Get into the autumnal spirit by making yourself a Pumpkin Martini! This fall martini is flavored with pumpkin 2 ways. Garnish it with whipped cream for a creamy pumpkin pie martini, or leave it off for a lighter fall cocktail.
What Is a Martini?
A classic Martini is made using gin and vermouth, then garnished with an olive or lemon twist.
The origins of the Martini are uncertain, but most cocktail historians agree that it was created sometime in the mid-1800’s, probably in or around Martinez, California.
Since the Martini first came on the scene, bars all over the country have put their own spin on this iconic cocktail.
The vodka Martini is the most widely accepted Martini variation, and the pumpkin Martini recipe I’m sharing with you today puts an autumnal spin on the vodka Martini.
Whether this can still be labeled a pumpkin “Martini” might be up for debate since the drink incorporates pumpkin flavor two ways — with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.
Call this delicious fall drink whatever you want — be it pumpkin Martini or pumpkin cocktail — so long as you make and enjoy it!
What Does a Pumpkin Martini Taste Like?
Between the vanilla simple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin spice sugar rim, this fall martini is pumpkin-y, slightly sweet, and spiced without being cloyingly so.
The addition of lemon juice and Grand Marnier brightens up the cocktail with subtle citrus notes that pair perfectly with the pumpkin puree and spices. It’s a fun fall Martini that still tastes “adult,” with plenty of nuanced flavor.
The cocktail is slightly sweet, spicy, and has a subtle pumpkin flavor that I love!
What’s the Best Time to Serve a Pumpkin Martini?
This is a sweeter pumpkin cocktail, especially if you add the optional whipped cream garnish! I prefer serving it at dessert, but you can enjoy it as a pre-dinner cocktail as well.
This is an especially wonderful drink to serve at holiday parties and Thanksgiving gatherings! It’s special enough to wow your guests, but simple enough to prepare using basic ingredients.
Kitchen Tools You’ll Need to Make this Martini
You don’t need any special cocktail-making tools to prepare this pumpkin spice Martini recipe, but I recommend at least having a cocktail shaker on hand.
Here are the tools you’ll want for this recipe:
- Cocktail shaker with strainer — You’ll be shaking the cocktail with crushed ice, so be sure your shaker comes with a strainer.
- Jigger — For measuring the ingredients.
- Measuring spoon — For measuring ingredients.
- Martini glasses — We like to rim the glasses with a mixture of sugar and pumpkin pie spice for added fall flavor.
- Handheld electric mixer — If you want to garnish your fall martini with whipped cream. You can also make the whipped cream by hand using a metal whisk, but a handheld mixer makes the process go much faster.
- Mixing bowl — If you plan to add whipped cream, you’ll want to chill the bowl in the fridge for a few minutes before making the whipped cream to get it really light and fluffy.
Pumpkin Martini Ingredients
This pumpkin spice cocktail has two components: the pumpkin Martini itself and the whipped cream topping, although the whipped cream topping is completely optional!
To prepare the fall Martinis, you’ll need the following:
- Grand Marnier
- Pure pumpkin puree (homemade or store-bought)
- Lemon juice
- Orange juice
- Vanilla simple syrup
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Golden Bitters or Aromatic Bitters
Optional Whipped Cream Topping
- Heavy whipping cream
- Vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- Powdered sugar
For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.
What Is Vodka?
Vodka is a high ABV distilled spirit (40 to 50%) commonly made from grains or potatoes. It’s typically colorless and doesn’t have a distinct flavor.
If you want extra pumpkin flavor, you might want to try experimenting with a pumpkin-flavored vodka, instead regular vodka, to make this cocktail instead. The pumpkin vodka would add extra warmth and sweetness to the cocktail.
What Is Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur that’s made by blending Cognac (a type of brandy), bitter orange essence, and sugar.
It’s sweet and slightly bitter in flavor, with a spicy undertone that pairs perfectly with the pumpkin vodka and pumpkin pie spice in this recipe.
If you don’t have Grand Marnier on hand, you may substitute it with Cointreau. Cointreau is another type of orange-flavored liqueur, but it’s much drier and less sweet in flavor. It also has a more noticeable citrus flavor than Grand Marnier.
How to Make a Pumpkin Martini
If you plan to add the whipped cream garnish, you’ll want to prepare the homemade whipped cream before shaking the pumpkin pie Martini. That way, you can immediately garnish and serve the cocktails while the mixture is still cold.
- OPTIONAL: Make the whipped cream garnish: Combine the heavy cream and vanilla bean paste in a chilled mixing bowl, then beat until loose peaks form. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the whipped cream and continue beating until soft peaks are formed.
- Make the cocktail mixture: Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Add the pumpkin vodka, Grand Mariner, pumpkin puree, lemon juice, vanilla simple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Secure the lid on top of the shaker and shake vigorously for a full 30-40 seconds.
- Assemble the pumpkin martinis: Strain the cocktail into chilled martini glasses. Garnish as desired and enjoy immediately.
The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.
Tips for Making This Pumpkin Cocktail
- Chill your Martini glasses — We like to put them in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving the cocktails. This keeps the Martinis super cold without having to add ice (which would water them down!).
- Really shake the Martini mixture — Shake the ingredients over crushed ice at least 30 seconds before straining into the chilled glass. The cocktail shaker should be frosty on the outside by the time you’re finished shaking.
- Use freshly squeezed lemon juice — No, it doesn’t make the cocktail taste lemony! It simply cuts through the heavier flavors of pumpkin pie spice, pumpkin, and vanilla. Be sure to read this tutorial on getting the most juice from your lemons.
- Use pure pumpkin puree — Do NOT use pumpkin pie filling to make the Martinis otherwise they’ll be far too sweet.
- Go as homemade as you like — This recipe explains how to make homemade whipped cream for garnishing the pumpkin spice Martinis, but you may use store-bought if desired. Likewise, you can use homemade pumpkin puree, homemade pumpkin pie spice, and homemade vanilla simple syrup. Or, use your favorite store-bought versions.
Pumpkin Martini Recipe FAQs
Got questions about how to make this recipe? Here are the answers to a few commonly asked questions. Feel free to leave any other questions in the comments on this post and I’ll respond with answers.
What type of glass should I serve this pumpkin martini in?
When making a pumpkin spice Martini like this one, it’s best to use a Martini glass. You can find glasses with and without stems, so buy whichever style you like best.
A coupe glass would also work well, but you can use whatever glass you have on hand!
Are Martinis served over ice?
Never! The Martini is shaken with ice to chill it, but you do NOT want to serve the pumpkin spice cocktail directly over ice. If you do that, the drink will become watered down as the ice melts.
For an extra cold Martini, we like to pre-chill our glasses before serving.
Can this pumpkin cocktail recipe be made in advance?
No, this fall Martini is best prepared and enjoyed immediately. However, you can make the whipped cream in advance if that is how you choose to garnish it.
I recommend making stabilized whipped cream if prepping it in advance. Stabilized whipped cream is a little stiffer than traditional whipped cream, and it holds its shape for up to two days without deflating.
Optional Pumpkin Martini Garnishes to Try
This pumpkin pie Martini is delicious as is, but for even more fall flavor you can add one or more of the following garnishes:
- Katie’s Favorite: Mix granulated or brown sugar with pumpkin pie spice to rim the glasses and garnish with a dried orange slice.
- For a creamy pumpkin spice cocktail: Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice.
- Mix graham cracker crumbs with pumpkin pie spice to rim the glasses.
- Garnish with a tiny gingersnap cookie (homemade or store-bought).
- Add a cinnamon stick.
Can I make this Pumpkin Martini alcohol-free?
Yes! To make this a non-alcoholic pumpkin cocktail you’ll have to replace the vodka and Grand Marnier with alcohol-free alternatives.
Safety tip: Depending on the brand you use, some alcohol-removed spirits may still contain trace amounts of alcohol. Check before serving this drink to kids or drinking during pregnancy.
What to Serve with a Pumpkin Pie Martini
If you’re going to be sipping on a pumpkin pie-flavored cocktail, it goes without saying you should pair it with actual pumpkin pie, too! Any dessert or nibbles that are spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves would pair nicely with the fall dessert cocktail.
Try one or more of the following:
- Pumpkin Pecan Pie — So much spiced flavor and textures galore in every bite of this pie.
- Bittersweet Fruit and Nut Bark – The bittersweet chocolate pairs well with the sweeter cocktail.
- Cinnamon Glazed Nuts – A welcome alternative to baked goods during the fall, but the nuts still pack in the warming spices.
- Pumpkin Molasses Cookies – If you roll the cookie dough balls very small, you could even use the baked cookies to garnish the Martinis!
Try This Pumpkin Cocktail at Home!
Next time you’re looking for a unique fall cocktail, give this pumpkin Martini recipe a try!
Did you think it was the perfect drink for fall get-togethers? Leave a comment below and give this Martini recipe a review for others to see what you thought of it.
On Instagram? Share your photo and tag me with @goodlifeeats and #goodlifeeatsrecipes. I’d love to see your photo of this pumpkin spice Martini.
More Fall & Winter Cocktail Recipes:
The classic rye whiskey cocktail becomes even more sophisticated with the addition of black walnut bitters and Italian amaro. Learn how to make a Black Manhattan cocktail with this straightforward tutorial!
Fresh pressed apple cider, tart pomegranate juice, and Tempranillo pair with mulling spices and fresh fruit to create a fall-inspired cocktail. This mulled wine recipe is perfect for sipping during this autumn and winter season.
Sweet, creamy, and spiced, this Spiked Eggnog is the perfect holiday drink! Learn how to make eggnog with alcohol, how to safely use raw eggs in eggnog, and more.
Get into the holiday spirit by making yourself a Gingerbread Martini! This Christmas Martini is made with Baileys and vodka, and it tastes just like gingerbread!
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For the Pumpkin Martini
- 4 ounces Vodka
- 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
- 4 tablespoons Pumpkin Puree
- 1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2 ounce fresh Orange Juice
- 1 - 2 ounces Vanilla Simple Syrup, according to sweetness preferences
- ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 4 - 6 dashes of Golden or Aromatic Cocktail Bitters
For the Whipped Cream Garnish - Optional*
- ⅓ cup Heavy Cream
- ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon Powdered Sugar, according to preference
- Carefully place 2 martini glasses in the freezer.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice.
- Then, add the pumpkin vodka, Grand Mariner, pumpkin puree, lemon and orange juice, vanilla simple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and bitters to the cocktail shaker.
- Secure the lid on top of the shaker and shake vigorously for a full 30-40 seconds. The shaker should be frosty on the outside.
- Remove the martini glass from the freezer and strain the cocktail into the glass.
- Garnish as desired and enjoy immediately!
Optional Whipped Cream Garnish
- Combine the cold heavy cream and vanilla paste in a chilled non-reactive bowl.
- Whisk by hand or using an electric mixture until the cream holds a loose peak. A soft peak will hold a lazy curve when the beater or whisk is held upside down.
- Then, sprinkle the sugar on top of the whipped cream and continue beating until soft peaks are formed.
Optional Cocktail Garnishes to Try
This pumpkin pie Martini is delicious as is, but for even more fall flavor you can add one or more of the following garnishes:
- Katie's Favorite: Mix granulated or brown sugar with pumpkin pie spice to rim the glasses and garnish with a dried orange slice
- A dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice
- Mix graham cracker crumbs with pumpkin pie spice to rim the glasses
- Garnish with a tiny gingersnap cookie (homemade or store-bought)
- Add a cinnamon stick
*Note that you will have leftover whipped cream. It will last up to 2 days in the fridge and can be used to top additional cocktails, as well as hot cocoa, pancakes, etc.
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Nutrition InformationYield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 546Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 9gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 44mgSodium 20mgCarbohydrates 86gFiber 2gSugar 81gProtein 2g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.