Since Halloween is almost upon us, and since I’m still trying to convince some members of the anti-whiskey crowd to switch over, I thought I’d offer up another Autumn cocktail. I had two absolutes in mind when creating this drink: first, it had to have pumpkin in it, and secondly, I wanted to use Cooper River Rye Whiskey made right here in Camden, NJ. Cooper River Distillers is another one of the distilleries being featured during the first Philly Craft Spirits Week, starting this Thursday, October 27th. When I opened the bottle the aroma hit me right away: vanilla, honey, and spices. I found the same to be true with the taste; it was extremely smooth and I was picking up lots of spice, especially cinnamon and clove. I wanted to add an Amaro to the drink, just to give it some more depth and that elusive quality that comes from the fact that the Italians won’t tell us what’s in the bottle. The Amari are also spicy, and can be quite bitter, but I chose Amaro Montenegro because it tends to be the mildest (and the sweetest) of those that I’ve tasted. It’s also my favorite! To finish out the bitter side of the equation, I went with two dashes of aromatic bitters. Now let’s talk about the sweet side. To get the pumpkin flavor into the drink, I knew I wanted to use pumpkin butter rather than purée because I thought it would have more flavor and sweetness. I’ve seen it listed as an ingredient in other cocktails and it has always intrigued me. I also thought this was a perfect opportunity to use the Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup that I’d purchased from the Art in the Age store in Philly. I needed citrus to brighten everything up so I chose to go with orange juice; I love the way it works with the rye whiskey and the pumpkin. Finally, I decided to top the whole drink off with some pumpkin ale. I recommend going with one that’s more assertive than subtle when it comes to flavor, but you can take it in whatever direction you’d like.
It’s the Great Rye Pumpkin!
1 oz Cooper River Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro
1 tablespoon pumpkin butter
1/4 oz fresh orange juice
1/4 oz Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar Syrup*
2 dashes aromatic bitters
2 oz Pumpkin Ale
Orange strip for garnishing
Place all the ingredients except the orange strip and the pumpkin ale in the bottom half of a shaker tin and then add your 1 large cube and 2 small. Shake for 15—20 seconds or until cold. If you don’t have any large format cubes on hand, then fill the shaker 2/3 full with regular ice. Strain using a Hawthorne strainer and pour into an Old-fashioned glass with one large cube in it. Top off with the Pumpkin Ale and add your garnish. Enjoy!
*You can certainly substitute regular simple syrup here. Place equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan. Heat gently until dissolved and clear. Store in fridge.