Happy Halloween. I finally get to make a drink I’ve been planning for almost a year: Queimada. This Galician drink is normally made for the Celtic New Year in June, but since it’s made in a pumpkin and lit on fire I had to make it for Halloween. If it hadn’t been a pandemic, I would have made it for a Halloween party in a large batch as tradition calls for with at least a liter of brandy and a full-sized pumpkin. Instead I made a version for two, or one if it’s a fall night you want to stay warm on the inside. Thus, I used a small pumpkin and tweaked the proportions. Traditionally, a poem/chant is recited after the potion is set on fire. It’s perfect for Halloween and included below the recipe.
For the drink:
- 4 1/2 oz brandy (Tierra Miega is the Galician orujo brandy I used)
- 1 1/3 oz simple syrup
- 3 strips of lemon peel (about 2 inches long)
- 1 teaspoon whole coffee beans
- 1/4 oz everclear (any very high proof alcohol will work)
- Half a cinnamon stick
- Star anise pod
- 2 allspice berries
One small pumpkin
Cut the top off of your pumpkin and save it. Scoop out the insides and get rid of all the stringy pieces. Pour the brandy, simple syrup, lemon strips, coffee beans, and any additional optional seasoning into the pumpkin and stir. Pour the everclear into a metal ladle. Make sure you are next to the pumpkin! Light the everclear with a match and gently pour it into the pre-filled pumpkin. The ladle will continue burn. Quickly take it to the sink and extinguish. Let the concoction flame until the fire begin to die down, 2-4 minutes. Place the saved pumpkin lid on top to fully extinguish. Pour from the pumpkin through a fine mesh strainer into the coupe.
Below is the chant:
Owls, barn owls, toads and witches.
Demons, goblins and devils,
spirits of the misty vales.
Crows, salamanders and witches,
charms of the folk healer(ess).
Rotten pierced canes,
home of worms and vermin.
Wisps of the Holy Company,
evil eye, black witchcraft,
scent of the dead, thunder and lightning.
Howl of the dog, omen of death,
maws of the satyr and foot of the rabbit.
Sinful tongue of the bad woman
married to an old man.
Satan and Beelzebub's Inferno,
fire of the burning corpses,
mutilated bodies of the indecent ones,
farts of the asses of doom,
bellow of the enraged sea.
Useless belly of the unmarried woman,
speech of the cats in heat,
dirty turf of the wicked born goat.
With this bellows I will pump
the flames of this fire
which looks like that from Hell,
and witches will flee,
straddling their brooms,
going to bathe in the beach
of the thick sands.
Hear! Hear the roars
of those that cannot
stop burning in the firewater,
becoming so purified.
And when this beverage
goes down our throats,
we will get free of the evil
of our soul and of any charm.
Forces of air, earth, sea and fire,
to you I make this call:
if it's true that you have more power
here and now, make the spirits
of the friends who are outside,
take part with us in this Queimada.