Fall Flavors: Makahiki

The fall season has got to be the best of the year. The weather is cool, the holidays are more fun, and the foods of the harvest season are delicious. For the rest of the month we’re going to take a look at the flavors of the season in hopes we can bring some Aloha to your Thanksgiving table.

Makahiki (2)

The old story of our pilgrims reminds me of Tiki in some ways. In that it had “civilized” men and women set off to an exotic land experiencing foreign sights and foods. Every culture has some form of harvest celebration however and the native Hawaiians are no different. I found out the word for theirs is Makahiki. Four months of dancing, singing, sports and feasting held around the same time as our modern Thanksgiving. So we bring one of our favorite fall flavors to this Makahiki with fresh made pumpkin puree.


Fresh pumpkin puree is stupid simple to make. The pumpkins you buy should be the small baking pumpkins and not the ornamental ones. It won’t liquefy in your drink completely however, and some pulp and grit will be left behind. Personally this doesn’t bother me, it’s not enough to clog a straw like muddled strawberries. The pulp is actually a little smooth and sandy, and only slightly chewy at times. If however this offends you simply double strain it. Though you may have to use your bar spoon to work a bit of the pulp aside if your strainer is especially fine like mine is.

Makahiki (1)


1 ½ oz Laird’s Applejack

½ oz Rittenhouse Rye

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 oz pumpkin puree

½ oz cinnamon syrup

1 tsp vanilla syrup

Shake together with ice then pour into a double old fashioned glass. You may choose to double strain this drink, if so add crushed ice to fill. In either respect garnish with fresh mint.


The nose is strong of pumpkin and sweet cinnamon. The flavor begins first in lime with a very mildly bitter oaky spice from the rye. This opens up to rich apple, and warming notes of fall spices. The finish is calming and very mildly sweet with touches of vanilla to accompany the rich almost sandy fresh pumpkin feel and flavor.

Makahiki (3)

The Applejack and Rittenhouse combo was pretty tasty. We tried a few versions with dark Jamaican rum instead of the rye, you might do the same. We do love pumpkin but tell us, whats your favorite fall flavor? Until next time…

“You get hammered America” – JFL


About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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4 Responses to Fall Flavors: Makahiki

  1. Jack says:

    Tasty looking recipe. I made a pumpkin n rum drink and really like it, even going so far as to add a dab of ice cream for those with sweet-tooths (or is it sweet-teeth?) Right now it feels like the end of Apple Season, and about to change into Pumpkin Season (for me Molasses Season follows into the winter). So to me autumn is broken up into Early Fall & Late Fall – meaning to eat pumpkin too early impedes on apples, and visa versa. Such a wonderful time to eat and drink.

  2. Elana says:

    This sounds really delicious, putting it on my ‘to try’ list.

    Is it really 4 months of feasting? I’m down with that. Actually, maybe I’m already doing that….

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