We need heat. This cocktail was inspired by my previous citrus post. As Alex finished his portion of bruleed clementines and sipped the juices that had dripped out, he casually mentioned “this orangey sugar would be really good with some bourbon”. And the spark was lit.
Caramelizing the sugar for the simple syrup adds a depth that regular simple syrup cannot. Flaming the orange peels adds a smoky note. And that amber colour is warmth for the eyes.
We can’t make winter go away, but we can make this drink.
Burnt Orange Cocktail
2 oz rye whiskey, such as Sazerac
1 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz burnt sugar syrup (recipe follows)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Burnt orange peel for garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnish in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake gently until shaker is ice cold on the outside. Strain into glass. For garnish, peel a long, fairly thick, strip of orange zest from an orange using a vegetable peeler. Roll tightly, squeezing some of the oils from the peel. Place roll on a non-flammable surface and torch until black on the edges. Do not over torch unless you want ash in your drink...
Burnt sugar syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Over medium low heat, melt sugar in a saucepan, stirring occasionally. At first, it will seem like it’s not doing anything. Then it will seem like it’s turning into hard clumps. But don’t worry, once it melts, the clumps will melt back in too. Once the sugar is completely melted, it should be a deep amber colour. Remove from heat and slowly add the water, stirring or whisking constantly. The sugar will seize, but just keep stirring until it dissolves back in. Let cool completely before using.