Sunday, December 29, 2013

Absolut power

If you have been following this blog, you are well aware of my obsession with all things pumpkin -- muffins, soupbread (as distinct from muffins), beer, curry (blogpost pending after many attempts to recreate the divine dish at Thai X-ing). Well, a few weeks ago my friend Amanda passed along a link for DIY pumpkin-infused vodka. Oh, my, yes.

One small kabocha squash from the farmers' market, some spices, a small bottle of Absolut, and a day later.... I will say that the original recipe called for canned pumpkin (boo!) and entirely too much nutmeg (hiss!). But the idea was there. So after a bit of tinkering with the second batch, I offer this improved recipe:

Pumpkin-infused vodka

  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 4 whole cloves
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (the TBSP the original recipe called for was WAY too much)
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • peel of one lemon (try to keep it in one long piece, which makes it easier to fish out later)
  • about 1 cup roasted, mashed pumpkin (I can’t bring myself to use the canned stuff)
  • 1 ½ cups vodka

DirectionsBring water to a boil over medium high heat in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and return to a boil, cooking until the sugar has completely dissolved.

Remove from heat and add cloves, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, lemon peel, and pumpkin. Return to stove and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add vodka, and mix until completely combined.

Pour your fancy liqueur into a Mason jar and put in the refrigerator. Strain it (or don’t) before drinking.

My landlady liked a shot of the strained infusion with tonic water and lots of ice when we had a snow day recently. (No snow, incidentally, but classes were canceled and to be honest it was nice to have the morning off.) I prefer my pumpkin vodka with eggnog. To each her own. I will admit that eggnog is not always my thing. My take on glasses of eggnog is similar to my take on pastrami sandwiches: they should be consumed infrequently but enjoyed thoroughly. I'm significantly less strict about things containing pumpkin, however: the more the better.

Earlier this evening, after a bit of mulled wine and holiday punch and lots of tasty seasonal nibbles, I was in the mood for my annual bit of 'nog. Instead of the usual brandy for spiking it, though, I decided on some of my homemade pumpkin vodka, and I can tell you -- this is not the pumpkin vodka talking, really -- it may become a holiday tradition. I don't know why friends at this afternoon's apartment-warming gathering were stifling grins and refusing glasses of it. Have to get home soon? More for me, I guess. Better mix myself another to keep my spirits up as I proofread....


  1. Ah, this sounds amazing! I too have a love for all things pumpkin. Can't wait to try this recipe, though I may have to wait until next year when real pumpkins are in season, lest I try this with a canned pumpkin puree. Which, I agree with you, might not be the best idea.

  2. Hi Denine, if you don't have fresh pumpkin available, I would also recommend kabocha squash -- available at farmers' markets here in DC for awhile yet. Similar flavor and texture as pumpkin... and similarly challenging to chop up, so I'd suggest halving the unpeeled squash, scooping out seeds, and roasting, then scooping out and mashing cooked flesh. Good luck, and let me know how it goes! :P


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