I’m not one to tell you guys what to do, but if you’re looking for something to make this week for your holiday table, here are a few suggestions! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
I’m back east right now visiting with family in New England and everywhere I go I am reminded of just how much more it feels like Autumn. Besides the fact there is an actual chill in the air, we drive by corn mazes and apple stands and people really deck out their houses for Halloween. Entire towns decorate for Halloween. I’m trying not to think about the 90° temps that we will be returning to in Southern California. For now, I’m just going to soak all this Autumn in and give you guys some of my favorite Spooky, and just plain seasonally appropriate cocktails.
For those few of you who have a job that gives you a 3 day weekend starting today, lucky you. I’m pretty sure that last time I had that Monday off I was in college… a long time ago in college. But let’s not focus on that for now. Even if your weekend is only two days long, or even one, I’ll also give you guys an excuse to drink a good cocktail. Here’s a roundup of my Fall favorites.
You know what is great about making infused booze at home? It’s a lazy man’s project. You just need time (FYI, make a calendar reminder as soon as you start your infusion. No forgetting about it after you stash it in a cool, dark place!) This one might be a bit more involved, but you could also make some great spiced-infused bourbon if the cutting and gutting (is that the correct terminology?) of a pumpkin is not your thing. I understand; knives can be scary.
Part the First:
Dehydrate your pumpkin! Why? Dehydrating removes excess moisture from the squash and intensifies the “pumpkin” flavor.
1 organic sugar pumpkin, about 8″ diameter
- Heat your oven to 200°F.
- Cut your pumpkin in half from stem to bottom. Scoop out seeds (discard, or roast if that’s your thing. Personally I can’t stand them.) and slice into 1/2″ moons.
- Spread the slices on a baking sheet and move that to the oven. Wait six hours. Watch if you want occasionally. It’s like the Shrinky Dinks of my childhood.
- After 6 hours, turn the slices over. Bake another 6 hours. This will fully dry the slices out for infusion.
Dehydrated pumpkin slices (recipe above)
3 5″ cinnamon sticks
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp allspice
1 star anise
1/2 tsp cloves
2 cups Buffalo Trace Bourbon
- Place all ingredients in an air-tight container, glass would be best.
- Give the container a good swirl to make sure all ingredients are covered with liquid. Stick the jar in a cool, dark place for two weeks.
- After two weeks, strain all material out of the liquid using cheese cloth over a fine mesh strainer into a storage container (I reused the Buffalo Trace bottle).
- Taste the infusion. You have two options now.
- First, you can use as is. Second, bottle and wait an additional week to mellow out the flavor.
Why would you wait one more week? Right after discarding the solids the flavor of the infusion is quite sharp. Giving the infusion a week to sit let’s the flavors meld and mellow out. But this is entirely up to you. Like it sharp? Start using it now.
What to do with this infusion? Well, for one, you can drink it over ice. It’s pretty much a flavor bomb of Fall smells. The sugar pumpkin has enough sweetness in it that it creates a nice balance with the whiskey. For those of you who want something a little less Fall tasting than just drinking Pimento Dram, this is for you.
I’m going to play with this over the next week or so and see what I come up with for some cocktail suggestions. That gives you some time to start infusing. So get going!