So I came across a fabulous video and recipe by coffee expert and master barista James Hoffman for a homemade pumpkin pie spice syrup and since I unashamedly stand with Team Pumpkin Pie Spice in the the brutal Seasonal Culture Wars, I had to try it. Of course for me, trying it means tweaking it a bit. Mostly I just adjusted the spice ratios and water amounts. This stuff blew my mind and I wanted to share the results with you.

Below you’ll find my altered recipe for this amazing syrup as well as some dosing directions for use in a latte. I also encourage you to check out Mr. Hoffman’s original recipe here. You may like his proportions better than mine

Be sure to read through to the end. I’m including my own recipe for a pumpkin pie spice eggnog cocktail as a bonus.

Onward to the recipes.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Syrup


1 Whole Pumpkin (about the size of a cantaloupe)
3 tbsp Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
0.5 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Ground Allspice
2 tbsp Ground Ginger
4 cups Demerara or Raw Sugar
3 cups Water

Step 1: Juice the pumpkin if you have a juicer. Add enough water to get to 4 cups if you do. Otherwise, skin it, cut it into smallish pieces, put it in a blender and add enough water to just cover the chunks. Blend until smooth.

Step 2: Strain the blended pumpkin through a cheese cloth, nutmilk bag, or fine wire strainer. This should yield about 4cups of juice. Measure to be sure how much you have.

Step 3: Add the juice to a wide sauce pan (more surface area means more evaporation) and switch on the heat.

Step 4: Add the sugar. This should be equal to the amount of juice you had. ie 4 cups of juice =4 cups of sugar. Stir until fully dissolved.

Step 5: Grind and add the spices. Pre-ground is fine but fresh will shine through in the syrup much more.

Step 6: Stir and continue to heat until boiling then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Step 7: Let cool then strain through cheesecloth, nutmilk bag, or fine metal strainer into your favorite container. I used an old rye whiskey bottle.

That’s it!

This is just a syrup so feel free to use this in or on anything. Pancakes, ice cream, tea, whatever.  

For a large latte like you’d get at a Starbucks, I find that about 1oz of this syrup works best. It provides enough flavor to stand out without being too sweet. Your milage may vary. Use that amount as a baseline and experiment.

Now on to the NOG!

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Eggnog

I love eggnog and I prefer it with raw egg. If you aren’t up for it, I get it. Plenty of tutorials online for cooked eggnog variations. Or leave out the egg for a thinner but still tasty drink.


2oz Brandy, Bourbon, or Dark Rum (Kraken or Gosling’s would be perfect)
5oz whole milk
1 whole egg
1.5-2oz Pumpkin Pie Spice Syrup
Freshly Grated Nutmeg (If you’re fancy)

Step 1: Pour all ingredients save for the nutmeg into a shaker with NO ICE. This is called a dry shake it’s vital for the consistency of eggnog. Shake 100-150ish times. That should get it nice and frothy and velvety.

Step 2: Add ice to the shaker and shake until chilled.

Step 3: Add fresh ice to a tumbler and strain the nog over the ice.

Step 4: Grate a little fresh nutmeg over the top and serve.

Be sure to try a few of these and adjust the amount of syrup you’re using until you find your (literal) sweet spot.


With life feeling a little claustrophobic right now, I thought it might be nice to add a cocktail recipe to everyone’s list.

Aside from writing and music, playing around behind the bar is a major hobby of mine. A few months back, I stumbled across this strange concoction and to be honest, it’s one of the best I’ve ever created. I call it the Mutineer’s Bounty.

The storm rages outside. The captain is tied to the main mast and you’ve led the crew to a successful take over of the chip. Everyone is below decks eating heartily in celebration but not you. No, you’re in the captain’s quarters, you’ve raided his liquor chest, and your feet are up on the table. The experience is warm and rich. So much better than you’re used to, swinging in a hammock in the damp underbelly of the ship. Here, your senses are a blaze. You know theres leather and wood notes but are you smelling them or tasting them. The sweetness mellows everything out but your drink is still lively and bright. You’re not sure what you’re tasting but you’re damn sure you’re enjoying time collecting your bounty.

The ingredients in The Mutineer’s Bounty absolutely do not sound as it they belong together. A rag tag crew thrown together for a daunting mission. This drink starts off with of all things, a mezcal base. I really like Mezcal Unión Uno and highly recommend it. Along side the smoky yet fresh taste of the mezcal , amaretto mellows out the bite, like the godfather cocktail but south of the boarder. Then Kahlúa steps in to bring its own sweet bitterness to the mix. Finally, white creme de cacao (not white chocolate liqueur) smooths and blends the disparate flavors together. This is a drink that tastes like none of its parts but wouldn’t be nearly as good without this mishmash of ingredients. Here’s the recipe and I hope you enjoy.

The Mutineer’s Bounty

  • 2oz Mezcal (Mezcal Unión Uno)
  • 0.5oz Amaretto
  • 0.75oz Kahúla
  • 0.75oz White Creme de Cacao (not white chocolate liqueur)

Add ingredients to a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until thoroughly chilled. Pour into coupe or cocktail glass and garnish with a brandied or maraschino cherry. Enjoy.

The Negroni is possibly the perfect cocktail. Easy, classic, customizable, and complex. It’s as at home on the beach as it is in the snow, but its potent character isn’t for everyone. With a little experimentation however, it can be.

Like a lot of cocktails, the Negroni’s originator is much disputed but its place of origin is less controversial. The north of Italy is famous for amaro liqueurs, bitter, herbal concoctions used as aperitifs and digestifs. Among their ranks is the incomparable Campari, the one ingredient that’s an absolute must for making a proper Negroni. Its bright red color and bitter bite help give the cocktail its signature flavors.

Aside from the inclusion of Campari, one other aspect of this drink is paramount: the ratio. A Negroni always follows a 1:1:1 ratio of Campari, gin, and sweet/red vermouth. That simple math is what makes this drink so easy. Adjusting for size is a breeze when its just 1:1:1.

So we know we need Campari and we know our ratio, now it’s time to customize. The wide variety found within the worlds of gin and vermouth make tailoring the Negroni for your own tastes a journey worth taking. Like things dry and less sweet? Opt for Beefeater Gin and good old Martini and Rossi. Maybe you prefer your drinks on the mellow and sweeter side? Hendricks Gin and Dolin Rouge is a good bet. The options are endless and finding the right gin and vermouth combo will leave you with a recipe you can trust for life.

I like my Negronis spicy and sweet. Here’s my go-to recipe:

1 part The Botanist Gin
1 part Punt e Mes Vermouth
1 part Campari.

Just add the ingredients to a glass of ice and stir. Now you have about 90% of a proper Negroni. It’s more than drinkable at this point but not yet perfect. For that you need fire!

Garnishes are often overlooked when making cocktails at home. In my opinion the Negroni just isn’t complete without its garnish: the flamed orange peel.

Once you’ve built the drink in the glass and it’s properly chilled, peel a decently sized slice of orange rind and and strike a match or lighter. Now, hold the flame over the glass and squeeze the peel, sending the orange oil through the flame and onto the surface of your drink. This is more for your nose than your tongue but the toasted oil makes all the difference for this drink and really makes it shine. Just whatever you do, do not stir the cocktail further. DO NOT STIR IT! Leave that smokey orange oil on top. Its scent in your nose and the taste of the drink on your tongue is such an amazing combination. Don’t skip the orange peel. Who doesn’t have a little pyromaniac in them? Let that fire starter have some fun.

This is one of my all time favorite drinks and it’s too easy to make and the ingredients are too easy to find not to give it a whirl. Enjoy!