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Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Squash {cocktail} + Butternut Squash Vodka {12 Weeks of Winter Squash}

Winter Squash {cocktail} |
In my quest to find new and exciting ways to use winter squash, I remembered a cocktail that I'd bookmarked in Greg Henry's new book, Savory Cocktails.  Although I have a bunch of bookmarks popping out here and there, the one sticking out the highest (that means "make this first!") was on the page featuring a cocktail named Winter Squash.

It starts out with an infusion - butternut squash in vodka.  That forms the base of a cocktail that is just made for this time of year.  And made for my self-imposed challenge.  I will use winter squash in new and exciting ways...I will use winter squash in new and exciting ways...

Though I added the vodka to my squash while it was still warm, and I let it steep for 5 days past the recommended time (10 days total), it didn't take on that beautiful orange color that I envisioned.  It was sort of anemic.  But I could not wait any longer.  I was excited to give it a try.

Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry
It was not as deep and earthy as it probably should have been (the photo in the book was orange, not yellow); it was more reminiscent of melon than squash.  But it was still a fun experiment.  I may very lightly mash my warm squash on my next go, just to see if it imparts more flavor and color that way.  And I will leave it for longer, as well.

That said, it's still a tasty cocktail.  And it's still winter squash breaking out of its box.  Speaking of winter squash cocktails, if you didn't see the Spiced Butternut Squash Whiskey that from Ashley from Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen shared last week, you should totally check that out.  I love her idea of shaking the puree with the alcohol; it gave it such gorgeous color.  Plus, I'm a whiskey girl, so it's going to be happening soon.

Winter Squash Cocktail (+ Butternut Squash-infused Vodka)
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Winter Squash {cocktail} |
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes (+ 5 days for infusi
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Keywords: beverage vegan nut-free dairy-free squash vodka spice American fall winter

Ingredients (1 cocktail)
    for the Butternut Squash Vodka infusion:
    • 1 (1 pound) butternut squash
    • 1 (750 ml) bottle vodka
    for the Winter Squash (cocktail):
    • 4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) Butternut Squash infused vodka
    • 1 fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) simple syrup
    • .5 fluid ounce (1 tablespoon) freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • .5 fluid ounce (1 tablespoon) freshly squeezed lime juice
    • ice
    • 1 sage leaf or thyme sprig
    • 1 big pinch ground cinnamon
    • 1 big pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    making the infusion:
    Preheat oven to 450° F. Set the whole butternut squash on a baking sheet and bake until soft and blistered, approximately 90 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit until just cool enough to handle.

    Cut in the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and any fibers, and then slide off the skin. Cut the squash into 2-inch chunks. Put the pieces into one or two large glass jars, and pour the vodka over the squash while it is still warm. Cover the jars and set in a dark place for at least 5 days, gently swirling and moving it around from time to time.

    Strain the mixture through a double layer of damp cheesecloth, and store in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator for up to 1 month (this will make more than you need for one cocktail).
    Butternut Squash Vodka |
    making the cocktail:
    Fill a cocktail shaker 2/3 full with ice. Add 1/2 cup of the infused vodka, simple syrup, and the lemon and lime juices. Shake vigorously to chill. Strain into a chilled 6-ounce cocktail or martini glass. Place a sage leaf or thyme sprig on top, then mix the cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle lightly on top.

    -ever-so-slightly adapted from Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry
    Apollo by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez |
    Apollo was basking in the morning sun that looked better on him than it did on my cocktail...

    What have you done with winter squash this week? I'm happy to be co-hosting the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash with my friend Joanne of Eats Well with Others, again this year. We'd love it if you'd cook/bake along with us this week (week 7!). We will be sharing a new winter squash dish every Monday, but you can feel free to link up a squash dish that you've made anytime during the week, as the linky tool will be open through the end of the day on Sunday. Or, if you're a blogger, and would like to post along with us on Mondays, just let one of us know so that we can add you to the group!

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