Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spherified Pumpkin Balls - Engineer Pub

Pumpkin Spherification
Four thousand seven hundred ninety-nine miles away from me, at the Engineer Pub in London, "pumpkin balls" are being prepped for Halloween cocktails.    This brilliant image shown here came via twitter, with the tease, "Making pumpkin balls for Halloween..."   I replied hoping for more information, and got a quick response adding, " mango bellini cocktails with 'spherefied' mango to celebrate the night of the wicked and weird!"

Spherification has been a hot topic in the high tech cooking circles over the last couple of years.   Seattle has been the epicenter of some of the experimentation that has been taken place.  I've been meaning to experiment with spherification but hadn't made it there yet.   Seeing this picture provides some great incentive.

If I left for London now, I think I could make it in time...

Update: This just in....  Here is the cocktail with the pumpkin balls.

Via: The Engineer Pub

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Liqueur, The Final Product - Bottling and Labeling

Pumpkin Liqueur - Bottled and Labeled
If you've gone to the trouble of making your own pumpkin liqueur, the final step is to bottle and label it.   I've tried a few variations over the years and here is my latest effort.    The bottles, label paper, and shrinkwrap caps all came from a local brewing supply company, and I designed the labels and printed them on a basic inkjet printer.  

The labels are easy, they can be laid out in most any word processing program and printed to the special label paper which has a water soluble glue on one side.  Cut, wet, and place the labels being careful not to get the ink damp, as it can bleed or run.  I also put small labels on the back with my recipe notes for the particular bottling as I'm always experimenting and refining the recipe.

Filtering of your pumpkin liqueur is the hardest part to achieve a professional looking product.   Even after extensive filtering, you'll likely find a layer of sediment at the bottom of your bottles after a period of time.

The final touch that really makes them look pro, is to add a shrinkwrap sealing cap.   These are the same caps used on wine bottles and they come in a variety of colors.   Just slide them on and shrink them (carefully) with a heat source, such as a heat gun, hair dryer, propane torch, or even your stove top.
Pumpkin Liqueur

Monday, October 15, 2012

Best Halloween Cocktail - The Pumpkin King Cocktail

Pumpkin King CocktailI just learned something new about cocktails today while reading a book about bitters. It seems that for a drink to be called a cocktail, it must have bitters as one of the ingredients.   And while this particular drink may not be my overall favorite Halloween drink (hard to beat the pumpkin martinis), it is my new favorite Halloween cocktail.

I've already blogged about this particular drink in a previous post which has a video by local bartending guru Jamie Boudreau.   In his video, he shows how to make a pumpkin beer liqueur, followed by the Pumpkin King Cocktail, which uses the pumpkin beer liqueur as an ingredient.   I've experimented with this drink in several variations now so I'd thought I post the recipe directly with some minor variations.

The Pumpkin King Cocktail

  • 1-1/2 oz. Blended Scotch Whisky (Jamie suggests Pigs Nose, I used Old Crofter)
  • 1/2 oz. Pumpkin Beer Liqueur (Jamie used the liqueur he made in the video which is excellent, I used my own homemade pumpkin liqueur)   If you use mine, increase the amount closer to 1 oz.   Jamie's is very sweet in comparison to mine, so use a little more.
  • 1/2 oz. Lime juice (my preference based on my ingredients was to use a little less)
  • Dash of Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters.  I couldn't find this locally, but I found Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters, which sounds similar and smells and tastes amazing!   More like Halloween than the Island spices it wants to be.  I preferred two dashes, though don't go any further, it is definitely bitter if overdone.
  • Ginger Beer
Add ice to a cocktail shaker, add the whisky, lime juice, bitters, and pumpkin liqueur.   Shake well.   strain into an ice filled collins glass, then top up the glass with ginger beer.   Stir and garnish with a lime slice.  That's it, but I suggest watching the video to see the master at work.

This drink is an amazing fall cocktail.   Its flavor is rich and unique, but its complexity is what makes it so fascinating.   I found myself flinching at the thought of lime as I watched the video, but it works really well.   And I'm now a new-found bitters fan.   There will be more to come on the topic of bitters.

This drink still needs one thing in my humble opinion, a proper Halloween garnish -- the bane of so many Halloween Drinks.  Once again, I'll have my eye out for a proper garnish for this one.

Original cocktail recipe and video via Jamie Boudreau.  Bravo!
 
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