When I think of cocktails, I think of sipping G&Ts by the pool on a hot summer’s day; ice cold Mojitos and getting my buzz on with a cool Gin Julep or two — but cocktails don’t just have to be for summer!
I was recently introduced to the new Prohibition Gin, which is infused with traditional botanicals of juniper, coriander, lemon, angelica and cinnamon – all flavours which would have been used during the prohibition era. I thought that the flavours used in glüwein would complement this gin beautifully, and would make for a lovely winter cocktail that can warm you up from the inside out, while still managing to pack a punch!
Try this Spiced Gin and Chai Winter Cocktail. It can be served warm or cold. If you want a warmer cocktail, cool the tea down only slightly. Otherwise serve over cubed ice.
To speed up this process, you can make the sugar syrup in advance. It will keep in the fridge for a month.
For the clove simple syrup:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup demerara sugar (white sugar can also be used if you’re in a pinch)
- 2 tbsp whole cloves (about 15)
For the cocktail:
- 1 orange
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 chai tea bags – we used Rooibos Chai Tea for a sweeter flavour
- 1 cup (250 ml) water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 2 shots (50 ml) good quality gin
- 1 shot (25 ml) clove simple syrup
For the clove syrup
- Heat the water and sugar in a large pan until barely simmering.
- Add the cloves and stir until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Take the pan off the heat, and let cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate overnight with the cloves to get the most intense flavour.
- Strain the syrup through a fine sieve.
- If you’re planning on making cocktails for a crowd, the syrup can be made ahead of time and will keep for up to a month, if refrigerated.
For the cocktail
- Cut the orange in half and slice 2 or 3 large round slices from the middle.
- Place the orange slices on a baking sheet and top with the brown sugar. Place under the grill for a few minutes (keep an eye on these!) until the sugar has caramelised and juuust started to turn brown. Alternatively, you can caramelise the sugar with a blow torch if you have one. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel 2 or 3 big slices of orange peel and set aside for later.
- Heat the remaining 1 cup of water to just below boiling, and steep the tea bags for between 3 and 5 minutes.
- Add the star anise and cinnamon stick to the tea while it’s steeping.
- Optional: Toast the spices in a hot, dry pan for a few minutes before adding them to the tea. This will enhance the flavour and aroma.
- Once the tea is done steeping, remove the tea bags and cool to room temperature. This cocktail can be served warm or cold, if you want a warmer cocktail, you don’t have to cool the tea.
- In a shaker, combine the clove syrup, star anise, cinnamon stick, gin and an ice cube.
- Shake well until completely incorporated, at least 45 seconds.
- Place your candied orange slices in the bottom of the glass and strain the gin mixture over.
- Top with the tea.
- Twist the orange rind and drop into the glass. This releases the natural orange oils and enhances the flavour.
- Garnish with the cinnamon stick and star anise and serve!
- Optional: Add a squeeze of lime to lift the other flavours.