Cocktail experiments are much like wandering through a corn maze. Sometimes – too often – a promising zig or zag ends up a dead-end. Repeatedly. Should I consider it cheating if someone finally hands me a map? Hell no!
I get some flavor ideas stuck in my head; this month it was pumpkin (for the holidays and because my daughter’s smile looks like a jack-o-lantern now, with missing teeth galore). The problem is that pumpkin, no matter in syrup or butter form, leaves unappealing sediment. Blech. Then I remembered that chocolate can have that same problem –> but my chocolate stout reduction did not –> and they do make pumpkin ale –> so I could use the same technique to make pumpkin ale syrup. Aha! Surely I had found my way out of the maze.
Er, not quite. Sticking with my chocolate stout syrup recipe, I created the pumpkin ale syrup and trialed it in several cocktails. Somehow I just couldn’t find the right combination of flavors to highlight the pumpkin element. Ready to toss that idea into my (full) dustbin of discarded cocktail ideas, an online search brought me to a Raising the Bar segment with Jamie Boudreau, owner of the excellent Canon on Capitol Hill. Boudreau demonstrates the Pumpkin King recipe, even using the same brand of ale, Southern Tier Pumking, for his pumpkin ale liqueur.
The Pumpkin King cocktail is refreshing and interesting. It would make an ideal chaser to Trick or Treating or a Thanksgiving feast…or both!
1½ oz blended Scotch ½ oz pumpkin ale liqueur (see my change below) ½ oz lime juice Dash of bitters (I used Peyschauds) Ginger beer to top (I used 1 oz of Fentimans)
Shake the first four ingredients with ice; strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer (I found 1 oz to be better, perhaps owing to different glass sizes), and garnish with a lime wedge.
Disclosure: my version deviates from Boudreau’s because I wanted to use the pumpkin ale syrup I had already made rather than create a liqueur. My syrup uses less sugar, so I bumped the amount up from ½ oz to 1 oz in the cocktail. If you also want to go that route, here is my recipe:
Pumpkin Ale Syrup1 bottle (24 oz) of pumpkin ale 1 c. sugar 1 cinnamon stick 1 t. allspice berries 1/8 t. salt Combine all in a large sauce pan. Bring to boil until the sugar is dissolved, and then simmer on medium while stirring occasionally and watching carefully — it can quickly bubble up and over if left unwatched. After simmering for 15 minutes, remove from heat and discard any foam on top.
Happy Halloween! Looking for more Halloween-inspired cocktails? Check out these previous posts:
As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.