Bourbon Summer Orange Kiss

I'm always trying to dream up new cocktails, it's my thing.  Went to Pizzeria Vetri on Chancellor Street in Center City Philadelphia a few weeks back, and we were there in time to take advantage of Center City Sips Happy Hour specials - $5 cocktails, $5 apps, and $3 beers.  Their summer cocktail, a combination of whiskey, lemonade and rosemary simple syrup was refreshing and not too sweet. Went down smooth. I made myself have only one, but my friends enjoyed several more.  Inspired by this combination, I sought to make something similar at home but I discovered I had no lemons.  We did have limes, clementines and several lovely bottles of flavored syrups and shrubs.  I grabbed the lavender syrup and whipped up this sweet bourbon kiss. 

You can use oranges instead of clementines, but I do suggest you use either a lavender simple syrup or something that's infused with citrus, lavender, rosemary, or mint.  A lighter bourbon will work with this drink, something mild, light and smooth.  Basil Hayden was a Christmas gift and I love it straight up.  It also makes a nice light cocktail.  Orange bitters round out the flavor components, perfuming the entire drink.

Summer Orange Kiss Ingredients:
  • Ice - For cocktail shaker and for rocks glass
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters
  • 1 Clementine - Juice of half  (about 1 tablespoon orange juice); Peel off a section of zest for garnish; use the reserved half of clementine and slice off a piece (about 1-inch worth) to muddle in cocktail shaker
  • 1 Small Lime - cut in half and juice,(about 1 tablespoon lime juice), reserve other half for another use 
  • 1 Jigger of Bourbon - 1.5 - 2 ounces approximately
  • 1 Tablespoon Lavender Infused Simple Syrup **

  1. Add a slice of clementine to a cocktail shaker and add in 2 dashes of orange bitters.  Muddle the orange segment to release its juices and essence.
  2. Add ice to the cocktail shaker and the juice of half of a Clementine, juice of half of a lime, a jigger of light bourbon and a tablespoon of lavender syrup. Close shaker and shake vigorously.  
  3. Strain and serve the drink in a rocks glass filled with 2 ice cubes or preferably a large round or square ice cube.  Garnish with the zest of the clementine.
  4. Makes one drink!

** To make your own simple syrup, it is truly simple to do.  
  • Take 1 cup of white, granulated sugar and 1 cup of fresh water.  Add them to a small sauce pan and over medium heat, heat the mixture until the sugar dissolves into the water and the water turns clear and syrupy - about 5-6 minutes.  
  • To infuse the syrup with a flavor, add in cleaned pieces of: sprigs of rosemary, or a handful of mint leaves lightly crushed, or a few springs/stalks of clean lavender.  Allow the herb of choice to steep in the syrup for 15-20 minutes over low, barely simmering heat, do not boil or allow the mixture to reduce down.  
  • Let the syrup cool then then remove the herbs and discard them. Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove any particles and decant into a clean glass jar or bottle.  Cover and refrigerate. 
  • The syrup will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator.  
  • To keep it longer, add in several drops or a teaspoon of a neutral spirit such as vodka, to keep any bacteria from forming.  Discard if the syrup looks cloudy, moldy or funky!
  • Syrup can be used to flavor iced tea or iced coffees.


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