Pumpkincello

Inspired by this recipe, I have been infusing pumpkin in vodka for about a week. I thought about using it as-is, but I’ve been on a big limoncello kick lately so I wondered if I could make a pumpkin-y beverage for fall. Indeed, you can! If you remember my previous post on limoncello, I made a creamy version which was delicious (it’s mostly gone now). This pumpkincello is pretty incredible too: I toasted the spices and added them to the creamy simple syrup, but you can also put them in with the pumpkin to infuse if you want your spice flavor to be much stronger. As an added bonus, roast your pumpkin seeds with maple sugar and salt for a tasty snack.

Update: A very good question was raised that I neglected to mention: refrigeration! Definitely store the finished product in the fridge. I let mine steep outside of the fridge and it came out fine, but if you are worried about it you can definitely store it in the fridge for every step. I feel like it will keep longer if you do it this way. I’m starting on another batch and planning to store it in the fridge as it steeps just to be extra cautious!

Pumpkincello infusing. I had two tiny pumpkins, hence the color variation.

1 pie pumpkin
1 liter vodka (depending on the size of your container and your pumpkin, you may have some left over)
12 allspice berries
1 green cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick
grating of fresh nutmeg
2 c whole milk or soymilk (can replace with water for non-creamy drinks)
1 c sugar

-Cut up the pumpkin. Remove the seeds (I rinse them and toast them, but you do what you want). Reserve the flesh and strings.
-Put the flesh and strings into a non-reactive container, and pour vodka over them to cover.
-Let sit for at least a week (the longer it sits, the stronger it gets).
-After your vodka is infused, pour it through a strainer to remove the pumpkin. You can strain it again through cheesecloth if tiny pumpkin bits in your drinks bother you.
-Toast the spices in a cast iron skillet until fragrant, and put in a saucepan.
-Add the sugar and milk and heat over medium-low to medium (stir occasionally) until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
-Strain the spices from the milk, then add to the vodka. Pour into pint jars for holiday gifts or be selfish like me and hoard it all in a larger bottle in your fridge!

This recipe is on Punk Domestics!

Creamy Pumpkincello
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13 responses

  1. This sounds delicious. I’d like to try this out. I make limoncello all the time, but I have a bumper crop of pumpkins that I need to use up. I’m a little confused by the last 2 ingredients. You list 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of sugar at the very end, even though you have listed 3 cups of milk and 1 1/2 cups of sugar before that. Do you add more milk and sugar later in the process?

    • Oh my–well I should change that. The correct measurements should be 2 c milk and 1 c sugar. I was playing around with proportions and forgot to take the first ones out when it came out a bit weak. I’ll change it right now–thanks for pointing it out!

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  3. Hi Julia. I made my pumpkincello yesterday and it didn’t turn out as I had hoped. Maybe I did something wrong. It really didn’t pick up any color from the pumpkin, so the final product just looks like milk. The flavor of the spices came through (I added them to the milk mixture, not the infusion) but the pumpkin flavor tastes more like cucumber. I used raw pumpkin. Was I supposed to cook it first? It seems like that would give more flavor and color to the infusion. I think I’m going to try blending it with some pumpkin puree to up the color and flavor. I also included the seeds even though you said to take them out. They were too difficult to extract from all the stringy stuff. Any other thoughts?

    • I’m sorry it didn’t turn out like you hoped! I used raw pumpkin as well and mine definitely had pumpkin flavor. It colored the vodka too, although once milk was added it was very pale. Did you use one of those small pie pumpkins? That’s the only thing I can think of that would have impacted how the raw pumpkin tastes. You could definitely try cooking it or adding puree, although since I haven’t done either of those things I can’t speak to how it will alter the final product. You could try roasting the pumpkin, which would concentrate the flavor. If you end up trying it, let me know how it works! I wonder if other people have had similar experiences with pumpkin infusion–I’ve had pretty good luck, but that could partly be the pumpkins we have available here. At least the spices came through, so that’s positive. Sorry I don’t have any more suggestions–next time I buy a pumpkin I might try infusing vodka with roasted pumpkin.

    • I’m sure you could! I’m not sure how much exactly, but it would be fun to experiment with. Maybe start with a small can and go from there?

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