Pumpkin Chai MartiniPublished ~ October 6th, 2020 | Updated ~ March 28th, 2021
Author ~ Carl Busch
Tags ~ Vodka | Licor 43 |
Fall is my favorite season of the year. I would wear a hoodie and shorts year-round if given the opportunity. With fall comes a particular stereotype, which conjures images of women wearing knee-high boots, North Face vests, and pumpkin spice lattes in their hands.
Thanks to a notorious coffee company, pumpkin spice has become a staple of the fall season. But, you know what, it really is an excellent flavor for drinks of all kinds.
The brewery owner where I work knew a pumpkin spice something cocktail would be very popular with our guests. So, naturally, I agreed to make a cocktail that would incorporate the beloved flavor.
I started thinking about the best way to add a pumpkin spice cocktail to our seasonal menu.
After a couple days of messing around, experimenting like a scientist with different liquors and pumpkin puree, I came up with my version of the Pumpkin Chai Martini.
I made a light drinking martini with all of the staple fall flavors. I even managed to get something barrel-aged in there.
How to Make a Pumpkin Chai Martini
- 1 ounce heavy whipping cream
- 0.5 ounce licor 43
- 2 ounces vanilla vodka
- 4 ounces pumpkin chai puree
- mix all ingredients into tin
- add ice to tin
- shake for 15 - 20 seconds
- strain into a martini glass
Creating Chai Spice Mix
We have the better half of Alchemix to thank for the chai mix I use to make this cocktail. Really, she found a recipe through a Google search and tweaked it to suit her taste. We wanted to try to make chai lattes at home instead of spending $6 at our local coffee shop every day.
To be clear, they do make our favorite dirty chai lattes, and we love supporting them. But, spending $12 plus tip every time we want one is fiscally irresponsible.
In Dubuque, there is a local shop that sells bulk foods, spices, and baking ingredients. They have everything from different olive oils, coffee, spices, herbs, candies, and more.
We like shopping locally and supporting small businesses, so Riley bought some high-quality ingredients from the Calico Bean Market and developed our chai blend. It's probably not unique, but hey, it works for us.
I have used this chai mix in a couple different drinks at 7 Hills Brewing Co. because it doesn't highlight the boozy notes of the liquors I use. Since pumpkin and chai spices have many overlaps in the ingredients used, I figured I'd give it a go and use it in this cocktail.
Chai Spice Recipe
- 4 tsp Ground Allspice
- 3 tsp Ground Cardamom
- 3 tsp Gound Cloves
- 8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 10 tsp Ground Ginger
- 4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 2 tsp Black Pepper
Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup
At 7 Hills, we experiment with barrel-aging pretty much anything and everything like in Blaum Brothers barrels. It's really a beautiful partnership. One of these things is maple syrup. As you might expect, the outcome of this experiment was pretty delicious.
I used the bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup and brown sugar to sweeten the pumpkin puree, which provided just enough sweetness to balance and round out the pumpkin's flavor.
There are slight caramel notes, and the bourbon barrel's hint comes to the palate just so slightly. The bourbon flavor might be a little to light for some to taste, but personally, I like that is a smidge hidden in the back-end of the drink.
I know having barrel-aged maple syrup is tough and probably expensive to just have around in your home bar. So I tried using store-bought maple syrup, and it worked perfectly fine.
Try to make sure you use real, 100% maple syrup, instead of their high-fructose corn syrup alternatives, if you can. But, ultimately, you're looking for the maple syrup flavor, so use what you can since the maple is a secondary flavor in this cocktail.
Making Pumpkin Chai Puree
I could have gone out, bought a pie pumpkin, roasted it, and put it into a food processor to puree, but who has time for that. For this recipe, I just used your standard pumpkin pie filling you can buy at our local grocery store. It does the trick and combines well with the other ingredients.
I would love to use baked pumpkin, grilled pumpkin, or even smoked pumpkin at some point. Just because I want to see what other flavors can be pulled out or added to the depth and taste of this cocktail. For now, though, pumpkin pie filling does just fine.
There is a good reason pumpkin spice things are trendy this time of year. Pumpkin is a versatile ingredient that can support or be supported by many great spices and seasonings, but there's something about cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger that make it oh so good.
Pumpkin Chai Puree Recipe
- 1 16 oz can pumpkin pie filling
- 16 oz of water
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup boubron barrel aged maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of chai spice blend
- Combine pumpkin pie filling and water into sauce pan and bring to boil
- Add brown sugar, maple syrup, and chai spice blend and stir
- Bring back to boil
- Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
- Let cool
The flavors are warm and inviting. They make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and think of pie. Who doesn't love pie?
I hope you have fun making this cocktail and your inner basic-bitch enjoys this delightful seasonal option. I know mine does, and I don't even like pumpkin.
Let me know what you think and if you adapt the recipe. I would love to hear about ways you make this drink a fall staple in your bar.
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