Joseph De Leo/Real Simple

Pumpkin spice latte or pumpkin martini? Martini!

We’re love pumpkin flavors in the fall, and this cocktail is a beautiful way to polish off your dinner and delight your guests.

The easiest way is to mix a pumpkin martini is to work with flavored vodka and flavored liqueurs. You’ll want one and a half ounces (the large end of a jigger, if that’s what you’re using) of each of the following: vanilla vodka, pumpkin (or pumpkin spice) liqueur, and Irish cream. Add all three, plus a cup of ice, to a shaker, and shake until the outside of your shaker gets frosty. Strain into a glass and garnish with a pinch of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon or nutmeg. Or have a little fun with the garnish; dip the rim in sugar mixed with pumpkin spice, top with whipped cream, or add a cinnamon stick as a stirrer.

Want to try something different? Some pumpkin martini recipes, like this one from our friends at Real Simple, use real pumpkin in the recipe. If you use real pumpkin, be sure take a light touch; don’t add more than a Tablespoon or your martini will be too thick. Remember to double strain the drink so it’s creamy and smooth—you can use a spoon to agitate the mixture so it pours more easily.

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If you want to experiment with different flavors, go for it! The trick to getting your drink to taste like pumpkin pie is to make sure you incorporate vanilla, cream, sugar and pumpkin pie spices. Add vanilla with flavored vodka, vanilla syrup or vanilla extract. Choose either half and half or cream-based liqueur (like Irish cream) for creaminess. Sweeten with sugar, brown sugar or a homemade simple syrup. You can add pumpkin pie spice or, for a smoother drink, use spiced syrup; but it premade, or make your own by simmering cinnamon sticks, cloves, fresh ginger, vanilla bean, allspice and star anise with equal parts sugar and water for about half an hour.