The Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail is a wonderful combination of bourbon, orange liqueur, and ginger syrup with a brûléed orange for garnish; a nice garnish but also a sweet treat to eat.
Every once in awhile, I crave a more sophisticated cocktail; one similar to the classics and not quite as dressed up as some of the fun cocktails I’ve devised for this space. When that happens it’s usually bourbon that comes to mind; I absolutely love the scent and taste of bourbon above all others. Well, OK, maybe tequila does tie for that spot but I will always think of it primarily as a summer sipper and seldom stray far beyond margaritas.
This Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail is a riff of sorts on an Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned and Manhattan’s were my mother’s favorite drinks and while I never drank one with her as a kid, I can still picture her sipping from a glass with a liquid gold beverage in it and either a beautiful maraschino cherry or a twist of orange. I was of the Shirley Temple set; the fruit were a sign of something special!
This cocktail is a bit sweeter than either of those but make no mistake, it is absolutely bourbon forward, so make sure you use something you love. For this drink I used Maker’s Mark; it’s very much my house brand. I almost opened a bottle of Knob Creek but with four open bottles of bourbon already open in my bar, well, that can wait. I need some drinkers over here…who’s coming to help?
I made this same Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail a couple of weeks ago using blood oranges and it was gorgeous too but for this post, I wanted to brûlée the orange slices, not just candy them and I doubted it would show on the dark red of a blood orange; but switch it up if you want; both are equally delicious.
I can’t deny one of the best parts? That orange slice is entirely edible. A candied orange slice that has been browned a bit with a torch and then allowed to rest in a bourbon and liqueur mixture. Oh my…I need to make more of those pups!
I got a new toy recently and I love it but the results of it are well hidden in these photos today. I never use refrigerator ice for my cocktails that I photograph; those half moon white blobs are distracting and not attractive at all. So I buy my ice from Sprouts; it’s clear and square and looks nice in almost any cocktail.
Still, I wanted to make some of those big ice balls that are so popular in cocktails like this. I’ve tried the small forms that make them and while they do freeze the right shape, they are also cloudy white. I know there is a reason and I know this…I would need a separate machine to be able to achieve what I want and I haven’t been interested enough in clear ice to plop down $500 so I keep trying.
Filtered water is not the answer by the way, neither is boiling it. But I just purchase something new a couple of weeks ago and it does the best job of all I’ve used without totally breaking the bank. The results were good, not perfect but really very good. These are not just pretty but really serve a purpose for cocktail; the ice melts much slower than small cubes; they’re perfect for a sipper like this Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail.
The unit comes with a container that hold the forms that make the ice round and it’s frozen with more water surrounding the freezing orbs. What I found was that the top two-thirds of the ice really was clear but the bottom still had some of the dreaded white ice. Not a lot though so while I would wish for super clear, these are the best I’ve made and I’m pleased with the rsults; you can see through them!
If you’re a bit of a fanatic about ice too; you might want to check out the Perfect Ice Ball Maker over on Amazon.
- 1 medium navel orange, sliced crosswise, 1/4 inch thick slices
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 ounce orange liqueur
- 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur or ginger syrup (or substitute morel orange liqueur)
To Brûlée the Orange Slices
- Slice the orange into approximately 1/8" slices. In a medium skillet, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the orange slices and cook over moderate heat, turning them occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the orange slices are translucent, about 20 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup is thick and the slices are tender but still intact, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the orange slices to a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup for another use.
To Make the Cocktail
- Combine bourbon, orange liqueur, and ginger syrup in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice cubes. Stir enough to chill the mixture. and strain it over ice into two rocks glasses. Place an orange slice in the glass. Serve.