Celebrate the start of the holiday season with an autumn harvest cocktail. This bourbon pumpkin cocktail features warm spices and homemade pumpkin butter.
Bourbon and pumpkin are a perfect match during these cozy autumn nights. This recipe was inspired by one of the signature cocktails we offered to guests during our wedding reception in 2016.
This is a festive pumpkin drink that can be served from Halloween through New Year’s Eve. It’s the kind of cocktail that you can dress up or dress down depending on the occasion!
Pumpkin Harvest Cocktail
It’s been one heck of a year. Let’s sit back and relax by the fire with a delicious cocktail in hand.
Bourbon based cocktails are my favorite during this time of year. There is something is warming and festive with bourbon or whiskey drinks in the fall.
Use your choice of bourbon or whiskey. I prefer using bourbon because of it’s vanilla, caramel, and oak notes.
Fresh pressed apple cider is delicious. Regular apple juice works just as fine. Do not use sparkling apple cider- that is a different product that will make the resulting cocktail fizzy.
Make ginger syrup by boiling equal parts water and sugar with slices of fresh ginger. Store this mixture in the fridge for several weeks!
Always use fresh squeezed lemon juice. At all costs, I try to avoid the bottled or from-concentrate lemon juice.
Homemade Pumpkin Butter
I used the pumpkin butter recipe from my maple pumpkin butter brioche toast. Pumpkin butter is easy to customize with your choice of spices.
Spread pumpkin butter on toast, swirl it into oatmeal, or mix into pancake batter.
Store-bought pumpkin butter may be used in place of the homemade version.
How to build the cocktail:
Add a large ice cube to an old-fashioned glass. I recommend this extra large ice cube tray.
Large ice cubes will melt slower. As a result, the bourbon pumpkin cocktail will not easily become diluted with water.
Add all the ingredients: 1.5 oz bourbon, 1.5 oz apple cider, 0.75 oz ginger syrup, 0.5 oz lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon pumpkin butter in a Boston shaker. Fill the shaker half full of ice.
Cover and shake until the mixture is chilled. Strain cocktail in the prepared serving glass.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!
The autumn cocktail gets its striking orange color from the fresh cooked pumpkin butter.
Over time, the pumpkin butter will oxidize in the fridge and turn brown. It will still taste great and make a delicious drink, but the cocktail will not be as vibrant in color.
Serve this cocktail chilled over ice. Or, warm it up and serve in mug during chilly nights.
Multiply the recipe to make a large batch or punch version. When making a large batch, be sure to vigorously stir the cocktail before serving.
Bourbon Pumpkin Cocktail
- 1 ½ oz bourbon
- 1 ½ oz apple cider, or apple juice
- ¾ oz ginger syrup
- ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp pumpkin butter
- 15 oz canned pumpkin
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¼ cup apple juice, or unfiltered apple juice
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled, sliced into thin disks
- In a Boston shaker (or stainless steel cocktail shaker) filled halfway with ice, add bourbon, apple cider ginger syrup, lemon juice, and pumpkin butter. Cover and shake until mixture is chilled.
- Strain into serving glass filled with one large ice cube. Garnish with cinnamon stick.
- Add all ingredients to a small heavy bottomed sauce pot. Set over medium-high heat, stir ingredients together and bring mixture a boil. Allow to boil for about 30-45 seconds. Then, reduce to a simmer.
- Allow mixture to simmer for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Frequently stir to ensure mixture does not burn along bottom of pot. By this time, the mixture should have thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Transfer pumpkin butter to an airtight container. Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. Keeps for 1 week chilled.
- Combine sugar, water, and ginger in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let ginger steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain out ginger. Transfer syrup to an airtight container. Keep chilled in the fridge until ready to use. Syrup will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Store-bought pumpkin butter can be used in place of homemade version.
- Pumpkin butter recipe comes from Maple Pumpkin Butter Brioche Toast. Cooking time has been adjusted to make a smaller batch of pumpkin butter.