Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autumn in a Glass: Squash Cocktail - I'm Not Kidding

I'm always looking for another way to use all the squash and pumpkins that pop out in the Fall. I thought I had tried it all until I landed on a recipe for a Squash Cocktail.

It's on page #35 in the very unique and exciting libation literature (recipe book for cocktails) by Greg Henry of Sippity Sup, called SAVORY COCKTAILS.
I was lucky enough to be given his book to enjoy, and after a quick flip through I knew I wanted to buy two more for gifts. 

Here are the words that cross the rich brown almost suede cover of Savory Cocktails: Sour Spicy Herbal Umami Bitter Smoky Rich Strong.  Its a great clue to the expansive range of recipes and information in this classy collection.

Maybe even more than the recipes, I appreciated the information in the first 12 pages.  It was like taking a mini-cocktail course that included a sprinkling of Greg's well-known sense of style and humor.

So, Squash.  In vodka.  Crazy sounding, right?  Maybe that's why I had to try it, too.  It was just too interesting to pass up. 
In the end, I got one glass of it.  I made the mistake of announcing to a room of friends during a viewing party for Discovery Channel's Gold Fever  (my son-in-law played one of the leads) that I had a very unusual treat brewing on the bar. 
The color was gold and it seemed to be perfect for the theme of the evening, so how could I resist sharing?

The infusion had taken days, but the rest came together in a flash of ice,lemon,lime and sage.  It was a hit and I looked like a bar tending pro (which I am not, so anyone can do this, trust me.)
I think we will be serving this as our adult "signature" drink for the late hours on Thanksgiving Day just before we hit the leftovers and start sharing embarrassing stories about each other.  The flavor is just a sweet hint of Butternut Squash with the loveable bite of a martini. Cheers and Blessings!

(from Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry)
1 small butternut squash
1 (750ml) bottle vodka
2 tbsp. Simple Syrup
1 tbsp. Freshly squeezed Lime
1 tbsp. Freshly squeezed Lemon
1 sage leaf, as garnish
1 big pinch ground Cinnamon
1 big pinch freshly grated Nutmeg
Make the Infusion: Roast a whole Butternut Squash in a 450F oven for about an hour until the skin is blistered. Remove from oven, set aside until cool enough to handle, but still warm. Cut in half and remove seeds and fibers. Pull off the skin and cut the flesh into 2" chunks.  Place the pieces in a large, nonreactive container or jar.  Add the Vodka while the squash is still warm. Cover and set aside in a dark area for 5 days, swirling the mixture occasionally.

Taste the infusion for pronounced squash flavor, then strain the liquid through a wire-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of damp cheesecloth, discarding the solids.  You can cover and refrigerate the liquid for up to 1 month if needed. There is enough "squash vodka" for several drinks.

Make a cocktail:  In a cocktail shaker 2/3 filled with medium ice cubes, combine 1/2 cup of butternut infused vodka with the simple syrup, lemon juice, and lime juice.  Shake vigorously until well chilled.  Strain into a chilled 6-ounce cocktail or martini glass.  Float a sage leaf on top.  Mix together the cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle lightly on top.  Makes 1