Gingered Pumpkin and Rum Cocktail

Sugar and spice, and everything nice
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Gingered Pumpkin and Rum Cocktail
Photo: Rachel Vanni/Tasting Table

With the holidays approaching and family time nearing, we’re prepping with a pumpkin cocktail that will help get us through it all. We’ve taken two of our favorite ingredients—pumpkin and booze—and combined them for a drink that will have you bonding with Uncle Bob like never before.

Johnny Swet, mixologist for The Rickey in NYC, developed this pumpkin cocktail exclusively for TT embracing all the best this season has to offer. Muddled ginger is shaken with pumpkin butter, cinnamon syrup and rum for a spiced cocktail sure to get you in the holiday spirit. "The inspiration was really just trying to translate a cocktail into fall flavors: pumpkin pie, cinnamon, ginger, spices and, of course, rum," Swet tells us.

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What is pumpkin butter, you ask? Made the same way as apple butter, pumpkin is cooked low and slow until thickened into a rich paste akin to softened butter. “It adds an intriguing complexity and earthiness, as well as viscosity to the cocktail, without being overly sweet,” Swet explains. While you certainly can make your own pumpkin butter, you can also easily find it in the jam and preserves section of most grocery stores.

As for the rum, that was an easy choice of spirit when Swet was developing the cocktail with a Caribbean twist in mind. "Pumpkin and sweet potato are often used in the cuisine, as are nutmeg and spices, so for me it seemed like a nice pairing for a rum cocktail," he explains. Swet also explains that though these flavors pair well with most brown liquors, you should feel free to experiment with aged mescal, tequila and whiskey as well.

This cocktail is also perfect for batching—and all your holiday entertaining needs. Just be sure to give it a stir once in a while, since the pumpkin butter will settle to the bottom.

To make the cinnamon syrup, bring ½ cup of granulated sugar, ½ cup of water and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook until the sugar has dissolved, then let cool completely. Keep a container of the syrup on hand to add some fall spice to your bar cart any way you please.

Check out our favorite fall cocktail recipes.

Gingered Pumpkin and Rum Cocktail

Recipe adapted from Johnny Swet, The Rickey, New York, NY

Yield: 1 cocktail

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes


¼-inch piece ginger, peeled

2 ounces aged rum

¾ ounce cinnamon syrup

½ ounce orange juice

½ ounce lime juice

2 teaspoons pumpkin butter

3 dashes Angostura bitters


Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Orange twist, for garnish


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger. Add the rum, cinnamon syrup, orange and lime juices, pumpkin butter, bitters and ice. Shake well, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg and an orange twist, then serve.

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