Pumpkin Spice Latte Cocktail

We’re doing our part to perpetuate the craziness of pumpkin spiced anything by bringing you this adult version of a Pumpkin Spiced Latte. And because all good cocktails begin with tasty ingredients, we wanted to create the best homemade liqueurs possible. These recipes are open to interpretations and as such, offer endless possibilities in creating your own style or flavor.

While homemade liqueurs are simple, they require patience and a bit of faith that the techniques we share actually work. Remember, the first time experimenting with a new anything in the kitchen is its own brand of fun. So gather the stuff you need, take a deep breath and go for it! If you start today you’ll be able to enjoy a cocktail on New Year’s Eve!

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Homemade Milk Liqueur
from The Kitchn
adapted from The New Portuguese Table by David Leite

Makes about 1 quart of liqueur
Start today, enjoy in 3 months

2 cups vodka
2 cups whole or 2% milk (non-UHT pasteurized for best results*)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 ounces of dark chocolate
1/2 (or more) of lemon or other citrus, juice and rind**

Mix everything together in a clean glass container with a tight-sealing lid. Shake vigorously and store in a cool, dark place for 10 days. Give the container a few shakes every day.

After 10 days, the liqueur is ready. Strain through a double-layer of cheese cloth or a coffee filter to catch the milk solids and clarify the liqueur. More rounds of straining will result in a cleaner, clearer liqueur.

Transfer to a clean container and store for up to several months.

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Coffee Liqueur
from America’s Test Kitchen DIY

Makes about 1 quart of liqueur
Start today, enjoy in 1 to 2 months

1 1⁄3 cups sugar
1 1⁄4 cups water
1⁄4 cup instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon cocoa
1 1⁄3 cups vodka
2⁄3 cup brandy
2 vanilla beans

Heat sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Stir in espresso powder and cocoa, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to boil. Off heat, stir in vodka and brandy.

Slice vanilla beans in half lengthwise and place in 1-quart glass jar or bottle with tight-fitting lid. Pour liqueur mixture into jar with beans. Let mixture steep in cool, dark place until mellowed, 1 to 2 months, shaking jar to redistribute mixture once a week. Coffee liqueur can be stored at room temperature for at least 6 months. It will continue to mellow with age.

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Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
recipe from Chowhound

Makes about 1 quart of liqueur
Start today, enjoy in 1 to 2 months

2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
6 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
2 cups bourbon

Place the water and sugars in a medium saucepan, whisk to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vanilla beans, whisk to combine, and return to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is infused with flavor, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line a medium fine-mesh strainer with a 13-by-15-inch piece of ultrafine cheesecloth and place it over a large heatproof bowl.

Pour the pumpkin mixture through the cheesecloth and let it drain undisturbed until most of the liquid has passed through and only a thick paste remains. Gently press on the paste with a rubber spatula to release any remaining liquid, then discard the contents of the strainer. (You should have about 2 cups of infused syrup.)

Add the rum and stir to combine. Transfer to a 1-quart container and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 1 hour.

Seal the container tightly and store it in a cool, dark place for at least 2 days and up to 3 months before serving.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cocktail
makes two

1 1/2 ounces Bourbon
1/2 ounce Milk Liqueur
1/2 ounce Coffee Liqueur
1/2 ounce Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
1 tablespoon raw egg white
Freshly grated nutmeg

Add bourbon all liqueurs, and egg white to a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glasses and add freshly grated nutmeg. Cheers!

The Super Moon made us do it

After a few of these you'll be howling at the moon too.

We’re technically “on” the wagon, but we’ve enjoyed a few recent lapses. There have been the occasional cold cocktails we’ve sipped in the evening, in spite of earlier pledges to go sans booze “tonight”. On Saturday, the day of the Super Moon, the Earth’s celestial companion had a strange effect on our psyches. We ate lightly throughout the day, we cleaned and inventoried the pantry and our plan for the evening was to enjoy a little tea and some chocolate chip cookies while watching Weeds. In other words, the usual. Alas, we got a little thirsty for something shaken and gave in to our martini craving. Maybe it was the gravitational tug of Saturday’s Super Moon or, more likely, our recent lapses that made us give in to our liquor cabinet. Being short on gin, we used equal parts gin and vodka (Mountain Moon Vodka, perfect for the night), shaken, and instead of the traditional green olive or lemon twist we garnished with a kalamata olive and blood orange zest. This twist on a martini recipe takes inspiration from the super perigee moon and one of our favorite cool weather flavor combinations – orange and olive.

We won’t wait for the next Super Moon before we have another one of these thirst quenching martinis, but it will be another few weeks at least before we take another sip of anything quite so boozy. After all, we’re still on the wagon.

Super Moon Martini

1 oz Moon Moutain Vodka
1 oz Tanqueray Gin
1/4 oz dry vermouth
blood orange peel and kalamata olive for garnish

Add ice cubes to cocktail shaker, add booze, shake like hell, pour into chilled glass and garnish with blood orange peel and kalamata olives.