Fall Cocktail Hour = Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

by Zehorit Heilicher, Tastemaker in Residence  

The golden hues of fall inspire many dishes on our table at this time of year. Burnt orange pumpkins, golden yellow butternut squash, just to name a few. Even our spice usage follows the same palate: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves are the undisputed culinary stars of this season. In a recent newsletter from Tasting Table, I found, to my delight, a cocktail recipe in the same flavor profile. It does require some planning ahead, but can be multiplied to please a crowd and the results are worth every minute of your anxious anticipation!

Here is the recipe, with a minor adaptation and a few suggestions for use.

Enjoy and please remember to drink responsibly!

Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

Recipe adapted from Tasting Table

Yields 4 cups


1 tsp whole clove

1 tsp whole allspice

¾ tsp white pepper

4 cinnamon sticks

1 whole nutmeg

One 2-inch piece ginger, thinly sliced

2½ cups vodka

2 cups sugar

1-cup water


In a small skillet, toast the clove, allspice, white pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg over medium heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer to a sealable quart jar with the ginger and pour in the vodka. Seal and steep for 2 days, shaking the jar every 12 hours.

After 2 days, strain out the solids and transfer them to a small saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves, 2 minutes. Let cool completely.

Strain the syrup into the jar with the infused vodka and shake to combine. Serve on the rocks, in a cup of coffee or stirred into your favorite cocktails.

Cook’s Notes

* I invert the simple syrup ratio and use 2 cups water to 1 cup sugar. I find that it is plenty sweet.

Suggestions for use:

  1. The simplest: pour over ice, top with tonic water, a squirt of lemon juice and add a lemon wedge.

  2. Spike coffee or hot tea with the spiced vodka.

  3. For a delicious fall drink add to your favorite apple juice. We also like this with peach nectar, pineapple juice or iced tea