There will be plenty of times in the next month when you’ll need cocktails. Throughout the season there are get-togethers with friends, family, coworkers, book club—you name it—and different cocktail recipes in your repertoire are sure to impress. Whether you want to get creative and whip up sustainably sourced syrups and mixers or a quick punch, I highlight recipes here from Smirnoff and Minnesota’s own Prairie Organic Spirits that mix in flavors of the season including pumpkin, cranberry, pomegranate, apple, and cinnamon.
The recipes from Prairie Organic Spirits are by their bartender partner, Tyler Allen, who is a bartender at Fig + Farro, a Minneapolis restaurant that serves all vegetarian and vegan food to combat climate change. Allen incorporates sustainable elements into his cocktails, including organic ingredients like Prairie Organic’s spirits and leftover ingredients (think cranberry sauce from holiday dinner or the seeds from pumpkin). Cheers!
Prairie Cranberry Smash
2.5 ounces Prairie Organic Gin
1.25 ounces Cranberry Sauce Shrub
0.25 teaspoon local medium amaro
organic rosemary sprig, for garnish
orange twist, for garnish
For the Cranberry Sauce Shrub
1.5 cups cranberry sauce
1 cup organic red wine vinegar
30 inches fresh organic rosemary
1 cup water
For the Cranberry Sauce
12 ounces organic cranberries
1 cup organic sugar
juice from 4 organic oranges
For the Cocktail: Combine all ingredients in stirring glass with ice and stir. Strain into coupe glass. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprig and orange twist.
- Cranberry Sauce Shrub: For every 1.5 cups of leftover cranberry sauce, add 1 cup red wine vinegar and 30 inches of fresh rosemary. Combine in a pan over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, watching carefully so as not to boil. Strain and cool.
- Cranberry Sauce (if no leftover sauce available): Combine cranberries, sugar, and orange juice in a pot. Save the orange rinds for garnish. Cook over medium heat until the cranberries start to pop open, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Prairie Pumpkin Punch
1.5 ounces Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka
1 ounce organic pumpkin puree (store-bought or make at home—see notes below)
0.5 ounces organic maple syrup
2 dashes organic vanilla extract
6-10 organic sage leaves, (3-5 for muddling; 3-5 for garnish)
3 roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish (directions below)
Cocktail: Muddle sage leaves in a tin with maple syrup. Combine with rest of ingredients and ice; shake. Double strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with roasted pepitas and fresh sage.
- To make pumpkin puree: Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the stem of a pie pumpkin, split it in half, and remove the seeds and fibers. Save seeds for later use. Sprinkle flesh with salt and lay flesh-side down on silicone lined pan. Cook until knife tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove and cool. Remove flesh from the skin and process flesh in a food processor until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
- To toast pepitas: Toss the pumpkin seeds in olive oil and roast in oven at 325°F until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and immediately toss with preferred blend of spices (cinnamon, garlic, chili, coriander, nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin, dill, anything).
Maple & Spice Sipper
2 ounces Prairie Organic Vodka
0.5 ounce organic maple syrup
0.5 ounce organic apple juice (store-bought or make—see notes below)
0.25 oz local Fernet
1 bar spoon organic fair-trade coconut cream
3 slices peeled organic fair-trade fresh ginger, quartered
2 apple slices, for garnish
freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon, for garnish
Cocktail: Muddle the ginger with the maple syrup in a tin. Once ginger is fully smashed, combine the rest of the ingredients in tin with ice and shake. Double strain into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with two layered apple slices and nutmeg and cinnamon.
- To make apple juice: Wash and quarter 2 pounds of apples. Save some slices for garnish. Place in a pot (core, seeds, skin, and all) with just enough water to cover (too much and juice will be diluted). Bring to a boil and cook until the apples are soft, about 15 minutes. Mash the apples completely and strain through a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Save the leftover pulp for apple sauce, apple leather or pie filling.
- To make Ginger/Nutmeg/Maple Syrup (optional): Use 0.75 ounces of this syrup instead of muddling the ginger with plain maple and adding grated nutmeg garnish. Combine 1 cup of 1/8-inch thick fresh peeled ginger slices, 1 ounce ground nutmeg, 3 cups maple syrup and 3 tablespoons water in a large saucepan and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, cool, and store. Save ginger to candy. Use syrup in cocktails, or over pancakes and waffles.
- For Maple/Nutmeg Candied Ginger (optional): When straining ginger/nutmeg/maple syrup, leave just enough syrup to cover the ginger, return to pan, add 1 and 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for an additional 45 minutes. Strain the syrup into the rest of the ginger/nutmeg/maple syrup. Spread the ginger on a cooling rack for about 2 hours, until it’s sticky but not wet. Toss the ginger in maple sugar (or any sugar you prefer) and spread back on the cooling rack and leave overnight.
Pomegranate Prosecco Punch
Makes 11 servings
33 ounces pomegranate juice
8 ounces Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
25 ounces Prosecco
4 ounces pomegranate arils
orange slices and mint, for garnish
Stir together pomegranate juice and Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka in a large punch bowl. Stir in Prosecco. Add orange slices and arils. Serve garnished with orange slices and mint.
Makes 1 serving
1 ounce Smirnoff Vanilla Vodka
1.5 ounces Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice
5 ounces heavy cream or non-dairy alternative
honey, ground cinnamon, and pumpkin spice, for rimming glass
cinnamon (or cinnamon sugar), star anise, cinnamon stick, for garnish
Dip the rim of a glass into honey, then into the cinnamon and pumpkin spice powder, coating the edge of the glass. Pour Smirnoff Vanilla vodka and Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice into glass filled with ice. Top with creamer. Garnish with star anise, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.
Caramel Apple Cider Cocktail
Makes 1 serving
2 ounces Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka
5 ounces apple cider
0.5 ounce lemon juice
honey and ground cinnamon, for rimming glass
apple slices and cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Dip the edge of a martini glass into honey, then into the cinnamon, coating the rim of the glass. Pour Smirnoff Caramel Kissed vodka, apple cider, and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Pour into the prepared glass and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon stick.