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Stolen Post: How-To: Make Your Own Pumpkin Flavored Vodka

September 17, 2009
So, my whining has been loud and clear. I have not been feeling so hot this week. However, I’ve gone from 1/2 dead, to solidly back in the 1/2 alive arena and no, I was not sick with the swine variety of flu.

I hate taking sick days when I’m actually sick – I so prefer them to be “Mental Health Days.” But when I am feeling like crap, there’s a few well-placed (dare I say traditional) things I end up doing.  

Among the highlights:
  • Watching enough episodes of Law & Order SVU to hold me over for a lifetime. And be in perpetual fear of the innocent, innocent lives of our children, elderly, and prostitutes. Because if we don’t protect them, they are obviously going to be murdered at the hands of depraved NYers.
  • Make cookie dough to eat… raw. Because there are few things in this world as comforting as a spoon full of cookie dough.
  • And speaking of spooning, quality cough time with the dogs. Brodie is – bar none – the best pillow in the world. And Shelby seems to think that the medical solution for everything is licking my neck. And she would be correct.
  • Catching up on correspondences. Yes, I’m doped up on meds! Yes, I’m only able to see straight if I close one eye and apply pressure to my left temple. Regardless, expect some mail, peoples! 

But I successfully pulled off one other feat – something mirroring productivity! I made me some pumpkin-infused vodka. And if I can do this while drinking copious amounts of Theraflu, rest assure that this was as easy as (pumpkin) pie (ha!).

  • Start with a mason jar or other large sealable glass container – they have these everywhere – Acme, Walmart, art stores… you name it, they have it.
  • Scoop in about a cup and a half of pumpkin pie filling
  • Fill the container with vodka and allow it to sit in the fridge for a week
  • Filter the vodka/pumpkin slurry through a coffee filter set in a kitchen strainer and it’s good to serve.

If you’re not keen on the artificial pumpkin flavor, you could easily make a more natural infusion. The process is similar but it takes a little more elbow grease and fridge time:

Instead of aging the vodka in pie filling, scoop a healthy amount of the soft fleshy insides of a real deal pumpkin, being sure to keep seeds and woody pumpkin guts out of the jar (you want to infuse the vodka with pumpkin flavor, not seed flavor)

  • Spice the whole mix with two tablespoons of cinnamon, a tablespoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of cardamom, and, what the hell, a tablespoon of brown sugar.
  • Top off your container with a bottle of vodka, shake, and age for two weeks.
  • Since the ingredients are more natural, it takes a little more time for pumpkin flavors to be pulled out by the vodka.
  • When your vodka is infused to your liking, strain using the same method listed above.

Now, this is the “hard” part. Occasionally sample the flavor of your concoction during the aging process as your success depends so much on your personal taste. Yeah, that’s right – drink some vodka… oooooo, so hard. The longer it sits, the more the booze will draw out the flavor. As to the quality of vodka that you use, that is up to you. Mid-quality is usually the best; instilling a vodka that smells like rubbing alcohol will only yield pumpkin infused rubbing alcohol and using an expensive brand of vodka seems like a waste of premium spirits.

Autumnal cocktail ideas for your newly infused vodka are aplenty: Try using your vodka with some chai tea and vanilla liquor for a delicious martini (hit the rim with some cinnamon sugar); or try it on the rocks with some cream and chocolate liquor, or just do what the pilgrims did and drink it straight from the cornucopia.
Thanks to howto.wired.com for the tips on infusion.

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