While pumpkin isn’t the most commonly used ingredient in bartending, there are a number of cocktails that do utilize falls’s most iconic squash. The Smashing Pumpkin, from bartender James Horn, gets its pumpkin infusion with a homemade lemon-pumpkin soda. Combined with rum and allspice liqueur, two consummate autumnal flavors, the unconventional highball is a fall treat that’s enjoyable year-round.
While the Smashing Pumpkin is easy enough to put together once you’ve got all of its parts ready, the real work is in making the lemon-pumpkin soda. First off, you’ll need a soda siphon. While these devices can be pricey at times, you’ll appreciate having one on-hand if you’re making a lot of highballs at home, or even if you enjoy having club soda around the house but don’t want to constantly buy—and subsequently throw out—cans and bottles. Any kitchen supply store should have one, or you can turn to online markets if not.
Secondly, you’ll need some pumpkin puree—you can easily buy a can at the store, especially during the holiday season, or you can make your own. Roasting your own pumpkin and pureeing some of its flesh is a great way to ensure that there’s enough moisture content to work with the soda siphon. If you’re opting for canned pumpkin, you may need to use extra lemon juice and water in the soda. Either way, be sure to mix the ingredients of the soda before adding them to the siphon to ensure it all comes out evenly.
Once you’ve got your lemon-pumpkin soda, the rest of the recipe is straightforward and can easily be made in batches for parties and other gatherings. And, while the Smashing Pumpkin calls for an aged rum, you can always switch it out for your preferred spirit. Brandy and whiskey would work well with the allspice liqueur and pumpkin, while vodka would make for a lighter, brighter highball.
- 1 1/2 ounces aged rum
- 1/2 ounce allspice liqueur
- 3 ounces lemon-pumpkin soda*, chilled
- Garnish: bay leaf
Add the rum and allspice liqueur to a Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with the lemon-pumpkin soda.
Garnish with a bay leaf.
*Lemon-pumpkin soda: Add 12 ounces pumpkin puree (canned, or to make fresh, roast seeded pumpkin at 350° Fahrenheit for 45 minutes and puree in a food processor), 4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice and 2 ounces water to a shaker and shake to thoroughly incorporate. Add mixture to a soda siphon and charge with 1 CO2 cartridge.