2 crowd-pleasing pumpkin cocktails for Halloween

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PumpkinOldFashioned

It’s that time of year again when kids get to dress up as their favourite spooky characters and binge on candy. But let’s face it — us adults like it too, but our “treats” more often come in liquid form.

Putting on your costumed best and heading out to a Halloween party, or even hosting one of your own, is great way to let loose and showcase your creativity. But why not have a little fun with some Halloween cocktails too? Garnishes can be elaborate, spooky, or even gross, and might have strange ingredients that you would never usually consider trying in a cocktail (for instance, pumpkin).

To get your Halloween party started right, here are two of my favourite pumpkin-infused cocktails.

1. Pumpkin Punch

Serves 10

In a large bowl or container, combine:

  • 750 mL bottle of Lemon Hart Navy Spiced Rum
  • 12 oz lemon juice
  • 8 oz cinnamon-infused honey*
  • 5 heaping tbsp plain pumpkin puree
  • 36 oz brewed Tealeaves Monsoon Chai Tea* (24 oz for cocktail, 12 oz for ice)

* To make the cinnamon-infused honey, place 5 oz of water, 5 oz of honey and one cinnamon stick in a small pan on medium heat. Stir constantly until honey and water dissolve. Turn to low heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

* To make the tea, place three Tealeaves Monsoon Chai Tea bags in a large pitcher and add 36 oz of boiled water. Allow tea to cool by placing in the fridge until ready to use.

Method:

Using a hand blender, pulse liquid to incorporate the puree. Place in refrigerator overnight to allow flavours to evolve.

For the ice, use three standard ice cube trays and fill with assorted chopped fruit. Use apples and cinnamon in some, and cherries, oranges or pineapple in others. The idea is to have every cube look a little bit different (and weird!). You’re the artist, so let your mind run wild. Once your chopped fruit is in place, pour the remaining chai tea over your cubes and place the trays in the freezer overnight.

When ready to serve, transfer the cocktail to a punch bowl and stir or hand blend to incorporate the puree. Fill with your special ice cubes. Place a ladle in the bowl and serve.

2. Pumpkin Old Fashioned

PumpkinOldFashioned2

Serves 10

Ingredients

  • 10 mini pumpkins
  • 10 cinnamon sticks
  • zest from 2 oranges
  • 750 mL bottle of Makers Mark Bourbon
  • 5 oz chai-infused honey*
  • 1.5 ounces Angostura Bitters
  • 8 oz water
  • 1 bag Tealeaves Monsoon Chai Tea

* To make chai-infused honey, add 5 oz water, 5 oz honey and 1 Tealeaves Monsoon Chai Tea bag to a small pan on medium heat. Stir until honey and water dissolves, reduce heat to minimum and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove tea bag and allow to cool.

Method:

Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, remove all zest from the oranges, being careful not to remove any of the white pith. Squeeze each of the peels over a large pitcher and drop them in. Add the cinnamon sticks, bitters, bourbon, water and honey and stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator overnight.

Hollow the pumpkins by cutting the top and remove all seeds and guts, just as you would for a Jack-o’-lantern. Put the tops back on and place in the fridge to cool overnight.

When ready to serve, remove the cinnamon sticks from the cocktail and place on paper towels to dry. Fill your mini pumpkins with ice and pour the cocktail. Place cinnamon sticks in each pumpkin like a straw. Replace pumpkin tops and serve.

Note: if you’re worried the pumpkins won’t stand by themselves, use a knife and carefully cut a thin slice off the bottom to stabilize.

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About the author

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Justin Taylor A renowned bartender and cocktail creator, Justin Taylor has been a fixture in the industry in both Toronto and Vancouver for the better part of two decades. As Bar Manager at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, located at the iconic Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, Justin continues to stir up the Vancouver bartending scene with a heady mix of knowledge, panache, wit and hospitality.
@taylormixology

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