When I decided to organize a virtual ghost hunt in the haunted Winchester Mansion with my Engineering department I knew I would need the perfect cocktail to accompany the spooky festivity. Don’t wait for an escape room experience though, this deliciously delightful pumpkin smore cocktail is the perfect treat for any Autumn-inspired event. This drink will be the star of the show at any large or small gathering from August through December!
We start with vodka. There isn’t a perfect vodka for a white russian, or for any other drink, at least in my experience. Vodka is the least interesting of all alcohols, and for good reason. It’s meant to be as colorless, odorless, and flavorless as possible. It’s kind of like tofu… It absorbs the flavors it’s mixed with. For this drink I used New Amsterdam because it’s reasonably priced and I happen to love New Amsterdam Gin, so brand loyalty won out. Feel free to use Tito’s, Grey Goose, or whatever version of vodka suits your fancy.
Kahlua. It’s a coffee flavored liqueur, and if you ask Alexa what a “lick orrr” is (be sure to use a fancy accent when asking) she’ll tell you “Liqueur is a usually sweetened alcoholic liquor (such as brandy) flavored with fruit, spices, nuts, herbs, or seeds.” Is coffee a nut or a seed? It’s a bean, right? Liquor with beans. Yummy. But no, really. It’s delicious. I promise. Keep reading.
For this drink I wanted to bring in everything Autumn. Brief story time: I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables on PBS, and it always seemed to be broadcast every Autumn. I have so many fond memories of a a magical place on Prince Edward Island where the seasons dictated your routines and Autumn in particular always seemed the most mystical and promising of all seasons – new school year, new possible friendships, baked pies, hearty stews and turning in early for good conversation around warm fires. For those reasons, both Anne with an ‘E’ and Autumn and pumpkins are forever my favorite things in all the world.
For this signature cocktail we are doing pumpkin puree, cinnamon, brown sugar, cream, nutmeg,
sepia-toned family photos at the apple orchard, and grandma’s apple pie. The pumpkin puree is the star of the show here – it adds a velvety texture to the drink that marries the alcohol with the spices in a way that excites and surprises your palate.
What is a fancy cocktail without a dressed up rim? For this pumpkin s’more white russian we go all out with a rim of brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and crushed graham crackers. You’ll want to skip the straw on this one because the rim is outrageously delicious and adds additional depth to the cocktail. The brûléed marhsmallow and cinnamon stick bring all the flair, but the rim itself brings all the flavor.
The first step is preparing your rim. In a ziploc bag crush some graham crackers together with a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar (light or dark doesn’t matter) and some cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour it out onto a plate so you can easily dip the rim of your cocktail glass into it. Run your glass under water beforehand so the mixture can adhere easily to the rim.
Time to channel your inner mixologist and pull out your shaker. If you don’t have a shaker you can always pour the ingredients directly into your mason jar and add a lid, shake, and then serve.
To the shaker add your alcohol. I like to eyeball but if you’re not a free-spirited chaos-loving Aquarius like myself and you’re into numbers and measurements, go ahead and call it two ounces of vodka and two ounces of kahlua.
I like to add the cream next because the stark white of the cream against the dark kahlua creates a striking image as the colors blend together. I worked at Starbucks back in my college days, and making iced caramel macchiatos was my favorite beverage to create as a barista for the same reason – watching the espresso and caramel make velvety paths through the cream beneath it was always a sight to behold.
Next up is the STAR OF THE SHOW – the pumpkin puree. Any brand will do as long as it’s 100% pumpkin puree. Honestly, if all you have is a can of pumpkin pie, who cares? Throw it in there with wild abandon. What possible harm could more cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg do? Use what you have. I have experimented with 1 tbsp, 2 tbsp and 3 tbsp of pumpkin puree and to be honest, the more pumpkin the better. Let your heart guide you here.
Now add a cover and shake what your mama gave ya. Shake it til the cows come home. Just shake it off. Shake it good. Because now we’re going to slow-pour that rich, pumpkin, creamy delightfulness into your perfectly decorated glass.
I know it looks delicious and you really want to drink it, but please pause. We are adults here and we appreciate beauty. It’s time to add the extras. I used some kitchen tongs to hold a marshmallow while i singed it with a candle lighter. You might be more high-brow and have a real kitchen torch – if you do, use that.
You’re nearly done! Add the brûléed marhsmallow to your drink, stick a rustic cinnamon stick in there, open Instagram and take the best ever selfie because it’s Autumn and you’re FANCY.
- Pumpkin Puree
- Half & Half
- Brown Sugar
- Graham Crackers
- Add 2 graham crackers to a ziploc bag along with 2 tbsp of brown sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg. Use your hands to crush to a fine mist.
- On a plate pour out the crushed graham cracker mixture
- Find a cocktail glass (I use mason jars, you don't have to be too fancy)
- Wet the rim of the glass by running it under water.
- Place your glass upside down on the plate with the graham cracker mixture and move it around to coat the rim with a thick layer of the mixture.
- Add ice to a shaker
- Pour 2 ounces of vodka to the shaker
- Pour 2 ounces of Kahlua to the shaker
- Add 2 ounces of cream or half & half to the shaker
- Add 2 tbsp pumpkin puree to the shaker
- Sprinkle in desired amount of cinnamon and nutmeg
- Add cap to shaker and shake vigorously.
- Pour slowly into your prepared glass.
- Use a tool to brûlée a marshmallow to your desired doneness
- Add marshmallow and a stick of cinnamon to your glass
- Drink and enjoy!