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Cocktail Crafty



A Love Affair With Fall

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Calm down, you're still a ways away from Christmas. I'm talking about Fall! And with Tuesday, September 23rd, marking the official beginning of the fall equinox, I'm longing for everything fall related.

From the sound of the leaves crunching under my feet. To the smell of wood burning everywhere you go. Football, postseason baseball, sweater weather, boots, I love them all. It also helps that I look good in fall colors. But the best part of fall is, of course, PUMPKIN SEASON!

It’s Pumpkin season. The pumpkin latte is back at coffee houses everywhere. Bars have already begun featuring pumpkin ale on their taps. And I’ve been itching to make some pumpkin spice cocktails.

Pumpkins are actually in season from September - March. But my heart doesn’t start yearning for that beautiful squash until the weather turns cool and the leaves hit the ground.

This season I decided combine my love of pumpkin with my new infatuation, chai. I fell in love with Chai Latte's while waiting for my Pumpkin Spice Latte to return. (Sidenote: Why am I just now learning about Dirty Chai Lattes. A chai latte with an espresso shot? Sign me up!!) 

I wasn't surprised to see some of the same spices in pumpkin spice also in chai tea. No wonder I like chai so much. It's like pumpkin spice's Indian cousin.

Pumpkin Chai Syrup

2 cups Water

1 cup Demerara Sugar

¼ cup Chai Tea (approx. 6 tea bags)

2 tbsp pumpkin spice

Bring water to boil. Reduce to medium low heat. Slowly stir in sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Add pumpkin spice and tea. Steep for 10 minutes and strain. Allow syrup to cool before use. Use in coffee, in tea, with club soda, on pancakes. It's delicious.

I use Demerara sugar because of its richness and the thick smooth texture it creates.

You can buy loose chai tea or just remove the tea from tea bags.  

Combine the tea and spice before adding the syrup.

Allowing the tea syrup to steep in a French press versus in the pot reduces your chances of burning the sugar.

Using a French Press makes for easy straining. I love pressing down and seeing my syrup perfectly strained.

Now, let's talk cocktail!

I decided to make a simple whiskey cocktail using the Pumpkin Chai Syrup. I added some Vanilla Chai Bitters to the mix really kicks this fall cocktail up a notch.

The Fall Back

1.5 oz Canadian Whisky

 .5 oz Pumpkin Chai Syrup

2-4 Dashes Vanilla Chai Bitters.

Garnish with orange peel.

Now all I need is some pumpkin pie, or a pumpkin scone, pumpkin cream cheese muffin, pumpkin cheesecake...

Hope you enjoy pumpkin season as much as I will, though I'm not sure that's possible.

Imbibe happily,


Download the Pumpkin Chai Syrup recipe card.

WhiskeyNikki G. Davidsonwhisky