It’s Still Headless Horseman Season

It’s time to slow down and savor Holiday Present and try not to move so quickly on to Holiday Future. While Christmas decorations have started to appear before Thanksgiving and some even alongside Halloween fare, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves and take a little break to enjoy some more flavors of the here-and-now.

Before the rum industry was transported to the Caribbean, rum was first distilled in the American colonies—which is where the classic Halloween tale of Sleepy Hollow is set. This riff on the Hot Buttered Rum by Ryan Magarian with Chad Solomon and Christy Pope, which appeared in Drinks magazine, kicks it up a notch with the seasonal tastes of spiced pumpkin.

This recipe includes simple syrup made with Demerara, also known as Turbinado sugar, which is a raw cane sugar. Its crystals are coarse and brown, with a rich molasses flavor.

Is the pumpkin pie merely a memory? Whether you have guests in town to entertain or can enjoy a little extra time to relax and whip up a warming cocktail, you can savor some seasonal spiced pumpkin flavors in this grown-up drink and raise a glass to the Thanksgiving season before everything turns all sugar plums and peppermint. Hey, it would be a good choice for the upcoming holidays, too—not to start looking ahead or anything. Cheers!

Headless Horseman

Makes 1 cocktail

2 oz. dark rum
1 tbsp. Spiced Pumpkin Butter (see recipe)
1/2 oz. Demerara simple syrup*
Hot water to fill
Garnish: Cinnamon stick

Mix all ingredients (except garnish) in a large mug and stir a few times to melt the butter. Garnish with the cinnamon stick.

Spiced Pumpkin Butter
1 lb. (4 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 15-oz. can pure pumpkin
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 c. dark brown sugar

Mix together all of the ingredients in a food processor or mixing bowl. Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper and spoon out tablespoon portions onto the wax paper. Cool in the refrigerator; remove 30 minutes before use.

*To make Demerara simple syrup, combine equal parts water and Demerara sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool, store in sealed container, and refrigerate.

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.