2 Halloween Party Recipes

It's extremely out of place for this blog to dispense any useful information. But in preparing for our fourth annual Pumpkin Carv-A-Thon, I've recently made two homemade beverages which turned out so well that I have to share them here.

Pumpkin Martini

Make this at least three days in advance; pour a standard 700ml bottle of decent vodka into a jar and add a few cubes of fresh pumpkin, along with 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 a nutmeg, a few pieces of whole allspice, and a couple of thin slices of ginger. Seal. Taste teste every day or two, removing or retaining elements as needed. (I recommend removing the pumpkin after three days, otherwise it gets too intense). Strain when ready.

To serve, coat the rim of a martini glass with triple sec and dip in a mix of equal parts pumpkin pie spice and bar sugar. pour 1 oz. of pumpkin-infused vodka and 1/4 oz. triple sec (or cointreau) into an iced cocktail shaker for every serving. shake and strain into glasses.

Pumpkin Ale
I've made this several times since 1996, and through all the trial and error I've arrived at this seasonal beer which is very light on the malt and hops, allowing the pumpkin and spices to stay in the foreground. I started it three weeks ago and tried an advance bottle just now, which has surpassed all expectations. It's too late for you to have this ready for this year's Halloween party, but not too late to buy a pumpkin at the supermarket and start brewing:

7 lb. Light Malt Extract (liquid)
1 lb. 2-row pale malt
1 lb. cara-pils malt
7 lb. whole pumpkin
1 oz. of 5 AAU cascade hops
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup corn sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

cut pumpkin lengthwise into quarters. Scrape out seeds and stringy bits. Roast in a 350 oven until soft all the way through (@30 minutes). Cool, peel off the skin and put the rest through a food processor.

do a partial mash with the crushed 2-row and cara-pils in 1 gallon of water, maintain at 154 degrees for 45 minutes.

Bring to a boil with malt extract, all of the pumpkin and the cascade hops. Boil for 60 minutes. In the last couple minutes add the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon.

Cool and pour through a colander to strain out larger pumpkin pieces (finer pulp will strain through). After cooling to @75 degrees, pitch the yeast (I used american ale powdered yeast in 1 quart of starter, prepared two days earlier) . Ferment for one week. Rack to a secondary carboy (expect more trub than usual, due to the pumpkin), ferment for 1-2 more weeks.

For bottling, boil the additional pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon with the corn sugar.

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