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This Pumpkin Cocktail has all the best flavors of fall in one delicious cocktail. It’s perfectly spiced, made with vodka and homemade vanilla bean pumpkin syrup, then garnished with candied pumpkin seeds and a cinnamon sugar rim.
Easy Fall Cocktail Recipe
One of my favorite things about fall and the start of the holiday season is I get to start brainstorming all the fun things I want to make!
Fall-themed cocktails are so fun to play around with. There’s just so much room for creativity…and fall flavors. Two of the best things!
This Pumpkin Smash Cocktail is pumpkin spice heaven. It’s infused with sweet spices, sweetened with a homemade vanilla bean pumpkin syrup, and topped off with crunchy candied pepitas.
- Vanilla Pumpkin Syrup: we’re making a homemade vanilla pumpkin syrup with just a few simple ingredients.
- Vodka: I use Stoli Gluten-Free Vodka
- Spices: mix of cinnamon, ginger, and maple sugar
- Toasted Candied Pepitas: for garnish!
- Cinnamon Sugar: we’re using a mix of cinnamon and sugar to garnish the rim.
- Sparkling Water: you can use sparkling lemon water or plain sparkling water. Whatever you prefer!
Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Syrup
- Pumpkin Puree: make sure you use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Filling will be much sweeter.
- Water: things the syrup just enough.
- Sugar: use coconut or maple sugar to sweeten.
- Vanilla Bean: scraped to add fresh, real vanilla flavor.
How to Make Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Syrup
- Combine and cook: Mix all the syrup ingredients in a saucepan, then bring to a low boil until the mixture reduces by half.
- Strain and cool: Strain the syrup through a cheesecloth, then cool.
How to Make a Pumpkin Cocktail
- Roast the pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds): Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds with cinnamon and maple sugar. Roast for 5 minutes.
- Mix the drink: Fill a shaker glass with ice, then add syrup, vodka, and spices. Shake well.
- Make the rim: Dip the rim of your glass in lemon juice, then dip into the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
- Pour and serve: Pour the cocktail into your serving glass, top it off with sparkling water, then garnish with your roasted pepitas.
Tips and Notes
- Don’t burn the pumpkin seeds! They really only need a few minutes to roast perfectly, so don’t walk away for too long. We want them a little caramelized, NOT burnt.
- Wet the rim. The key to getting the cinnamon and sugar to stick is to wet the rim with a little bit of lemon juice.
- Use fresh bubbly water. The point is to give the pumpkin cocktail a little fizz. Make sure the carbonated water you use is freshly opened.
- Don’t mix! Once the drink is assembled, do not mix it. You’ll just make the bubbles flat.
- Make it a mocktail. Just leave out the vodka and use all bubbly water.
This pumpkin smash cocktail is delicious to sip on all on its own, but if you’re serving it for a dinner party, then get crazy with all the fall recipes!
Making Ahead of Time
Once your fall cocktails are fully assembled, they are definitely best served right away. However, there are a couple of ways you can prep ahead of time:
- Make the syrup. The vanilla pumpkin syrup will keep in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for 5-7 days. Feel free to make it ahead of time so it’s ready to go when you’re serving up your drinks.
- Roast the pepitas. Roasted pepitas will last in an airtight container on the counter for up to 2 weeks, so go ahead and make them way in advance. Just try not to snack on them too much. 😉
More Fall Cocktails You’ll Love
Pumpkin Smash Cocktail
- 1 ounce Vanilla Pumpkin Syrup
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1/2 teaspoon mix of: cinnamon ginger, maple sugar
- Toasted Candied Pepitas for garnish
- Cinnamon Sugar for rim
- 1 can sparking lemon water or plain sparkling water
Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Syrup:
- 1 16 ounce box pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup water more as needed
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar or maple sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean scraped
- For the Vanilla Bean Pumpkin Syrup: (makes 1 cup) Bring to a low boil until reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Strain using a cheese cloth and let cool.
- Pepitas: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of pepitas with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of maple sugar. Roast for 5 minutes tossing halfway through and watching to avoid burning.
- Cocktail: Fill a shaker glass with ice. Add the syrup, vodka, and spices. Shake vigorously.
- Drench the rim of your glasses with lemon juice. Dip glass rim into a cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Pour in cocktail. Top with the sparking water. Garnish with pepitas.
This Post is sponsored by Stoli Vodka. I only partner with brands that I 100% personally support.
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