December is one of our favorite times of the year as cocktail bloggers, because it officially is the start of citrus season! Fresh citrus starts appearing in stores and finding its way into our cocktails. With a bag of fresh oranges on our kitchen, and Christmas coming up, our Earl of Orange cocktail is a perfect sipping cocktail for the season!
In many families, giving oranges as a gift at Christmas is part of their family tradition, hearkening back to the gold, spices and gifts of the Three Kings and the gold that Saint Nick left in people’s stockings. We wanted to capture some of that wonderful flavor of oranges and spice for our Earl of Orange cocktail, so we thought a spiced orange syrup would be the perfect starting point.
Our spiced orange syrup is a delicious combination of sweet and spice. Made with fresh orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice, there is a full bold burst of orange flavor. To bring a nice bit of holiday spice, we added in some traditional mulling spices, cinnamon, clove and star anise. The combination of spice and citrus makes for a complex sweet syrup that has an incredible perfume as well.
Bourbon is a wonderful spirit for the winter as it is one of those drinks that warms the body and soul. Bourbon also just happens to pair up really well with orange and spice, so a healthy dram of bourbon was just what the doctor ordered for this drink. Bringing a caramel sweetness and hints of the same spices as our spiced orange syrup, the bourbon just enhanced the festive feel of the spiced orange syrup.
We needed a way to bring a little balance to the Earl of Orange and temper the sweetness of the spiced orange syrup and bourbon. Rather than go sour, we decided to bring in a little bitterness to the party. Not wanting to lose the bright orange flavor we had, we turned to Earl Grey tea which is made from black tea flavored with bergamot oil which is made from the rind of the bitter orange. The black tea of the Earl Grey brings a pleasant herbal bitterness that balanced the sweet with hint of bitter while adding another layer of orange flavor.
The Earl of Orange is a wonderful sipping cocktail full of the flavors of the Holidays, full of bright orange and festive spice. Hints of orange and spice tempt the taste buds and fill your nose with a rich perfume that feels like Christmas. We hope the Earl of Orange will find a way to your holiday table! Cheers!
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1.25 oz Spiced Orange Syrup
- 1 oz chilled Earl Grey Tea
- 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 dashes citrus bitters.
- Orange twist for garnish.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6-8 whole cloves
- 1 whole star anise
- Zest of 1 orange
- Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
- Fill shaker with ice.
- Shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice.
- Express the oils of an orange peel onto the top of the cocktail.
- Place sugar, water and orange juice into a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- While the mixture is heating, zest an orange into the sauce pan (we did large peels rather than a fine zest)
- Add the spices into the mixture.
- Once the mixture boils, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the orange peels, but leave the spices for 10 more minutes.
- Once cool, strain the syrup into a covered glass jar and store in a refrigerator.