You guys really pulled a fast one on me with the poll last week. It was a perfect tie between gin and rum! What’s a mixologist to do?
At first I tried to come up with a drink that had both gin and rum in it, but that proved to be pretty hard. Drinks do exist that use both, but they have a pretty specific flavor profile. Most of them weren’t really in the Halloween spirit so I thought it would be easier and more fun to just make two cocktails: one with rum and one with gin.
Frankly, both turned out better than I was expecting due to some awesome simple syrups.
1) For pumpkin syrup, just mix all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then chill and use. It will store in the fridge fine for a week.
2) For pumpkin martini, wet rim and run it around some cinnamon sugar. Then shake ingredients together with ice and strain into chilled glass.
3) For vampire blood, combine ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce the mixture down by about 1/3 which should take about 20 minutes. Chill and use or store for up to 2 weeks.
4) For cocktail, mix gin and club soda over ice. Pour over vampire blood mixture and garnish with lime.
It’s Halloween and I just had to try to mix pumpkin into one of these cocktails. Anytime you’re trying to mix in a flavor with a drink, it’s usually best to try to make a simple syrup out of it which will make it easy to mix into things.
I was a bit worried that the pumpkin wouldn’t mix well due to it’s lumpiness…
But after I started stirring this mixture together though, I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. The pumpkin just kind of melted in with the sugar and after a few minutes of simmering I had this surprisingly smooth syrup that I knew would work great in a cocktail.
One Note: For the pumpkin, be sure to use just 100% canned pumpkin. Don’t use the pumpkin pie filling stuff. That stuff has all kinds of crazy stuff in it.
Shake It Up
While you could make this drink on the rocks (over ice) if you wanted, it seemed a bit more elegant to make a real martini out of it. That’s means you’ll need a shaker set of some sort if you don’t have one.
A Bartender’s Trick
If you want to know a hint to watch for to see if your bartender is a good one and cares about the drinks they are making, see how they handle the glass. A good bartender will always always chill the glass. That means that if the glasses aren’t kept in a refrigerator, they will ice and chill every single glass that they pour into.
It only takes a few seconds and really helps keep your drink cool for as long as possible.
At the last minute, I decided to add a cinnamon sugar rim to the glass also just to play off some of the pumpkin flavors. Not essential, but a fun little touch.
Just wet your glass with a paper towel and then run the rim in the cinnamon sugar. After that, just add your ingredients to your shaker with some ice and shake shake shake. Or stir stir stir. Whatever.
It’s a pretty drink and really tasty. I think if I made this again, I might try it with spiced rum instead of white rum.
Vampire Blood Cocktail
Ok. Onto gin land! This is Halloween play on gin and juice basically. I wanted to make a blood red syrup and then add it to a gin soda and I figured it would be cool looking and delicious.
You’ll need some red stuff to start. I used real, pure cranberry juice, but you could also use pomegranate juice.
See those withered flower things down there? Those are hibiscus flowers and they turn things bright red and give them a light floral taste. I love them in cocktails.
Here’s an up close look at these weird things.
They kind of look like what I would imagine vampire flowers would look like actually.
Anyway, just like the pumpkin syrup, just mix all these together and bring them to a simmer. The only difference is that with this one you want it to simmer and reduce for about 20 minutes to thicken it up a bit.
A Chill Tip
For both of these syrups, they are best when they are cold. They will take hours to cool off completely in the fridge. What I like to do is set up a bowl with some ice water in it and then put the syrup in a smaller bowl inside the larger bowl. Stir the syrup and the ice water in the outer bowl will chill the syrup down in just a minute or two.
Back to the cocktail!
Then just add your gin and club soda (or tonic) to a tall glass with ice and a small shot of the vampire syrup and you’re all set!
Feel free to garnish with a lime and some fangs!
Both of these drinks are freakin’ delicious and you better bet that I’m going to be having one or two of both over the Halloween weekend.