Pumpkins are easily the most under-appreciated iconic symbol. They are the ambassadors of fall festivities, from Halloween to Thanksgiving and everything that may exist in between. They are the foremost [artificial] component of one of Starbucks most fanatic driven seasonal beverages and the chief architect of arguable one of Charlie’s Brown’s best movies (It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown). Why do we take thee for granted, Pumpkin?
Maybe it’s because by itself pumpkin has a fairly unimpressive taste. After-all how often does one just grab a pumpkin, sliced it up and just commenced to eating the raw product. I’ll wait… If you’ve never really noticed, pumpkin is a great example of a base ingredient that is far better when accompanied by sidekicks such as vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice or nutmeg. Very rarely do you find pumpkin flavor without at least one of these additional flavors in accompaniment. When combined, you can get a very popular fall spice, Pumpkin Spice. Yes, the aforementioned Starbuck’s Latte Flavor and our “Infusion Flavor of the Month”
Pumpkin Spice Infusion
750 mL Spirit
12 6” long slices of pumpkin (thinly sliced, about an inch or so wide)
1 vanilla bean
1 cinnamon stick
½ of a whole nutmeg (2 tsp.)
First, as always, clean and dry your pumpkin before cutting out the slices. A potato peeler may work well with a steady hand to produce long thin, slices. Avoid skin as much as possible. Remember, it doesn’t have to be an exact science with the slices, but adding them up to equal the rough amount required can work to. Next, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise to open it up. Add the pumpkin slices and vanilla bean to your clean, airtight jar. Now, [Slap]Chop, crush, or mash (or pour, if you use a powder) the nutmeg into fine pieces before adding it to the jar. Next, add spirit of choice to the jar and give it a good swirl/mix, using the cinnamon stick, trying to dissolve as much of the nutmeg as possible. Lastly, drop the cinnamon stick into the jar and close.
Again, infusion time will depend heavily upon the infused spirit choose in this situation. Vodka, gin & rum should sit for 5 days at least, with daily taste afterwards to determine when it is done per individual’s own taste preferences. Tequila generally takes 7 – 10 days. Bourbon in this case takes the longest, usually requiring 10 – 14 days to fully mature within the flavor profile of any given bourbon.
Disclaimer: this infusion profile isn’t fully vetted as I have only done it twice, each time having to tweak it a little to find a balance. What you see above is what I have tweaked it to so far after those two attempts. I would love feedback on not only this recipe (which I will be doing numerous times before, during, and after this month) but on any personal Pumpkin Spice or Pumpkin related infusions done by you. Comments are below, feel free to participate!