This Portland Cocktail is the Anti-Pumpkin Spice Latte

American Local shows off the lighter side of fall drinking.

By Benjamin Tepler October 19, 2015 Published in the November 2015 issue of Portland Monthly

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Autumn lovers, surrender your woolen sweaters and decorative gourds. This is not a boozy offshoot of some precious pumpkin spice latte. Despite its lofty cream dome and freckled nutmeg shards, the Pumpkin Pie cocktail at SE Division Street’s American Local is round, light, melon-flavored, and decidedly undessertlike. Bar manager Brett Adamson says the trick is raw butternut squash: “It’s cleaner and fresher than a roasted purée.” Adamson juices a whole squash, mixes it with cinnamon-and-clove-spiced simple syrup, and spikes it with a pair of fruity and butterscotchy rums before shaking it all together with egg white and half-and-half. The result? A frothy stunner that celebrates the season without getting bogged down in eggnog clog. Take that, Starbucks.

American Local’s Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

(Makes one cocktail)

  • 1 oz squash-spice simple syrup*
  • 1½ oz dark rum (Adamson recommends Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva)
  • ⅛ oz Stroh 80 liqueur or Appleton 151
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ oz half-and-half
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Nutmeg for garnish

COMBINE Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake “dry” (no ice) for a minute, or until frothy. Add a scoop of ice to the shaker and agitate a minute longer. Strain into coupe and top with fresh-grated nutmeg.

*Squash-Spice Simple Syrup

  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and juiced (or puréed in a blender and strained)
  • 2 cups demerara sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • ½ whole nutmeg seed, grated
  • star anise

COMBINE Add everything but the squash juice and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Let syrup cool to room temperature and strain. Mix 4 parts butternut squash juice to 1 part spiced simple syrup. Simple syrup will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

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