It happens every autumn: Piles and piles of squash show up at farmers’ markets, and frankly no one knows what to do with All. That. Squash. But we have an idea: Meet the Butternut Squash Old Fashioned. The orange flesh of this gourd has a natural sweetness to it, which gets sweeter still when roasted with a bit of maple syrup, making it an ideal veg to infuse into robust bourbon.
At Little Dom’s in Los Angeles, this drink appears every fall. Manager and bar director Anthony Migliaccio, who tries to bridge the divide between bar and kitchen with culinary-inspired cocktails, notes that this flavorful drink, helped along by dashes of banana liqueur and walnut bitters, has “a banana nut bread quality to it.”
“We do it every year because it’s so popular,” he says. Though it takes a little extra time (two to three weeks, to be precise) and effort to make the infused bourbon, it’s worth it. In addition to the Old Fashioned variation, which subs in maple syrup for the traditional sugar cube, if you have infused booze left over, Migliaccio suggests trying it in a Manhattan-style drink, with barrel-aged bitters. “That cinnamon zip would complement the squash infusion,” he says.
In a mixing glass, combine all of the ingredients with ice and stir. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh cracked ice, and garnish with an orange peel.
*Squash-infused bourbon: Cut 2 cups of butternut squash into chunks. Add the squash, 1/4 cup of maple syrup and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool. In a large Mason jar, combine the squash with 1 750mL bottle of bourbon (like Buffalo Trace), and set the empty bottle aside until later. Cover tightly and allow it to infuse for two to three weeks. Strain the bourbon, funnel back into the empty bottle (be sure to label the bottle), and cap tightly. The infused bourbon should keep for five to seven days.