Amateur cocktail guy has been away from the blog for awhile – big changes in the family as we moved back into our house after a year long renovation. In addition to the boxes to unpack and things to sort through, our internet service was unavailable (long story, come over for a drink and I’ll tell you about it). The cable was turned on yesterday and now the home network is almost up and running.

Yesterday the blog got a nice comment from our local paper’s food writer. I was inspired. The Amateur Cocktail Test Kitchen, now in it’s new home, was fired up and a celebratory Halloween cocktail created.

p bar

Halloween seems to lend itself more and more to drinks and parties. Of course, that’s after the trick or treaters are satisfied and safely indoors. Then we can begin. Drop dry ice into whatever you’re drinking and it’s a Halloween drink. That’s usually far enough. Another option is to use one of the black or bright red colored liquors to make your drink. Both of these tacks give you a visual treat but what about taste? We’re all about taste here, so we wanted something to capture the night, or better yet the season. Halloween is cold, with the slight mildew smell of wet, fallen leaves. Time for brown liquors, bourbon, cognac, aged rum. There are pumpkins too. They must be included.


The easiest way to make a new drink is to modify an old recipe. We’re fans of the sour around here (and David Embury who pointed out its utility as a base recipe). A good starting place for our drink. We also needed something a little salacious to make it Halloweeny. Here’s what we came up with:

The Pumpkin Spice

  • 2 oz brown liquor
  • ¾ oz fresh squeezed, strained citrus juice
  • ½ to ¾ oz Monin Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • drizzle of POM pomegranate juice

Shake and strain first three ingredients, drizzle POM into glass.


I mixed up several variations and enjoyed most. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Great aroma from the syrup.
  2. Don’t go higher on the syrup, the drink will got too sweet.
  3. Lime juice with rum, lemon juice with bourbon and cognac
  4. You can make grenadine from the POM by mixing equal parts sugar with juice, but the Pomegrante juice is preferred because it adds less sweetness and diffuses more within the base of the glass – it looks more bloody
  5. Adding some orange flavor would be nice, but Cointreau made it to sweet. Might try a dash or two of ornage bitters in future mixes, or adding in some Grand Marnier
  6. Add 1/4 to 1/2 oz of Goldschläger cinnamon schnapps to give it some zip
  7. Garnish? Sure, why not? Maybe candy corns on a pick, or here’s something cool: roast little marshmallows on a pick and use those

Mountain Java has a great selection of Monin syrups for sale (I still have to figure out what to do with my bottle of Roasted Chestnut syrup). If you can’t find what you need, try Monin’s online store.

They ship.


Yeah. First cocktail created in the new kitchen. Time to make preparations to try it out on Halloween.