The Maven’s Flavors of Fall


Summer is indeed fabulous in the Circle City-fruity cocktails on outdoor patios, bike rides, brats on the grill, baseball games, replete with Sun King and peanuts, and an amazing array of summer art festivals.

But for those of us who love fall, it can’t come soon enough. Given the unpredictability of our Indiana weather of late, we could have an amazing Indian summer that ends in a stunning show of foliage, weeks of rain that slide into frosty flurries or, if we’re very, very, lucky, we could have a textbook definition of fall; crisp, cool days that call for hauling out our favorite time-worn sweaters and boots, long walks in one of our amazing parks with leaves crunching under our feet, and of course, all things pumpkin.

But let’s look beyond the obvious this year…

Yes, pumpkin pie is de rigueur at Thanksgiving. Or, if we’re feeling particularly fancy, perhaps a pumpkin roulade or bread pudding. But let’s cut to the chase. What we’re really feeling like right now is a cocktail. Isn’t that right, dolls? So let’s take that passion for pumpkin and put it where it belongs—in our glass, with some ice and some bourbon. Make a batch of pumpkin shrub and try our recipe for a Fall Fizzy and you’ll see fall in a whole new light.

Pumpkin Shrub


  • Two 15-ounce cans of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling, just pumpkin)
  • Two cups of white vinegar
  • Two cups of sugar

Put the pumpkin into a quart-sized jar. Heat the vinegar until just less than boiling. Pour vinegar over pumpkin, leaving at least 1/4 inch of space in the jar. Wipe rim clean and cap tightly. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Strain the chilled mixture through a coffee filter into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat, cool and pour into a new, clean container. Now you’re ready for a cocktail!

Fall Fizzy

In a rocks glass filled with ice, add:

  • 1 ½ oz. Bourbon
  • 1 T. Pumpkin Shrub
  • Top with sparkling water and stir

Garnish with a sprig of rosemary

Another one of the Maven’s favorite fall flavors is cranberry. But the sticky, gelatinous tube that slides out of the Ocean Spray can, permanently etched with the ridges from its aluminum prison makes the Maven want to cry. Or drink another Fall Fizzy. So let’s branch out this year and make a super easy and amazingly delicious Curried Cranberry-Orange Chutney that can be used as a sauce for your turkey (or your chicken or pork) and can also hop right into the dessert realm, as a topping for cheesecake or a quick tartlet filling. And it freezes beautifully, so make a big batch and pop the other half of it in the freezer to enjoy at Christmas!
Curried Cranberry-Orange Chutney


  • Two cups fresh cranberries (one bag is about three cups; use the extras to decorate your fall table!)
  • Four oranges, peeled and segmented
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • One medium apple, peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 T curry powder
  • ¾ t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • ¼ t. ground clove

Put all ingredients into a soup pot. Bring to a boil, stir and reduce to a simmer. Cook for about an hour, until liquid is reduced and chutney is thickened.

Double the recipe to have extra to freeze!

Set a Beautiful Fall Table:

Fall doesn’t just have to be about mums. The Maven’s favorite fall table features mini gourds and little pumpkins, with sunflowers. But add in something that sparkles—silver or gold chargers or some mercury glass for the perfect juxtaposition of rustic and elegant.

About the Maven:

Karen Kennedy, the Circle City’s Maven of Merriment, is the owner of Small Potatoes, an Indianapolis-based catering and event planning company. She, along with her merry band of foodies, creates unique and beautiful custom events for groups that are ready for something new and different. Her blog, “The Maven of Merriment,” offers “tips and tricks to make your life more stylish and delish.”

She offers “Cooking with the Maven” classes for groups of up to twelve, in the Maven’s kitchen or in your own.

She is also the creator of “Smarty Party,” a state-of-the-art, custom game show experience, perfect for team building, wedding rehearsals, VIP client events, staff parties, birthdays or anniversaries.

Visit for more information.

Pictured: Curried Cranberry-Orange Chutney (photo by Karen Kennedy)