“I’ve made a Pumpkin Buck every Thanksgiving for the past few years, and it’s always a hit,” says Naren Young, the former creative director at New York City’s Dante. On its own, the pumpkin soda is a fun and festive option for those who aren’t drinking; add a good slug of your favorite liquor to turn it into a Buck-style cocktail, which is to say, a classic highball that typically involves rum or whiskey plus ginger beer or ale. “I feel it works best with bourbon,” he says. Though any brown spirit would feel comfortable here.”
- 1 1/2 ounces applejack or American whiskey
- Pumpkin soda*, to top
- Garnish: candied ginger
- Garnish: grated nutmeg
Add the applejack or whiskey to a highball glass and fill with ice.
Top with the pumpkin soda and stir gently to combine.
Garnish with grated nutmeg and a skewered piece of candied ginger.
*Pumpkin soda: Add 1 can pumpkin puree, 3 quarts water, zest of 6 lemons, 3 ounces maple syrup, 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, 4 whole cloves, 1 vanilla bean (split), 3 star anise pods and 4 cardamom pods to a large saucepan and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from heat. Allow to cool, then strain out the solids. Run the mixture through a soda maker to carbonate. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.