Five spice old fashioned
For the five spice simple syrup:
- One whole star anise
- Two sticks of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole Sichuan peppercorns
- 5 cloves
- One cup sugar
- One cup water
Toast the star anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cloves and Sichuan peppercorns in a skillet over medium high heat for a few minutes. Be careful and pay attention so that you don't burn the spices, you want to start to release some of the oils.
Once toasted, add spice mixture to small pot with the sugar and water. Over medium high heat stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and almost comes to a boil. Don't let the mixture come to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, off the heat and cover with a tight fitting lid. Let the spice mixture steep for two hours. After two hours strain the spices out the mixture and then bottle. Syrup should easily last two weeks.
For the five spice old fashioned:
- 2 oz. Four Roses yellow label bourbon
- 1 teaspoon five spice simple syrup
- 1 teaspoon gum syrup (A lot of people have gum syrup in their home bar, so if you don't have any, just up the five spice simple syrup to .25 oz. Gum syrup gives stirred cocktails a silky and lingering mouthful that accentuates the flavor of the bourbon and spices of the syrup. It works best in stirred drinks like an old fashioned).
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- A few dashes of Bittermans Elemakule tiki bitters
- Orange peel for garnish
Combine the bourbon, syrups and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass over ice. Stir until properly chilled and diluted. Strain into a rocks glass over a giant chunk of ice. Express orange peel oils over the cocktail and then add peel as a garnish. Enjoy.
The five spice simple syrup with star anise, cinnamon, clove, Sichuan peppercorn and fennel is a well layered syrup that's not too sweet. The spices trick you into thinking that this syrup isn't too sweet. It's well balanced and easy to make, but it takes a few hours for all of the spices to soak in. If you decide to make the syrup, play around with it in other cocktails, like a classic daiquiri.
I used the five spice syrup in a riff on an old fashioned. I wanted something tiki but also something that stayed true to an old fashioned. This drink doesn't disappoint.
The spices work well within the overall flavor profile of bourbon. I went with Four Roses yellow label because I like the toasted marshmallow quality of yellow label, plus I wanted a lower proof bourbon. Four Roses yellow label comes in at 80 proof, so it fits the bill. Also, I happen to love this stuff.
The five spiced old fashioned is a fun and funky cocktail. Throw Stereolab's Captain Easychord e.p. onto the record player and enjoy.