Beverages, Recipes

Best Pumpkin Martini Recipe – Insanely Good

Even though the pumpkin martini is most popular in fall, it’s wonderful any time of year. It’s creamy, flavorful, and wonderfully comforting. 

It’s a tasty blend of vodka, Baileys, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice. Plus, there are crushed graham crackers lining the rim. It’s like dessert in a glass!

Sweet Homemade Pumpkin Vodka Martini with Cinnamon

If I ranked the best fall cocktails of all time, this drink would be near the top. It’s like a deliciously decadent pumpkin pie in cocktail form.

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Every sip will delight your tastebuds and give you cozy vibes. 

What’s in a Pumpkin Martini 

This drink has two parts: the doctored rim and the cocktail. Here’s what you need for each: 

For the rim: 

  • Crushed graham crackers – Though not required, graham crackers give it more of a “pumpkin pie” vibe. After all, you can’t have a good, old-fashioned pumpkin pie without a graham cracker crust. 
  • Granulated sugar – For extra sweetness. 
  • Pumpkin pie spice – You add this to the drink, too, but having a little extra on the rim never hurts. 
  • Maple syrup – Use the syrup to “wet” the rim so all the other ingredients stay on.

For the cocktail: 

  • Ice – For the cocktail shaker. 
  • Vanilla vodka – I prefer Smirnoff Vanilla, but Absolut Vanilla is a close second. If you don’t have vanilla vodka, substitute 2 ounces of plain vodka with 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract mixed in. 
  • Baileys – Half and half is a good substitute if you don’t have any Baileys. Baileys is best, though! Plus, it makes the drink extra boozy.
  • Pumpkin puree – I’ve included pumpkin spice liqueur in the recipe below as an optional substitute. You can use that in a pinch. However, I highly recommend sticking to pumpkin puree for pure pumpkin flavor.
  • Pumpkin pie spice – You can find pumpkin pie spice in the baking aisle of your local grocery store. Or you can make your own. Combine 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons each of ginger and nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon each of allspice and cloves. 
  • Optional sweetener – You can use either simple syrup or maple syrup to sweeten the drink.
Pumpkin Martini and Crushed Graham Crackers on Wooden Table

How to Make a Pumpkin Martini 

Follow these steps to make the perfect pumpkin martini:

1. Prepare the rim. This is optional, of course, but it does wonders for aesthetics. It also adds a bit of crunch and extra flavor to the drink. (See notes on preparing the rim below.)

2. Combine the ingredients. Add ice to a cocktail shaker. Then, pour in all the cocktail ingredients. Shake it vigorously for 20 to 30 seconds. 

3. Strain and serve. Strain the cocktail into your prepared glass. Serve it and enjoy! 

Prep the Graham Cracker Rim 

Here are the steps for prepping the rim of your glass: 

  1. Crush the graham crackers. Mix the sugar and pumpkin pie spice with the cracker crumbs. 
  2. Pour a small pool of maple syrup into another shallow dish. Place the rim of the glass firmly into the maple syrup. 
  3. Place the rim into the plate of graham cracker crumbs. Gently rotate, as needed, to cover the entire rim. 

The maple syrup acts as the “glue” that holds the cracker mixture in place. 

Creamy and Flavorful Pumpkin Martini on Glass

Tips and Tricks 

Here are a few tips to remember for the very best drink: 

  • Chill the glass. For an ultra-cold Martini, freeze your rimmed glass for about an hour before serving.
  • Don’t forget the garnishes. Elevate the aesthetic and flavor of your pumpkin martini with a cinnamon stick. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Shake, shake shake! Pumpkin puree is thick! Dilute it to a creamy but drinkable consistency. So be sure to shake vigorously and for as long as necessary to thin the drink. Typically, 30 seconds is sufficient. 
  • Be sure to strain. One of my favorite things about this drink is its smoothness and creaminess. Unfortunately, if you don’t strain it properly, it won’t be smooth and creamy. Use a fine mesh strainer, and strain the drink twice if necessary. 
Two Glasses of Autumn Cocktail Pumpkin Martini on a Wooden Board

Recipe Variations 

Want to mix things up a bit? Try these variations: 

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  • Fire up other flavors. Try pumpkin pie vodka for even more pumpkin flavor. Pinnacle puts out a good version in the fall. You could also experiment with mixing other flavors, like chocolate vodka
  • Try a vodka switch. While vanilla vodka pairs perfectly with this martini, spiced rum adds a unique twist. For a zestier edge, opt for bold rye whiskey.
  • Use cinnamon instead. If you’re out of pumpkin spice, a sprinkle of cinnamon does the trick.
  • Use pumpkin pie filling. Most of the time, pumpkin pie filling and pumpkin puree aren’t interchangeable. But you CAN substitute pumpkin pie filling for the puree in this cocktail. Just use slightly less pumpkin pie spice to accommodate for the extra sweetness. 
  • Give it a chocolatey boost. Baileys Irish Cream already has a hint of chocolate. However, swap it out for something else to up the chocolate factor. White chocolate or chocolate liqueur will work best.
Pumpkin Martini