPE NOTES

Normally, you wouldn’t add a carbonated liquid, like ginger beer, to the cocktail shaker. I’ve found, however, that such a small amount doesn’t create any kind of explosion you’d normally get from shaking carbonated drinks. If you’re concerned, however, I would recommend using a cocktail spoon to stir the ingredients in the cocktail shaker instead, then strain into the cocktail saucer. (The shallow and fragile glass makes it difficult to stir once in the glass.)

I use Captain Morgan as my spiced rum. I found the pumpkin cordial at a liquor store in Colorado when we were back last year for Christmas. It’s been sitting on our bar for nearly a year and I’m glad to finally have a reason to use it! I’ve never seen anything like it in the UK, but I’m sure there are other options available around the US with the pumpkin craze that happens every fall.

PUMPKIN SPICE SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 2 cups cool water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 3 cinnamon sticks

Add the ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 7 minutes. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, strain, then chill for 1 hour before using. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month.

Note: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, I would recommend 1 tsp each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, plus 1/4 tsp of ginger.

HOW TO SERVE THIS COCKTAIL

When I first dreamed of this cocktail, I envisioned it in a rocks glass, but after attempting something similar with a lot more ginger beer, the feedback I got was the overwhelming flavour was ginger. Of course with this cocktail, we want it to be pumpkin. So if we decrease the amount of “mixer” (the ginger beer), we have to change the glass.

A delicate cocktail saucer is perfect for the final version of the cocktail. It does pull some of the remaining ground spices from the pumpkin spice simple syrup to the bottom, but it’s easy to just swill it around in the glass while drinking. I told Luke when I landed on the recipe I’m sharing today that this is definitely one of those cocktails that would go for like $15 at a fancy bar even though you only get a couple ounces of the drink!

THE GREAT PUMPKIN MOCKTAIL

I’ll be honest, with two of the four ingredients coming from a liquor store, I don’t really have a mocktail alternative to this particular cocktail. However, if you’re in the mood for a non-alcoholic pumpkin beverage, I highly recommend iced pumpkin juice inspired by Harry Potter.

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The Apple Jack Mule

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Just in the nick of time, I’m getting September’s Cocktail of the Month out! I’ve been looking forward to creating three—maybe more—autumnal cocktails since I first started this series earlier this year. And I’ve always known that I wanted to do something with apples for September. Ever since I started prioritising apple picking in the fall, I just associate apples with September. (It’s the best time to go!) Of course pumpkins are for October and I think cranberries are good for November because cranberries kind of bridge autumn and winter nicely. But pumpkin and cranberries are for later this season. Today is about apples!

THE APPLE JACK MULE

  • 1 oz Jack Daniels whiskey

  • 3 oz apple cider, warmed

  • 3 oz ginger beer, room temperature

  • cinnamon stick, to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Measure and warm apple cider. Add whiskey to copper mug. Once apple cider is warmed through (you should be able to see steam), add it to the mug. Top with ginger beer. Using a cocktail spoon, gently stir to mix. Garnish with one cinnamon stick.

If you are having trouble finding apple cider to purchase or would simply rather make your own, I highly recommend this recipe. It’s easily, delicious, and makes your house smell wonderful.

WHISKEY VS. WHISKY

Fun fact: whiskey and whisky shouldn’t be use interchangeably. There’s actually a difference between the two and it’s more than just the E, but it’s still fairly simple. It’s spelled without an E in Scotland. It’s spelling with an E in Ireland and America. Just check your bottle of Jameson (Irish) or Jack Daniels (American). Apparently we’re not into Scottish whisky in the Drake house because we don’t have any E-less whiskies in our bar.

There are other differences, too, of course, including:

  • The Distillation Process: Generally, Scottish and American whiskies are distilled twice, while Irish whiskies are distilled three times.

  • The Stills: In Ireland and in America, pot stills are often used, which are short, fat, large, and have a rounded base. In Scotland, a variety of stills are used, both in shape and size, which creates a variety of flavours in the whisky.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t include the fact that the oldest functioning distillery in Ireland is Bushmills, which opened in 1608, one year after the Jamestown settlement in what is now the United States. The oldest functioning distillery in Scotland is Glenturret, which opened in 1775, one year before the United States gained her independence from England. Still, the first distilleries in the United States opened in the late 18th century, seven of which remain (Bernheim, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve). In neighbouring Tennessee, you’ll find George Dickel and our very own Jack Daniels, which was established in 1866.

HOW TO SERVE THIS COCKTAIL

Like any good Mule, it should be served in a copper mug. I really like it for these cocktails because 1) the copper has a good autumn aesthetic, and 2) the copper helps keep the cider warm.

While I do recommend investing in a good pair or set of copper mugs, if you don’t have any, you can opt for a regular mug, or, better yet, your favourite fall mug. But when you get a chance, do add some copper mugs to your home bar!

This cocktail is obviously quite easy to turn into a mocktail. In fact, sometimes when it’s particularly chilly outside, I’ll make it as a mocktail when I get some from work and just sit by the fire reading. It’s actual heaven! And just because I really prefer the mixture of the apple cider and ginger beer, I pretty much never have apple cider just by itself. It helps it last longer too!

APPLE JACK MULE MOCKTAIL

  • 3 oz apple cider, warmed

  • 3 oz ginger beer, room temperature

  • cinnamon stick, to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Measure and warm apple cider. Once apple cider is warmed through (you should be able to see steam), add it to the mug. Top with ginger beer. Using a cocktail spoon, gently stir to mix. Garnish with one cinnamon stick.

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25 Pumpkin Recipes to Try This Fall

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Check out my recipe for a pumpkin spice cocktail!

I know you’re not surprised to hear that I love pumpkin everything in the fall. Well, except for the pumpkin spice latte. (Or even a pumpkin spice chai, because I don’t actually drink coffee.) I especially love baking with pumpkin, but it wasn’t until the last year or so that I’ve been more interested in cooking with pumpkin. So today I’ve rounded up 25 pumpkin recipes from some of my favourite food bloggers and elsewhere on Pinterest, some of which I’ve tried and the rest I’m pretty much just bookmarking to try in the next few months.

SWEET

Thai Pumpkin Soup from Ayla Rianne
(I have tried this one and it’s on our regular soup rotation for meal planning!)