A concerted effort of ATVS offseason conditioning has been to develop our cocktail game for the upcoming season. As we all know, man (/woman) does not drink on beer alone.
Sure, bourbon is fantastic on its own. But variety is the spice of life, and we all need a little change-up every now and again.
Hence, friend of the site and twitter raconteur @Blanx tossed out a suggestion involving rye whiskey and a simple syrup infused with some Asian flare and a name that fits LSU like a glove.
After some experimentation, we came up with a solution:
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup water
1 T Chinese Five-Spice
5 star anise
2 oz Bourbon
1⁄2 oz spiced simple syrup
Making simple syrup is pretty easy — just add sugar to water into a sauce pan, heat until the mixture boils and the sugar is completely dissolved. In this case, just add your star anise and five spice in with the sugar. Bring it to a good, rolling boil for about a minute or two, just to make sure the flavors fully infuse.
Strain into a bowl or glass of some sort. You’ll want to get this good and cool before making the drink — a couple ice cubes thrown in won’t hurt.
As a rule, simple syrup keeps for about a week in the fridge, or you can freeze it.
As for the drink, pour the syrup over ice in a shaker (good rule of thumb, whenever working with a viscous mixture, pour it over the ice first in your shaker to coat the cubes), then add your bourbon, shake well and pour over a rocks glass full of ice.
We tried this with both rye whiskey and bourbon, and found that the oakiness of the bourbon added a very tasty contrast at the back end of the sip. Star anise has an earthy, licorice-type flavor, but the five-spice and sugar will mellow that out for a smooth drink with a nice combination of sweet and spice that’ll get things off the field on third down. If you want to fancy things up, you can add some maraschino cherries as a garnish and rim your glass with a little bit of the five spice.