Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Hey, Gourdgeous

Image: Céline Bossart

According to NYC bartender and consultant Joanna Carpenter, mini pumpkins are more than just throwaway fall décor. If you have the time (and an efficient scooping tool), this recipe, along with its over-the-top edible vessels, should be at the top of your list for winter kitchen experiments.

This recipe originally appeared as part of “4 Warming Crock-Pot Cocktail Recipes to Try at Home.”


  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into chunks
  • 16 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • 12 oz Real maple syrup
  • 4 oz Fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 8 Cinnamon sticks
  • 8 Star anise
  • 1 tbsp Whole cloves
  • 1 tsp Ground nutmeg
  • 1 bottle Apple brandy (750 mL)
  • 1/2 bottle Amaro Montenegro (375 mL)
  • 6 Spiced-butter-brushed baked mini pumpkins*
  • Garnish: Grated cinnamon
  • Garnish: Cinnamon stick


  1. In a slow cooker, add apples, lemon juice, maple syrup and 8 oz water, then top with ginger, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and nutmeg.

  2. Stir, then cover and cook on high for one hour.

  3. Add apple brandy and amaro, and gently stir to mix. Cover again and cook on high for another hour. Turn to low to keep warm and serve as needed.

  4. *Spiced-butter-brushed baked mini pumpkins: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice off tops of 6 small pumpkins and hollow out insides, making sure not to scoop the walls too thin. Arrange pumpkins on a baking sheet cut side down and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the insides are mushy. In the meantime, in a shallow saucepan on medium heat, add 2 sticks of salted butter, 4 cinnamon sticks and 1 tsp ground nutmeg. When butter is melted, stir in 1 cup packed brown sugar until completely mixed. Keep warm on very low heat so the mixture doesn't burn. Remove pumpkins from oven, and turn them cut side up. Let stand to cool for 10 minutes. Brush spiced butter over inside of each pumpkin before pouring warm cocktail from slow cooker into each pumpkin.