Look, not everything this time of year needs pumpkin.
But cocktails … surprisingly, yes. There is at least one great pumpkin cocktail in the world.
We found it at The Rickey, a new craft cocktail bar on the main level of the Dream Midtown Hotel in New York (a bar named, oddly enough, after a D.C. lobbyist who closed his deals over drinks).
It is currently in your correspondent’s personal top five cocktail bars in the world.
The “Smoked Cocktail” at the Rickey was crafted by mixologist Johnny Swet (Cafe Clover, Rogue & Canon, etc.), a man responsible for such inventive libations as the Jerry Lee Lewis (a high-end, deconstructed version of Fireball) and the Bourgeois Pig (potato vodka, bacon elixir and shaved black truffle ... because why not).
The Smoked Pumpkin is a surprisingly smoky blend of mezcal, pumpkin butter, vodka and smoked salt and bitters (“for flare”). And you can make it easy enough at home.
“I came up with the Smoked Pumpkin while trying to come up with a spin on a fall margarita,” says Swet. “I realized the smokiness of the mezcal was a nice foil for the sweet spiced pumpkin butter. The cocktail is really a study in balance, the smoke of the mezcal meets the tart of the lime juice with the back note of the Ketel Orange vodka. The sweet pumpkin with spices and the brightness added by the Maldon flaked salt all together makes for a nice harmonious fall sipper.”
If you’re going to have harmony around your holiday table, start with a few of these.
• 1 oz. Ketel One Orange Vodka
• 1 oz. Ilegal Mezcal
• .25 oz. Lime Juice
• 2 spoons of Pumpkin Butter (you can buy it in a jar or make it in 20 minutes here)
• 2 dashes of orange bitters
Garnish with orange twist and smoked salt. Serve on the rocks