Tag Archives: fall drinks

Where I’ve Been…

Photo from The Hartford Courant

So in case you were wondering as to my absence online for much of this past week, I’ll attribute a lot of it to the fact that Connecticut was hit with a major storm that knocked out power for over 800,000 CT residents – I was one of the very lucky few to be without power for seven very chilly nights. I have more photos to upload still, but Steve posted some on the other blog, if you care to give them a glance. So, without further ado, here are two drinks I did have an opportunity to enjoy while making a carefully-crafted beverage was still an option:

Give ’em Pumpkin!

A Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate - perfect for a cozy fall evening.

We take for granted the ability to heat up liquids to make warming beverages. In this case, it was boiling some milk for a chilly evening’s hot chocolate.

To my hot chocolate, I added in one part of Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur as per the sage advice provided by Will Gordon (you can read his insights on the Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Liqueurs here). It was delightful and added a subtle, but darling taste of vanilla, pumpkin and graham cracker.

Additionally, having ice to shake a proper cocktail also fails one when power is gone for days and the freezer stops running (though I probably could have used snow on the ground the first day or so…). But for a pre-storm Halloween party, the Pumpkin Cocktail made another debut but, this time, without the use of either cream or half and half. I enjoyed making this cocktail for party guests without the creamy texture and also reveled in not providing yet another orange beverage (thank you, Kahlua) on the bar menu.

A Pumpkin Cocktail perfect for Halloween party-goers.

For my Pumpkin Cocktail, perfect for pleasing those in the crowd with sweeter palates, we just measured equal parts of Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice, ABSOLUT Vodka and Kahlua Rum &  Coffee Liqueur. For garnish, a bit of Pumpkin Pie Spice (or cinnamon will do just fine and dandy, too) on top is all you will need.



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Midnight Martini Photo Shoot

Mouth watering yet? It should be. This “Friday’s Feature Cocktail” was among the top picks in our office happy hour where I stirred up a variety of Caramel Apple cocktails. To help whet your appetite a bit more, here is the cocktail recipe for the Midnight Martini, featuring Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur:

Midnight Martini:

  • 3/4 part Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur
  • 3/4 part ABSOLUT Vanilia
  • 3/4 part Kahlua Rum and Coffee Liqueur
  • 1 part Half & Half

Shake with ice and serve in a chilled martini glass.

Also, for garnish, I dusted a bit of ground cinnamon on top.

I highly recommend taking this one for a test drive at your own home bar!


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Your Perfect Pumpkin Spice Martini

Fall: 'Tis the season for mixing perfect Pumpkin Spice Martinis!

I was flipping through a copy of Hartford Magazine in the Restaurant Review section where one of the more recently adopted topics is featuring a signature drink on a local restaurant cocktail menu. Upon opening the October issue, I was thrilled to see featured a Pumpkin Spice Martini served up at Abigail’s in Simsbury, Connecticut.

And that got me thinking. Pumpkin Pie or Pumpkin Spice, call it what you may, there seem to be a lot of tweaks and variations to the classic pumpkin martini using pumpkin liqueur. And why wouldn’t they?! The ease of having a sweet, all-natural pumpkin liqueur on hand such as Hiram Walker that also envelops flavors such as vanilla and cinnamon is beyond useful if you don’t have the time yourself to make your own pumpkin syrup (though I have found online that Fred offers a very handy recipe if you want to take a stab at it yourself!).

So what is your ideal recipe for a perfect Pumpkin Spice Martini? Here are a few examples:

As Abigail’s manager Frank Ruffalo shared in the Hartford Magazine (the article isn’t online but you can read other content from the current issue here), his recipe for a Pumpkin Spice martini is as follows:

  • 1.5 oz Three Olives Vanilla Vodka
  • 1.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • 1.5 oz Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
  • .5 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum

Shake ingredients and strain into a martini glass rimmed with a mixture of crushed graham crackers, cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg.

Or there’s this one: Stephanie Kromat, a district manager for spirits and wine supplier Pernod Ricard, told Sauce Magazine early this year that equal parts of Kahlua, Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice and Half & Half was her ideal recipe for the perfect Pumpkin Pie Martini, served chilled in a martini glass rimmed with crushed graham cracker.

And personally, I have grown partial to this particular Pumpkin Pie recipe for the handful of times I may stir up one of these bad boys each year. The addition of the Butterscotch gives it a real nice caramel-y flavor.

Pumpkin Pie Martini:

  • 1 part Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
  •  1/2 part Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
  • 1/2 part Hiram Walker Butterscotch Schnapps
  • 1/2 part Half & Half

Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish and serve.

If you have a great Pumpkin Pie recipe to share, I’d love to see it shared here on the Cocktail Culture blog. Or, better yet, you can enter your recipe into the Hiram Walker fall cocktail contest of The Quest for a chance to win an Apple iPad – the contest is open to entries submitted before October 31.


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More Halloween Drinks: Get Your Pumpkin On

Pumpkin EaterPumpkin cocktails are a no-brainer for a Halloween party or Fall get-together. One easy way to get that pumpkin flavor is with Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice. Here’s a couple of tasty drinks that call for the seasonal liqueur:

Pumpkin Eater:

3/4 oz. vodka

3/4 oz. Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice

1/2 oz. Amaretto

3/4 oz. Irish Cream Liqueur

Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour ingredients as listed and stir.

Hot Pumpkin:

1 oz. Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice

1/2 oz. Kahlua Coffee Cream

Fill with hot coffee

Preheat mug. Pour ingredients as listed. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice (you know you’ve got some lying around!). Enjoy!

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The Fameuse Cocktail by Darcy O’Neil

fameuse-cocktailThis post is the last in a series that profiled participants in the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition and their drink entries. The winner of the contest will be announced later today!


I met Darcy O’Neil earlier this year, over a delicious breakfast at Brennan’s in New Orleans. What a nice guy! Part brainy bartender, part mad-scientist, Darcy is the mind behind Art of Drink.  He’s kind of a big deal. People know him (if you don’t get the reference…please ignore).


Seriously though, Art of Drink has got to be one of the most popular cocktail blogs on the web. It is there that Darcy shares newly-created cocktail recipes, spirits reviews, in-depth historical cocktail research, and a scientific spin on spirits. His Tales of the Cocktail presentation on Sensory Perception & Mixology was great (and it appears he’ll be giving a similar session at The London Club if you’re lucky enough to be around on Nov 27th…wait…why on Thanksgiving?…oh yeah…Canada).    


Darcy was kind enough to throw his hat into the ring for the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition with this lovely drink:


Fameuse Cocktail by Darcy O’Neil:

1 oz Bourbon (he used Buffalo Trace)
½ oz Gingerbread Liqueur
½ oz Jerez Fino Sherry (he used Tio Pepe)
3 oz Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
3 Dash Angostura Bitters

“Instructions: In a double old fashioned glass packed with ice, add all of the ingredients and stir until chilled. Garnish with an apple slice. This drink can also be served warm, but I prefer it chilled. It’s versatile.”


I’m all about using apple cider this time of year & I think it pairs well with the gingerbread. Darcy actually covered this cocktail so make sure and check out his full explanation. And remember—the winner of the contest will be announced later today!

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Lance Mayhew’s November Rain

november-rainThis post is a part of a series that will profile participants in the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition and their drink entries. The winner of the contest will be announced the week of Thanksgiving.


Lance Mayhew, a founding member of the Oregon Bartender’s Guild, describes himself as a “corporate drone by day, bartender by night,” and blogs about his love of cocktail culture on My Life on the Rocks. From Portland, Lance writes about his favorite cocktail books, new craft cocktail creations, product reviews, and stories from behind the stick at 50 Plates. He’s a great mixologist who’s passionate about his work so check out his site for some great insight into the biz.


November Rain, Lance’s entry into the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition was the very first submission I received. It’s simple, straightforward, and features the great pairing of rye & Gingerbread. Give it a try!


November Rain by Lance J. Mayhew:

3oz Rittenhouse 100 proof rye whiskey
1 oz Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
3 dashes Regans Orange Bitters

Chill, serve up with an orange twist.

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Camper English gives us Fall Sunshine

camper-englishThis post is a part of a series that will profile participants in the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition and their drink entries. The winner of the contest will be announced the week of Thanksgiving.


If you are at all in-tune with cocktail blogs and/or the San Francisco drinks scene, chances are you’ve already heard of spirits writer Camper English and his booze blog Alcademics. One of the most frequently-updated blogs on my reading list, Alcademics provides clever commentary on the drinks industry, new brands, upcoming events and more.


Despite recently labeling himself a bar (pre)tender , I think Camper holds his own with his contribution to the Hiram Walker Gingerbread Cocktail Competition, Fall Sunshine.

Fall Sunshine by Camper English:


2 ounces Hornitos Anejo tequila

1 ounce Hiram Walker Gingerbread liqueur

¼ ounce Cointreau Noir

¾ ounce orange juice


Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake thoroughly. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.


A blend of the Cointreau we all know and Remy Martin cognac, Cointreau Noir sounds perfect for the fall/holiday season, and seems like it would pair quite well with the vanilla and spice of the Gingerbread Liqueur. Don’t forget to check in here Monday to see if Fall Sunshine takes the top prize!


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