Sunday, October 2, 2011

headless horseman

1 oz Pisco (Macchu Pisco)
1 oz Pumpkin Syrup (*)
1 oz Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat)
Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass pre-rinsed with Becherovka liqueur.
(*) To make the syrup:
Pumpkin Syrup
• 1/2 pound Sugar Pumpkin (1 cup grated)
• 1/2 cup Sugar
• 1/4 cup Water (optional, see below)
Grate a 1/2 pound of sugar pumpkin to produce 1 cup of shredded material. Add pumpkin and 1/2 cup of sugar to a pot. Heat on a medium flame for 5 minutes while stirring. Add 1/4 cup (2 oz) water and simmer for 5 more minutes. Let cool and strain. Produces a syrup that is under 1:1 in sweetness. Skipping the water addition will produce a syrup closer to 1:1 which will work well in Sours and other drinks (or to make the Headless Horseman in a sweeter fashion). Aproximate preparation time is under 15 minutes.
For Thursday Drink Night on the Mixoloseum, the theme was Fall and I decided to prep for the event by making a pumpkin syrup. After trying a few different methods to make it, I found that the sugar extraction aided by heat did a good job of pulling out the pumpkin's juice. When I tasted the syrup, it had a funky, earthy, and herbal quality to it that I felt perfectly matched one of our piscos. French vermouth functioned well to dry out the balance a bit and a rinse of Becherovka added some extra fall spice.
For a name, I went with the pumpkin theme and called the drink the Headless Horseman. It started with a pisco and vegetal-herbal aroma. The sip contained the grape notes of the pisco followed by those of the vermouth, and the swallow was all about the sweet pumpkin with a lingering spice afterwards.


Ryan said...

One thing I tried last fall was to roast the sugar pumpkin before making a syrup out of it. I felt like I made it less green and vegetal than using raw pumpkin, and instead having more Maillard sugars for a richer taste. Perhaps your stovetop method achieves a similar end result.

frederic said...

I considered roasting it but time was ticking away before the Thursday Drink Night began, so I tried to the stove top method. The shredding and frequent stirring seemed to accelerate the heating. The sugar was also heated so it might've gotten more flavor that way (I was using Florida crystals which are dehydrated cane juice). Regardless, the firm flesh was rendered into something that quickly appeared limp and cooked.

frederic said...

In today's SeriousEats, they talk about making pumpkin homebrew taste like pumpkin. They write, "One thing that most brewers agree on is that the flavors come out the best if the pumpkin is cooked and caramelized. Whether you're chopping and mashing the pumpkin yourself, or you get it out of the can, it should be spread in a thin pan and baked for at least 60 minutes at 350°F. This will allow the sugars to start to cook, and give the beer the pumpkiny character that we're aiming for."

So your suggestion was definitely a good one.