Persimmons, with their thick, sweet, juicy consistency, marry well with bourbon in this persimmon bourbon cocktail. Although it works equally well with a great rye whiskey, too. The baking spices, cinnamon, vanilla, and brown sugar in the whiskey tie in with the spiced, sweet pulp to mix up for the cocktails.
This week I’m determined to give you fall/Thanksgiving/holiday cocktails that don’t call for pumpkin. Today, persimmon. I’m used to persimmon pudding and bread, but I had a little extra leftover and looking at the gorgeous orange hue compelled me to create the cocktail.
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Types of Persimmons
The persimmon has been cultivated by farmers for over 2000 years in China. Known for it’s very bitter and astringent flavor when tasted unripe, biting into a persimmon can be a gamble unless you’re sure what kind of persimmon you have and whether it’s ripe.
Of the two main kinds available in the US, the Hachiya is the most prevalent – it’s bright orange and shaped like a large acorn. It’s very astringent until it’s ripe, but when fully ripe it’s mushy, tender, and sweet. The pulp can be eaten from the fruit like pudding with a spoon.
The Fuyu persimmon’s texture is more like that of an apple or Asian pear. It’s sweet, but crunchy. While it can be cooked into a syrup, for this cocktail, you’ll want to go for the Hachiya persimmon. I found the Fuyu cultivar more appropriate for salads or roasting.
How to Prepare the Sweetened Spiced Pulp
For this persimmon bourbon cocktail, you’ll want to get instructions on how to prepare Hachiya persimmons, or simply find some persimmon pulp. You can find it in specialty grocery stores and sometimes international stores. I found mine in the freezer section.
To make the puree/pulp for the cocktail, I combined equal amounts of sugar, persimmon pulp, the juice of one mandarin, 2 a star anise and two cinnamon sticks. I mixed them up, let them steep for a few hours then took out the spices.
Since it’s so thick, there’s no use trying to strain it. We’ll just use it as is with some whiskey and top off with a little cider. Store whatever you don’t use in a clean container in the fridge. Since it’s fresh and full of pulp, I’d try to consume it within a week to ten days.
How to Make the Persimmon Bourbon Cocktail
Because we’re using pulp, we need to shake the cocktail to make sure everything gets very well-combined and the bright orange of the cocktail shines through.
After putting a barspoon of the sweetened, spiced pulp in the bottom of the shaker, add your whiskey, a little apple cider if you like your cocktail a little sweeter, your favorite fall bitters and ice. Shake briefly, then strain into a rocks glass with ice. Top with your favorite hard cider and garnish with a lovely, dried persimmon. Or a fan of fresh persimmon if you have it!
Persimmon’s silky texture almost reminds me of fig preserves in a cocktail, like this Fig and Pear Whisky Sour (LINK). But it doesn’t taste a sugary as a date or fig. Some people think it tastes like an apricot, or a mango, but the flavor is different. Because it’s so usually prepared with baking spices, I associate the taste of persimmons with those spices.
Other Fall- and Holiday-Inspired Cocktails for You to Try
- Hot Buttered Rum Cider
- Pomegranate Pear Brandy Sour
- Fall Rye Whiskey Cocktail
- Perfect Fall Pear Sour
- Fig and Pear Sour
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Recommended Bar Tools
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You probably already have these, but you may need them, too:
Persimmon Bourbon Sipper
- 1 barspoon sweetened spiced persimmon pulp**
- 1.5 oz bourbon or rye whiskey I preferred rye
- 1 oz apple cider
- 3 dashes gingerbread bitters
- Top off with hard cider
- Add persimmon, whiskey, cider, and bitters to a shaking tin.Add ice and shake until very cold. Strain into a rocks glass with ice and topwith hard cider. Garnish and enjoy.
- 1/3 cup persimmon pulp, fresh or thawed
- 1/3 cup sugar (use white so the color stays vibrant)
- 2 cinnamon sticks,
- 1 star anise
- Juice from 1 mandarin orange