Pumpkin Spice Cocktail
A Pumpkin Spice Cocktail is exactly what you need this fall. Whether you love it or hate it, this time of year, Pumpkin Spice reigns supreme. However, what many don’t realize is that “Pumpkin Spice” does not always mean “Pumpkin Flavored.” Rather, Pumpkin Spice (also known as Pumpkin Pie Spice) is just that: a blend of spices used in pumpkin pie.
This melange features the autumnal warmth of our favorite baking spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, with a few zingier notes, like ginger and allspice. The final product meshes beautifully with the creaminess of pumpkin in a pie filling or frothy milk in a latte. To truly bring out the flavors of the season, I decided to reunite the noble pumpkin with its soulmate spice blend.
Originating in North America, pumpkins have been consumed by humans for millennia. Pumpkin is a very versatile vegetable and comes in many colors, shapes, and sizes. In the U.S., we generally think of sweet preparations, like pie and other baked goods. But pumpkin can also be a rockstar in savory dishes, like Thai curries, rich stews, or roasted on its own with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of paprika and Maldon salt.
Related: How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin
This cocktail recipe calls for pureed pumpkin from a can, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you can also use fresh pumpkin purée. Just note it will need to be cooked (raw pumpkin is rather hard and the fibers need heat and moisture to break down), and you may want to add a little milk or non-dairy alternative to achieve that creaminess. Don’t worry about the spice – the drink has plenty of it!
Related: Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Pumpkin Spice Cocktail
- 3/4 oz Bottled in Bond Bourbon
- 3/4 oz Aged Rum
- 1 1/2 oz Oat Milk
- 1 T Pumpkin Purée
- 1/4 oz Barrel Aged Maple Syrup
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/8 tsp Pumpkin Spice
- 1 pinch Salt
- Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously.
- Double strain into a cup rimmed with cinnamon sugar.
Presentation is a key part of cocktail making, just as it is with cooking. After all, we eat (and drink!) first with our eyes. Cocktails can be enhanced visually in a number of ways, but here we will focus on cocktail glass rims.
Best Spices for Cocktail Rims
The ideal rim is made of granulated or flaked spices. This type of spice structure sticks well to a glass and won’t easily fall off. Rock salts and sugars don’t stick well and they can end up falling into your glass, making your drink crunchy.
To choose the right flavor of spice for your drink, choose one that will complement the flavor of the cocktail. For Margaritas, salt is used as a counterbalance to the sour. Perfect for Bloody Marys, Old Bay is perfect for adding extra spice and a little salinity. For Palomas, I use Tajin – a Mexican Chile-like salt spice blend – to contract the sweet-sour of the grapefruit. Granulated sugar adds extra sweetness to the sour of a Lemon Drop or Brandy Crusta cocktail.
Get creative with your spice blends! Just remember that the rim is supposed to be an ingredient and supporting character and shouldn’t overwhelm the cocktail. The options are endless!
Making a Rim Stick to the Glass
The key to a perfect cocktail rim is to ensure the rimming ingredient will actually stick well. Generally, water or citrus juice is used as the glue to make the rim stick to a glass. This means the bond between the liquid adhesive and the solid rim is fairly weak. Trying to get something heavier – like rock salt or sugar – to stick with water is tough, and usually unsuccessful. For heavier rims, you need to use a stronger bond, like simple syrup or egg whites. This will make them stick to the glass and not fall off quickly. However, rock salt and sugar give a crunchier experience that I don’t care for when enjoying a cocktail.
For the granulated and flaked rims, water or citrus juice is your best bet. I prefer citrus as it adds a little flavor, and you can repurpose the squeezed citrus halves from your cocktail (zero waste!). To rim a glass using lime, lemon, or another citrus, take the spent half and rub it on the rim of the glass. I prefer to rim the outside of the glass so that the spices do not pool in the bottom of the glass. Be sure to shake out the glass before adding the cocktail.
Finally, let’s talk cocktail rimming tools. Cocktail rimmers (those wooden or plastic shallow bowls with a raised middle) I find to be unnecessary. I prefer to use a plate or just a spoon to gently sprinkle the rim on the wet portion of the glass. The spoon method works the best, produces the least amount of waste, and provides the most consistent visual result.