Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thirsty Thursdays: Spice & Ice Edition

Put on your extra sparkly tiaras, dear readers, because we've been invited to a cocktail party today ... and its a spicy one! In fact, its a virtual cocktail party in support of Kara Newman's delicious new book: "Spice & Ice."

I'll be honest, I jumped at the chance to get in on this. Apart from the fact that I love an unusual cocktail, the opportunity to work with Kara Newman (who's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Gourmet, and Wine Enthusiast to name but a few) is an absolute thrill for me. So thrilling, in fact, that I ran right out and picked up a copy of the book as soon as I heard about the event. Its lovely!

Spice & Ice is a chic little cocktail cookbook that deftly pairs all manner of spirits with a stunning assortment of spiced and spicy ingredients. With drinks named "Coco-Grenade" and "Sangria Scorcher" and ingredients such as harissa, wasabi and thai chiles, Newman's recipes are inviting to say the least. Today, I'm going to share with you her "Fall Spice Cocktail".

In Kara's words, "this drink falls more on the 'spiced' than 'spicy' side, of the spectrum. This sweet cordial pairs well with autumn pies and other desserts or makes a great sipper to enjoy fireside." We may be past Fall, but the winds are still wicked and the roaring fires still necessary, so I'd say its perfect for winter too!

Be aware that this drink calls for a little prep-work: you'll need to prepare the chipotle-orange syrup in advance. Trust me, its easy. It takes all of 15 to 20 minutes and you will be rewarded greatly for your efforts. If you're old enough to drink, you're old enough to delay gratification, right? Right. Let's get to it!

Fall Spice Cordial:
recipe reprinted from Spice & Ice with permission of the author
  • 1 ounce bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
  • 3/4 ounce chipotle-orange syrup, recipe to follow
  • 1 ounce vanilla vodka or Navan vanilla cognac
  • 2 dashes orange bitters (I used Fee Brother's because that's what I had on-hand)
  • orange peel for garnish
Mix together all the ingredients, except for the orange peel. Shake together with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the orange zest. Serve and enjoy, repeat as necessary!

Chipotle-Orange Syrup:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 chipotle pepper
  • 2 strips dried orange peel, or fresh peel if dried is not available
  • 3/4 cup sugar
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and add the chipotle pepper and orange peel. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh sieve and add the sugar. Return to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the syrup into a container and keep in the refrigerator.

Diva's notes: I used fresh orange peel, because my market didn't seem to have any dried. I don't think the drink suffered for it a bit. I also chose to use Navan, the vanilla cognac, because I simply do not enjoy commercial vanilla vodkas. If you're ok with them, or have made your own vanilla vodka, go for it. The Navan is pricey, no doubt about it, so opt for the vanilla vodka if you prefer. In future iterations, I'd probably substitute 1/2 cup of agave nectar for the sugar, but that is a personal choice as well.

So, how does it taste? Intriguing and delightful! The acidity of the orange tempers the sweet caramel notes of the bourbon; and the hint of chipotle provides a rather addictive bit of warmth on the finish. Simply put, it makes you want to take another sip - and that's the sure sign of a well-crafted cocktail. I loved it and you will too!

I'm not sure who else is on the guest list for this lovely little fete, but I know for certain that my friend Charmian Christie, from Christie's Corner, will be bringing something to the party. Monica Bhide, author of Modern Spice, will be there too. I can't wait to see what they've stirred up. Look for their offerings, as well as the others, on Kara Newman's Spice & Ice Blog. Come thirsty, its bound to be a delicious affair!

Many thanks to Charmian for connecting me with Kara, and to Kara for adding a little more spice to our weekly Happy Hour here on Beach Eats. If this drink is any indication, Spice & Ice is going to get a LOT of use, Chez Diva.



Fresh Local and Best said...

Intriguing, creative, and sensational! These drinks are divalicious!

Anonymous said...

It looks amazing! I love that sexy orange peel garnish wrapping around the glass, what a fabulous addition. I need to use that...

Unknown said...

This drink seems fun and spicy. Perfect for winter.
*kisses* HH

words...words...words... said...

Chipotle orange? I am so there.

The Duo Dishes said...

After a friend made orange cocktails with jalapeno, the spicy beverage is one that people have been requesting repeatedly now. That simple syrup with orange and smokey chipotle is great.

Mo Diva said...

it really does look interesting! MMM I could SO go for a cocktail right about now.

Ipmilat said...

My darling, it looks beautiful, but in the absence of someone to prepare it for me, I'll stick with straight bourbon. Certified soaks keep it simple.

Catherine said...

What a great creative cocktail! This looks so good and the presentation is so pretty...I love the orange peel!

The Diva on a Diet said...

FLB - you're right, totally divalicious! Should have used that in my post! LOL

Kara - thank you so much for including me and for your kind words. It was my pleasure and I really love your book!

HH - thanks! Its snowing like hell here ... so you know there's another one of these in my future tonight! ;)

words words words - c'mon by and I'll fix us up a batch. I think you'd love this one!

Duo - mmmm, I just love jalapeno in any drink, it sounds marvelous, so no doubt its a crowd pleaser!

Mo Diva - we'll have to meet up for cocktails ourselves one of these days! :)

vilges suola - LOL! If you were anywhere near here, I'd be happy to do the honors!

Catherine - thank you! I was quite happy with the decorative peel myself ... we won't mention how long it took to get it just right ... or how much I might have spilled in the process! LOL

Katherine Roberts Aucoin said...

What a innovative cocktail - So elegant an chic! I am so anxious to try this!

You are definitely the diva of cocktails!

Jewels For Hope said...

This drink sounds amazing. I could use one of these right now! :)


love the way that orange peel sat at the tip of the glass... SO SEXY and yes DIVA-esque!

SSI said...

I post about cobbler and you post about drinks...I want what you've got!!!

Lyndsay Wells said...

Oh how I love me some thirsty Thursdays!

As you know, I have tried most of your drinks and they have been AWESOME!

I think I'll make this libation Sunday evening for the closing ceremony of the olympics :-)

Deb in Hawaii said...

What a creative and unique cocktail--I love all the ingredients. Gorgeous photo too!

Ca88andra said...

Looks like they would be yummy in winter!

Anonymous said...

What a unique cocktail, it sounds just fabulous! I love the name too!

Beth Morey said...

I must say -- I don't usually go in for alcohol, but your drinks look gorgeous and tasty!

Molly said...

oh. my. The spice is intriguing, and it sounds like it would warm you up since it's still winter! Thanks for the info on the Kara's blog, I'm off to check it out!

Tangled Noodle said...

You've brought Thirsty Thursday back with a bang! Bourbon and Navan in one drink? Heaven!! The chipotle-orange syrup is a must-make.

I hope you'll share highlights of the cocktail party!

Charmian@Christie's Corner said...

This sounds amazing. I bet the chipotle orange syrup can be used in other ways, too, so it's well worth the effort and delayed gratification.

Nice job!