Spice up an Evening With our Favorite Tequila Cocktail

For warming by the fire.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink
  • Written by
    Kara Mickelson
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

In Southern California, winter may not mean bulky coats and mittens, but as the weather cools, we do change our eating habits, gravitating toward comforting foods and beverages with seasonal flair. This year why not take it beyond the flavored latte?  Traditional warm spices and notes of citrus are a perfect way to put a palate-pleasing spin on cocktails.

You don’t have to be a mixologist to take this one on. Start with your favorite brand of tequila and add a homemade, spiced-up, honey-based simple syrup. The syrup rounds out the edges a bit, adding subtle sweetness that pairs wonderfully with the full-bodied flavors of tequila. This cocktail is perfect for serving guests at a dinner party or sipping by the fire.

Spiced Honey Tequila

Serves 1

  • 1-by-2-inch peel of 1 orange or 2 small tangerines per drink
  • juice from orange or tangerine
  • fresh bay leaf
  • cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons Spiced Honey Simple Syrup (recipe below)
  • 4 ounces tequila

To make the citrus twist, use a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the peel into 1-inch strips. Remove any white pith from the peel. To flame, use tongs to hold the peel over an open flame, or use a match and burn the edges slightly.

For the cocktail, rub the flamed citrus twist in the glass before adding it to the drink. Add a splash of citrus juice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, simple syrup and tequila. Stir and serve as is or on the rocks.

Spiced Honey Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup mild raw honey
  • 3/4 cup water, or more as desired
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole allspice berry
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Combine honey and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, constantly stirring until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, add spices, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature. Strain and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use extra syrup in other cocktails or with coffee and tea.

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