The Fall Spice Cocktail
1oz Navan vanilla cognac
1/2 oz chipotle orange simple syrup (see below)
2 dashes orange bitters
orange peel for garnish
OK, let's talk about that simple syrup. For those of you not in the know, simple syrup is usually just a mixture (in some ratio) of water and sugar. You heat the water up, add the sugar, stir until it melts and then store it in the fridge for your cocktails. Sugar doesn't dissolve properly in cold cocktails, so bartenders use simple syrup instead to sweeten the recipe.
This one is pretty straightforward and easy. Take 2 cups of water and get it boiling. Then add 3 or 4 orange peels roughly 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide each. The heat comes from also adding a dried chipotle pepper to the mix. A chipotle pepper is just a roasted jalepeno, so you can roast your own or do what I did and look to your grocer to see what kind of dried spicy peppers they stock. Mine didn't have chipotles, but they had another kind of dried Southwestern chili. Not as big as a chipotle, so I used 3 of them. Snipped them up with a pair of shears and put them right in the boiling water.
Simmer that concoction on lower heat for about 20 minutes, then strain it through a fine mesh or coffee filter so that all of the seeds and skin from the peppers are captured. You should be left with an orange-colored liquid that smells sweet and spicy. Now mix in 3/4 cup of sugar and watch it dissolve. Cover and refrigerate.
From there, making the drink is easy. Add the vanilla cognac, bourbon, bitters and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir or shake until it's nice and cold. Pour into a small snifter and add another orange peel for garnish. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy. Maybe it is appropriately named, because the vanilla cognac, orange, spices and the smoke from the bourbon fit together perfectly.
I used Angostura Orange Bitters for the recipe, but I there are some other companies like Fee Brothers or Regan's make them as well. Or you can make your own bitters...I know some folks who do that. Not me. Look up that recipe yourself.
The Navan vanilla cognac shouldn't be hard to find. It's made by the same kids who make Grand Marnier and it should be near it in your local liquor/package store. But I believe that there are other vanilla brandies/cognacs out there as well. Ask around.
And I used Wild Turkey 101 Proof for the bourbon. I thought the sweetness from the cognac and the simple syrup might be a little over-powering, so I wanted a higher proof bourbon to ensure that the flavor came through. I don't normally drink anything with that high of an alcohol content, but I thought it would work well in this cocktail. And it did.
Now it's a chilly Sunday afternoon and I want another!
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