Pumpkin Pie Drinks

Pumpkin Pie Drinks. The favourite of the bunch: Pumpkin Pie Punch.

Pumpkin Pie Drinks. The favourite of the bunch: Pumpkin Pie Punch.

Jack-o’lanterns are as traditional in our home at Halloween as candy and costumes. The kids and I sit around on newspaper scooping seeds and guts, drawing designs and then I dutifully do the cutting so that my two kids save their fingers from injury. We’ve made up to four pumpkins some years, each one created by and reflecting the personality of the designer, often fun and silly, sometimes animals, and the first years more like a Picasso or modern art piece as I try to make sense of the scribbles and swirls that are supposed to represent eyes and mouth, ears and nose and sometimes hair. But it’s about expression, and the sky is the limit.

On halloween night while all the kids are out gathering an abundance of tummy aching, mind buzzing, mess creating candies from neighbours and friends here is a beautiful quiet drink to calm the mind and soul: Pumpkin Pie Punch

In order to come up with the best recipe, sans alcohol, I went first to see what people are mixing up. The common theme was to use pumpkin puree, vanilla (by way of vanilla vodka), simple syrup and whipped cream. Other additions included using a cream liqueur along with whipped cream. Pumpkin Lattes blend similar ingredients (pumpkin puree, milk, sweetener, vanilla) with pumpkin pie spice and coffee. Lattes are served hot and often recommend straining the pulp as part of the process.

So what to do? We tested four combinations.

The first was the most simple, designed to taste close to a pumpkin martini or a drink called the Smashing Pumkin. Both these can be found here. True to the technique of a latte I mixed pumpkin juice (strained puree) with half and half cream in a 3:1 ratio, splashed in some simple syrup for sweetness and a drop or two of pure vanilla extract. Like a cocktail, I shook this with ice and served it over more ice. One child liked it, but it was super mild and milky. Not really something great when the alcohol is removed.

Second test: add pumpkin pie spices, brown sugar and make something incorporating the pulp – thick and sweet. This was declared “like drinking pumpkin pie” and claimed as a contender. Ok. If it is gonna be like pie, it aught to have whipping cream on top and a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg. Yummy!

2014-10-28-by-eye-for-detail-002-2Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

While this is called a smoothie, it doesn’t use ice cream, crushed ice or yogurt. The thickness comes in the pumpkin puree and the whipping cream.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp Pumpkin Pie Puree (recipe below)
  • 2 tsp simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • 1 oz whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Whipped cream
  • ground cinnamon or nutmeg
Procedure:

Mix first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a espresso cup and top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of spice of your choice. Serve.

My Thoughts:

I loved this, and I wasn’t expecting to. The idea of drinking pumpkin puree cold seemed odd, not sure why after tasting it, since the taste and texture of this was delightful. Kids liked the drink, but it didn’t rate as the favourite for either of them. Second place for one daughter (the eldest) and hubby, didn’t rate for the youngest, and rated first for my choice.


Pumpkin Pie Puree

2 cups water
3 cups fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Procedure:

When making fresh pumpkin puree, cut your pumpkin up into chunks and toss it into a large pot with plenty of water. Boil until tender and let cool. Peel the skins off the pieces and toss the pulp into a blender. Process until finely pureed. Measure out 3 cups for the puree next step and save the rest for other pumpkin needs (soup, cake, muffins, pies).

Next return the three cups puree to the pot, add remaining ingredients and cook until brown and bubbling (about 5-10 minutes). Remove from heat. Divide this batch in half. Use the full puree as is for Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, or strain a portion (about half) to make Pumpkin Pie Punch. (see below)


Pumpkin Pie Punch

Naming this next drinks was a challenge. What do you call a drink with no bubbles, no alcohol or no bitters? Well since pumpkin is a fruit (yep!) let’s call it a punch. This drink is very similar to the smoothie, but in order to try to remove the thickness added by the puree, I strained it and used just the liquid. The thicker pulp is destined for muffins later this week when my daughter and I work on some baking together.

Ingredients:
  • 3 oz pumpkin spice juice (Pumpkin Pie Puree strained)
  • 1 oz whipping cream
  • 2 tsp simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Procedure:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice. Strain over ice into a old fashioned glass and serve.

My Thoughts:

The flavour of this drink is similar to the smoothie but the pumpkin is less distinct. The spices come across more strongly in this, as does the sweetness. I can see serving this with a cinnamon stick for a garnish (should have thought of that when I was shooting the picture) to dress it up, or serving it hot like the latte – for those who don’t like coffee.

My youngest preferred this option the best as did my husband. The other two family members gave it a second place. Of all the drinks this had the best overall rating.

The last drink we tried was a slush version of the smoothie. Because the flavours are very mild, this simply diluted the flavour and dulled the senses with the cold to the point where the drink failed to impress any of us. In fact it didn’t get consumed at all. So much for that idea! And why make things colder than they need to be at halloween, poor kids are out in the cold up here in the north, fighting snow and slush to knock on doors and say trick or treat!

If you see my kids – a black cat with silver ears and a purple caped action figure – ask them how they like being test subjects for their mom’s wild drink inventions. To the rest of you… Happy Halloween!

One thought on “Pumpkin Pie Drinks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s