When the leaves change from green to red and gold, and the winds pick up and the gray skies set in, then it’s time for warming whiskey and pumpkin-based drinks. The Let’s Pumpkin is a bourbon and ginger liqueur punch from New York City bartender Shawn Chen, who developed it while working as the beverage director at RedFarm and principal bartender at Decoy. It includes many quintessential fall ingredients, and is perfect for autumn parties, Halloween shindigs and any other excuse to celebrate the changing of the season with a hollowed-out pumpkin full of booze.
Like many punches, the Let’s Pumpkin is heavy on the prep time, which includes making a fall spice syrup, hollowing out a pumpkin to mix it in and smaller ones to serve it in, and optionally topping with a float of toasted meringue. If you don’t have the equipment or time to make the meringue, you can substitute store-bought marshmallow fluff. Similarly, you can use a more traditional glass punch bowl and glass mugs instead of pumpkins, though it does remove a lot of the drink’s autumnal charm. After all, who doesn’t enjoy drinking bourbon out of mini pumpkins?
- 18 ounces Elijah Craig bourbon
- 8 ounces Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
- 12 ounces apple juice
- 12 ounces lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 12 ounces pineapple juice
- 4 ounces fall spice syrup*
- 6 tablespoons Farmer’s Market organic pumpkin puree
- Marshmallow Fluff or toasted meringue**
- Garnish: 8 to 12 lemon wheels
- Garnish: 8 to 12 pineapple wheels
- Garnish: 8 to 12 cinnamon sticks
Serves 8 to 12.
With a serrated knife, cut open the top of a pumpkin, scoop out the seeds, and rinse out the pumpkin.
Add the bourbon, ginger liqueur, apple juice, lemon juice, pineapple juice, fall spice syrup and pumpkin puree into the pumpkin with ice and stir.
Add 5 lemon wheels, thinly sliced, and 3 pineapple wheels, thinly sliced, to the bowl for garnish.
Divide between 8 to 12 mini hollowed-out pumpkins or glass mugs
Top with Marshmallow Fluff or meringue and toast with a handheld torch.
Garnish each drink with a cinnamon stick.
*Fall spice syrup: Toast 2 teaspoons cardamom in a saucepan at medium heat. Add 5 whole star anise, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 5 diced stems of whole ginger root, 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves, 1 whole orange twist, 2 cups fine white sugar and 2 cups water, and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Let it cool for 30 minutes, and use a fine-mesh sieve to strain into a Mason jar. (Keeps in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.)
**Toasted meringue: Separate 5 whole eggs and place the whites in a large bowl. Beat the egg whites with an electric or handheld mixer until they become soft. Add 3 teaspoons sugar gradually as the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks. Use a large spoon to transfer the meringue into a plastic-coated pastry bag to squeeze the meringue onto each punch-filled glass mug or mini pumpkin.