Add Some Spice to a Chilly Fall Night

Ever wanted to move to Oregon? No? I believe you, but this drink made me think about it. Portland Cocktail Week took place at the end of October, and one of the locally featured drinks is something both whiskey lovers and haters should give a try.


  • Rye whiskey: My personal favorite is Old Overholt. It’s reasonably priced and sold in most liquor stores.
  • Apple cider: If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could press your own from fresh apples. However, if you’re like me and have other higher priority items on your to-do list than pressing apples, some quality store-bought apple cider (think TJ’s or Whole foods) will do the job.
  • Bitters: If you’ve never used bitters, you’re missing out. Bitters add another dimension to drinks that few other ingredients offer. Make Angostura bitters your first, since this is the most popular bitter for a variety of cocktails.
  • Spiced simple syrup (sugar, water, spices): See Preparation
  • One lemon 


Spiced simple syrup: Simple syrup is a solution that consists of equal parts sugar and water. In this case, we want to spice it up with, well, spices. If you’re feeling really festive, you can grind some fresh pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg to mix this up, but if you don’t feel like buying a spice rack just for this drink, you can pick up a bottle of pumpkin spice (less than 2 bucks at TJ’s) and combine 2-3 tsp of that with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a pan. Put this over medium eat, stir frequently until no solids remains and the solution simmers, and then let cool to room temperature. Pour this through a strainer and store in the fridge for up to a few weeks.

Lemon Twist: For any easy technique to create a lemon twist, see this video:


  • In a cocktai shaker, add ice
  • Add 2 oz rye whiskey
  • Add 1.5 oz cider
  • Add 1 tsp spiced simple syrup
  • Add 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Close the shaker and shake vigorously until moisture forms on the exterior
  • Take a 8-10 oz glass and add a few cubes
  • Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass
  • Add the lemon twist

As always, I recommend you make this on your own first and modify the proportions based on your taste preferences. Successfully following a recipe is great, but customizing the drink and making it yours is even better. And if you’re concerned about drinking alone, just remember – I’m probably drinking right now, so we’re in this together.

1 Comment
  1. I’m laughing because I live in Portland, and it is pouring down rain right now. It won’t stop until July. When it does, you should visit because our cocktail bars and local craft distilleries are fabulous! Those of us who live here will be drinking often to make it through to the sunny season… which is far far away at this point. (Our local breweries and wineries are great too.)

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