How-To: Make Your Own Pumpkin Flavored Vodka

In six days, Fall will no longer be knock, knock, knocking upon our door. September 22nd is the day when autumn officially kicks in the door, flops down on the couch and props its muddy boots up on the coffee table. Why not greet this blustery season with homemade pumpkin infused cocktail? Pumpkin is, after all, the first flavor to come to mind when one’s mind thinks fall flavors, and making your own pumpkin infused vodka is just as easy as it sounds:

  • Start with a mason jar or other large sealable glass container
  • scoop in about a cup and a half of pumpkin pie filling
  • fill the container with vodka and allow it to sit in the fridge for a week
  • filter the vodka/pumpkin slurry through a coffee filter set in a kitchen strainer and it’s good to serve.
  • If you’re not keen on the artificial pumpkin flavor, you could easily make a more natural infusion. The process is similar but it takes a little more elbow grease and fridge time:

  • Instead of aging the vodka in pie filling, scoop a healthy amount of the soft fleshy insides of a real deal pumpkin, being sure to keep seeds and woody pumpkin guts out of the jar (you want to infuse the vodka with pumpkin flavor, not seed flavor)
  • Spice the whole mix with two tablespoons of cinnamon, a tablespoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of cardamom, and, what the hell, a tablespoon of brown sugar
  • Top off your container with a bottle of vodka, shake, and age for two weeks.
    Since the ingredients are more natural, it takes a little more time for pumpkin flavors to be pulled out by the vodka.
  • When your vodka is infused to your liking, strain using the same method listed above.
  • Periodically sample the flavor of your concoction during the aging process as your success depends so much on your personal taste(don’t worry; a few sips shouldn’t ruin the batch.) The longer it sits, the more the booze will draw out the flavor. As to the quality of vodka that you use, that is up to you. Just as the the Buddhists say, the middle path is usually the best; instilling a vodka that smells like rubbing alcohol will only yield pumpkin infused rubbing alcohol and using an expensive brand of vodka seems like a waste of premium spirits. Autumnal cocktail ideas for your newly infused vodka are aplenty: Try using your vodka with some chai tea and vanilla liquor for a delicious martini (hit the rim with some cinnamon sugar); or try it on the rocks with some cream and chocolate liquor (Big Lebowski Steelo), or just do what the pilgrims did and drink it straight from the cornucopia.

    Thanks to howto.wired.com for the tips on infusion.

    • madame_dakar

      If you pay close attention to what’s in season and available at the market, you can use fresh fruits to infuse liquor. Good combos I’ve found are rhubarb schnapps, quince brandy (Nigella Lawson recipes), and sour cherry bourbon (tried this for the first time at Waterworks — don’t ride your bike home after one of these!).

    • Matt

      Something tells me this would be a great idea to mix with Pinnacle Whipped Cream vodka

    • Yucky Poo

      I tried it. Won’t try it again. Made both suggested cocktails. It sure did pucker my wife’s lips up.

    • Tanya

      I probably would have infused dark rum or bourbon with the pumpkin instead of vodka

    • Lauren

      I’m making this to take on a Halloween excursion and luckily I made a test batch first. For the final batch I used 1 small can (15oz) of pumpkin puree, 4 teaspoonof cinnamon, 1/2 tablespoon of nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon each of ground clove and ginger. I made the original recipe and the cinnamon came across as hot/spicy and the nutmeg was bitter. The few tweaks I made came out great.

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