Last week, I decided I needed to mix things up for my regular Friday cocktail, and invited my Instagram followers to challenge and inspire me with random ingredients. And it turns out most of you are weird as fuck (like, you think I’m really gonna make a “ketchup, ice cream, and duck gravy” cocktail?). But the idea that stuck with me the most was actually the first (AND TOTALLY REASONABLE) one, posted by food writer Rachel Tepper Paley. Her suggestion? Chinese five spice, ginger, and black tea — which resulted in this wonderful Chinese five spice cocktail, The Hot Commodity.
Chinese five spice is a ground mixture of Cinnamon (or cassia), clove, fennel, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns, and right away, I knew I wanted to use it on the rim — which might be considered cheating if it weren’t my own damn challenge. The tea and ginger were easy; I mixed double-strength black tea (eight ounces of English Breakfast tea brewed with two bags instead of one), and some Barrow’s Intense ginger liqueur with a little bourbon, lemon juice, and bitters. I also added a drop of clove essential oil to really enhance the five spice, and make the drink a little more exciting.
Looking at Rachel’s list, you might think I took the easy road. And you know what? It’s my blog and I do what I want. But I also picked the one that was the most intriguing to me, and the one that sounded like something I’d actually order at a bar. So, suck it! Though I think you’d rather suck on this drink instead. It’s sort of a cold, Asian-inspired take on a hot toddy. If you like sightly spicy drinks, I think you’re going to like it.
The Hot Commodity
2 ounces double-strength black tea, cooled
2 ounces Barrow’s Intense ginger liqueur
1 ounce bourbon
1 squeeze fresh lemon juice
1 drop clove oil
1 hearty dash Angostura bitters
FOR THE GARNISH
Chinese five spice (at least 1 teaspoon)
Granulated white sugar (at least 1 teaspoon)
Combine equal parts Chinese five spice and granulated white sugar on a small plate. Using a prepared lemon wedge, moisten the rim of a coupe or cocktail glass, then gently roll the rim in the spice mixture. Set aside (but hold onto that lemon wedge for the next step). Add the tea, ginger liqueur, bourbon, lemon juice (squeezed from that wedge!), clove oil, and bitters to a cocktail shaker or widemouth mason jar with a handful of ice. Shake well then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick — or not — and enjoy!
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