The Pumpkin Pie

The Bar at the Astor LoungeThis evening, my friend Laren (@sweetblogomine) and I joined Jonathan Pogash for his Cocktail Lab class at the Astor Center Lounge. I’ve mentioned Jonathan here before (he was the source for our post on the Maple Plum Sparkler), but to refresh your memory, Jonathan is a cocktail development consultant, and the beverage director for Hospitality Holdings (which manages a number of major bars here in New York, including the Campbell Apartment and Bookmarks Lounge).

I’ve taken a number of classes at Astor Center in the past, and they’ve all offered an opportunity to learn a great deal from some of the country’s most talented mixologists. Be sure to check out their full calendar; if you’re in the area, I highly encourage you to give one a try. Jonathan’s class is actually offered monthly, so you can definitely take that one. If you’re just starting out, I’d suggest the Home Bar Basics course.

In any case, Jonathan’s class tonight was really about developing new cocktails – how to come up with your own recipes using classic cocktails as a guide, but also taking advantage of fresh, seasonal, and often unique ingredients. As an exercise, we broke up into groups and were each given one ingredient that had to make an appearance in whatever cocktail we developed. As long as that ingredient was included, everything else was up to us (think Iron Chef meets… something with booze.) Laren and I paired up, along with another member of the class, and were asigned Averna as our key ingredient.

Averna is a classic Italian liquer, often served as a digestif. It’s very herbal – almost bitter – with hints of citrus and caramel. We figured this would make for a great addition to an autumn cocktail. The result: The Pumpkin Pie

Here’s what you’re going to need:

1 1/2oz Rye (we used ri1, which has a nice spice to it)
1 bar spoon Averna
1 bar spoon maple syrup
1 bar spoon pumpkin puree
1/4oz orange juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 dash of pumpkin spice (the supermarket kind; a blend of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, etc.)
1 egg white
1 orange peel (for garnish)

I know – that’s a lot of ingredients. But many of them are things you probably already have sitting around the house (if not, they’re certainly available at your local grocery store.) Once you have all the ingredients, simply combine everything in a mixing glass.

Pumpkin PieBecause of the egg white in this, we did a double shake. That means that we combined all the ingredients in our shaker *without* ice, and shook well for about 10 seconds. Then we added ice, and shook well for another 15-20 seconds. The result, thanks in large part to the egg white, is a nice foamy cocktail, the consistency of which certainly brings pumpkin pie to mind!

We garnished the cocktail with a flamed orange peel. A regular orange peel will do, but flaming the peel helps to caramelize the citrus oils, giving a nice depth of character to the taste. If you’re unfamiliar with how to flame an orange peel, Jeffrey Morgenthaler has a great walkthrough on his site.

The result: a lovely autumn cocktail, with flavors of pumpkin, spice and maple. I hope you like it!

So thanks to Laren (@sweetblogomine) for a fun time; to Jonathan Pogash for the great instruction, and Astor Center, for hosting the class in such an awesome space!

While I have you – a public service announcement: Laren has actually organized a great event in the Astor Center space next Monday, November 2nd. The event is a fundraiser for the NYC chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), and will be presented in conjunction with the folks from Chartreuse (including Chartreuse Brand Ambassador Todd Richman and Chartreuse Diffusion President Jean Marc Roger). I’ll be there for sure – I encourage you to join us as well. Tickets available from the Astor Center website.


Tags: angostura bitters, astor center, averna, cocktail, egg white, jonathan pogash, maple syrup, orange, pumpkin, rye

One Response to “The Pumpkin Pie”

  1. Jonathan Says:

    Josh- thanks for your posts. Always a pleasure seeing you! Great blog!

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