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Minnesota Farmers' Market Association 

MFMA’s Gus Schumacher Award - November Farmers' Market Drink of the Month: Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

Blog - November, 2022 - By: Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly

At MFMA, we are honest! When things are worth trying, we’ll tell you. And when things are…well…less than amazing, we’ll tell you that too. So as we write this blog for our November Drink of the Month, a Pumpkin Pie Cocktail, you can't say we didn't warn you that this blog (and the drink) turned out, ah, a little different.

This cocktail promised to be a cozy and sweet drink you can enjoy in front of the fireplace all winter long. I had such high hopes for this one, because who doesn’t love pumpkin pie?


But, names can be deceiving, and I am sorry to say that, this drink was not very good.


Let's continue anyway. This recipe calls for a baking pumpkin, ¼ cup of maple syrup, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, 4 sage leaves, ¼ cup sugar, 3 cups vodka, and juice of 1 lemon.

Now the pumpkin that we bought from the Winona Farmers' Market was delicious, but maybe just save it for the real holiday pies!


If you are thinking, “I like pumpkin, I like vodka, and maybe I am better at making cocktails then Maeve,” you might be be right. So below are the steps to make it. If you do, email me at and let me know how it is!

First, preheat your oven to 350F. Chop your pumpkin into 3 inch cubes and combine with the maple syrup, oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sage in a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Roast for 45 min or until caramelized and very tender. Remove and set aside to cool while discarding the sage leaves. Transfer the caramelized pumpkin into a food processor or blender and whiz to a creamy puree. Combine the pumpkin puree and vodka and let it chill for at least 2 hours to infuse. In the meantime make your simple syrup by adding the sugar and ½ cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Once the pumpkin and vodka have had enough time to infuse, strain the concoction through a sieve lined with muslin or clean Chux cloth. Squeeze to drain the excess liquid being careful not to push the puree through the muslin. Discard the solids. Pour half the vodka mixture over ice, add half the lemon juice, and the simple syrup to your liking. You can either stir this together in a glass or shake in a cocktail shaker. Repeat with remaining vodka mixture, strain, and serve. Or don’t. You can sprinkle it with extra cinnamon and garnish with sage leaves if you need the extra encouragement to try it.


Now when I first took a sip, I didn’t like it, so I added a few more pumpkin spices. I still didn’t like it. I put whipped cream on top, thinking that might help. Unfortunately, I still didn't like. I tried heating it and drinking it hot. Didn't like it. Not good. 


If you think of any ways to improve this cocktail please let us know! I would love to love this drink. Good luck and stay warm!

--MAEVE MALLOZZI-KELLY, MFMA VISTA (and pumpkin pie cocktail non-enthusiast) 

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MFMA’s Gus Schumacher Award

October Cocktail of the Month: Hot Spiced Apple Cocktail

Blog October 3, 2022, By: Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly

September is apple season in Minnesota so we thought we would honor this beloved fruit by turning it into a Hot Spiced Apple Cocktail! Now I do have to warn you, this drink is so tasty you will want to have it all winter long, so make sure to get your apples from your local farmers’ market while you can to enjoy it for months and months!

The history of our "drink of the month" began when MFMA Executive Director, Kathy Zeman, won the national 2021 Farmers Market Coalition Gus Schumacher Award for leadership during COVID, and with it, a super cool hand-blown gigantic cocktail glass. See full article on award. And so began our drink-of-the-month (to fill that gigantic hand-blown glass)! 

Our MFMA October drink, the Hot Spiced Apple Cocktail looks and tastes great! The apples we used came from M&R Valley Farm LLC and are sold at the Wabasha Farmers’ Market. Michael and Richard grow two varieties of apples and practice organic growing methods, which made them perfect for turning into juice for our cocktail! 

Our alcohol of choice this month is Anna’s Garden Hibiscus Infused Gin from Far North Spirits distillery in Northern Minnesota. They are an authentic estate distillery operated by fourth generation farmer and head distiller Michael Swanson. He and his wife Cheri Reese make spirits on their 100-year-old family farm using only the finest, sustainably-sourced ingredients. Their seasonal Solveig Gin, Anna's Garden - named for the matriarch of the family, Great Grandma Anna - celebrates spring in the Red River Valley. Its light pink hue comes from an infusion of hibiscus flowers. If you would like to use their Solveig Gin as well for your Hot Spiced Apple Cocktail you can find all Far North Spirits available in stores throughout Minnesota, online, and in select locations in 11 other states.

Now for the recipe! This is a simple one, but can take some time if you are making your own apple juice like I did. Google had many suggestions on how to make apple juice from scratch but I went with what seemed to be the simplest option and it turned out great!


  1. Take two pounds of apples, core and cut them into blendable chucks. There is no need to remove the skin but make sure you wash your apples first. 
  2. Then simply put them in your blender (or food processor) with a little bit of water at the bottom and blend away! You’ll be left with an applesauce consistency. Take the blended apple and strain out the juice into the pot you’ll use to heat your concoction. I used a metal strainer and pressed out the juice, but you can also use a cheesecloth to separate the juice from the fibers. I saved my blended apple fibers to use in a cinnamon apple bread recipe but you can simply compost them. Processing two pounds of apples this way produced six cups of juice.  
  3. Place your pot on the stove and add your spices. I used 2 cloves, 1 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick, and 3 whole allspice. You can also add crushed cardamom, crushed juniper berries, and orange peels. Use whatever strikes your fancy! 
  4. Add your gin and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This recipe says to add 1 ¼ parts gin to 5 parts juice. 
  5. When done, simply ladle into your favorite cold weather cup, garnish with apples and powdered nutmeg, and enjoy! 

This is a great alternative to mulled wine for those holiday parties, and I am telling you, it will be a hit!


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MFMA provides services, programs, and leadership that support and promote farmers' markets

across Minnesota and our Tribal Nations.

We envision a community of vibrant, profitable, and professionally managed Minnesota farmers’ markets that:

Cultivates, nourishes, and inspires a vibrant local foods community;

provides accessibility to all to local farm fresh foods;

allows local food producers to thrive and grow.

Engagement & Inclusion Director: Sina War /// /// (612) 695-6587 

Local Foodshed Database Manager: Maeve Mallozzi-Kelly /// /// (574) 310-5553

Executive Director: Kathy Zeman /// /// (507) 664-9446 

Minnesota Farmers' Market Association /// 9800 155th Street East, Nerstrand MN 55053 /// 


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