Fall is upon us and I’m celebrating the season with moody nail colours, leather jackets, and the return of boots. It also means I’m bringing back spiced, whiskey-based cocktails.
Ginger the Honeypot is a rye-based drink made with a spiced honey syrup, Chinese Five Spice bitters, lemon juice, and topped off with punchy Jamaican Ginger Beer.
This recipe yields a pitcher cocktail which is perfect for autumn entertaining. Something I plan to do lots of once October rolls around, as September seems to already be booked up.
One of my favourite #basic fall activities is apple-picking. Which on its face, seems kind of ridiculous. You’re paying someone else to pick your own fruit. Then you always end up picking more apples than you could possibly eat. Unless of course you’re prepared to sacrifice all the remaining weekends before American Thanksgiving to baking apple pies, making apple sauce and creating apple-infused alcohol.
I suppose the real excitement of going apple-picking is twofold: 1) the endless Instagram opportunities, 2) venturing into the unknown on what varieties of apples will be available for your picking pleasure.
Is it going to be all boring Red Delicious or are you going to be able to get your hands on something delightful like a Gala? You’re rolling the dice. Why bother with the endless varieties at the grocery store or farmer’s market then you could pay for the sweet taste of disappointment.
There’s also the added fun of having to dip, duck, dive, and dodge unruly families and small children who walk around like a bunch of excitable drunks. Have you ever noticed that toddlers have no spatial awareness and no ability to bend their knees?
They will goose-step into you at a breakneck pace or take a sharp right directly into your kneecap. It takes Olympic agility to avoid a collision with one of these tiny terrorists at family-friendly fall activities like apple-picking.
In spite of all these obstacles, I will NOT be stopped from pursuing a good leather jacket moment and posed photo reaching for an apple on a quaint wooden ladder. Oh, and I’ll do my best to work those apples into content for the blog, like I did with this Apple Sparkler.
Ginger the Honeypot
- ½ cup clover honey
- ½ cup water
- 3 whole star anise
- ½ inch piece of fresh ginger peeled and sliced into coins (4 to 5 slices)
- 1 strip of orange peel removed with a peeler (no pith)
- 1 ½ cups rye whiskey
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 6 dashes of orange bitters
- 6 strips of lemon peel taken from 1 to 2 lemons, removed with a peeler (no pith)
- 6 strips of orange peel taken from 1 orange, removed with a peeler (no pith)
- 6 oz Jamaican ginger beer (non-alcoholic)
- 12 dashes Mr. Lee’s Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters
Combine the honey, water, star anise, ginger, and orange peel in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Continue simmering for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the spices.
In a large pitcher, combine the rye, bitters, lemon juice and ½ cup of the Spiced Honey Syrup. Stir until combined. This can be made and kept refrigerated for several days.
When ready to serve, add ice to the pitcher with the cocktail. Squeeze the lemon peels and orange peels on top to express their oils, then drop the peels into the mix. (You can also add a few whole star anise pods for styling, if you like.) Stir to combine.
Pour into 6 rocks glasses, adding more ice from the pitcher to each glass as needed. Top each glass with 1 oz of ginger beer and two dashes of Mr. Lee's Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters. Garnish each glass with an orange or lemon twist and one pod of star anise.
You may have a little Spiced Honey Syrup leftover; it can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 weeks and mixed with other cocktails.
Recipe adapted from: Petrosky, Maureen. “Spiced Rye and Honey Cocktail.” The Kitchn. November 2014.