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Shaken, Stirred and Stylish: Winter Squash Cocktail

Recipe: Winter Squash Cocktail

Summary: Winter spices and warm roasted butternut squash are infused into vodka, creating a drink with deep, earthy sugar and spice flavors.


  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 pound)
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle vodka
  • 2 tablespoons / 1 fluid ounce simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon / 1⁄2 fluid ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon / 1⁄2 fluid ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 sage leaf, as garnish
  • 1 big pinch ground cinnamon, as garnish
  • 1 big pinch freshly grated nutmeg, as garnish


  1. Make the infusion: Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 450°F. Place the whole butternut squash on a baking sheet and bake until blistered and soft enough that you can easily pierce the skin with a knife, about 1 1⁄2 hours. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle but still quite warm.
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and fibers from the center. Pull off the skin and cut the flesh into 2-inch chunks. Place the pieces in a large, nonreactive container or Mason jar. Add the vodka while the squash is still warm; this will help the infusion process. Cover and set aside in a dark area for 5 days, swirling the mixture occasionally.
  3. Taste the infusion; it should have a pronounced sweet squash flavor and be amber in color. If so, strain the liquid through a wire-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of damp cheesecloth, discarding the solids. This infusion makes more than you need for just one cocktail, but it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month.
  4. Make the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker 2⁄3 filled with medium ice cubes, combine 1⁄2 cup of the butternut-infused vodka with the simple syrup, lemon juice, and lime juice. Shake vigorously until well chilled. Strain into a chilled 6-ounce cocktail or martini glass. Float a sage leaf on top. Mix together the cinnamon and nutmeg, and sprinkle lightly on top. Makes 1.

Simple Syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Stir together sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until a syrupy consistency is reached, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand 30 minutes. Syrup may be refrigerated and stored in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Makes 1 ¼ cups.


“Savory Cocktails” by Greg Henry. Recipe and photos reprinted with permission from Ulysseys Press. 

Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Reduced fat, Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: USA (General)

Disclosure: The publisher sent a copy of the book for review.