Every Fall, a few weeks before Santa and Jesus begin dominating every store you visit, there is another seasonal king: pumpkin-flavored everything.
But there’s one novelty grocery item that towers above the rest, refreshing in its deliciously spiced glory. I speak, of course, of pumpkin ale.
If you haven’t tried pumpkin ale yet, I urge you to do so. A lot of different companies produce a pumpkin beer, all with slightly different tastes — some spicier, some richer, some incredibly more potent.
But while tasting pumpkin beer on its own is something you won’t regret, it’s also really easy to get a little creative and make your very own pumpkin liqueur with it. I know you want to do it, so here’s what you’ll need:
-1 part Pumpkin Beer (You can use what brand you like, but I suggest Saranac, which makes a really awesome pumpkin ale.)
-2 parts Sugar
-2 tsp Allspice
-2 tsp Cinnamon
-1/2 part Cognac (or other brandy)
-Decent Size Saucepan
So, let’s begin. First, put your beer in your saucepan, and put it over a medium-high heat on the stove. Add the sugar and begin to stir. It’ll be foamy at first, but it will go down. Right now, you’re essentially making a syrup with the beer.
Then, add the allspice and cinnamon. You can use ground or whole allspice, and ground cinnamon or a cinnamon stick. I used the more solid versions, because they’re a lot easier to strain back out when you’re done making the syrup.
Now, stir until all of the sugar has dissolved. After that, keep stirring some. You want some extra time to elapse so your spices can further flavor the syrup.
Eventually, the beer will begin to boil, at which point it will start expanding very fast. This is alright. Just remove your mixture from the heat, and it will go back down fairly quickly. Let it sit for a minute or two, and you will be able to scoop most of the remaining foam from the top of your syrup. Get as much off as you can, and scoop out what bits of spices you can to make the straining easier.
Once you’ve gotten it reasonably foam-free, let it cool down. Once cool, go ahead and strain your syrup into your empty bottle. This should get rid of the remaining foam and spice bits. Obviously, use your funnel here.
Finally, add the cognac. Put the cap on your bottle and shake it some to mix it. You’ve just made pumpkin liqueur! Keep it in the fridge and drink it when you want it.
This came out really sweet. It’s not too sweet, by any means, but if I were to do it again, I might use a sugar-to-beer ratio of 1.5:1 instead of 2:1. Also, the cognac works great as the liquor base, but another brandy would probably work fine. I’d also be interested to see if a base of whiskey or dark rum would work — I think the rum would be particularly good.
And, of course, keep in mind that after Halloween, getting pumpkin beer will be more challenging, so make this while you can.