With summer here, it is great to have a few effortless cocktails to add into the rotation. This particular cocktail spotlights chai concentrate as the inspiration point, using just a few other simple ingredients to highlight the gorgeous spices in the chai and really let them shine through. The rye whiskey marries so well with the chai—think about the refreshing summer version of a hot toddy—with a bit of maple syrup for sweetness and added body and the tart brightness of cherry juice. There is just enough acidity from the cherry juice and plenty of complexity from the whiskey and chai to keep the cocktail lively and playful. As you sip, let the caramelized orange garnish infuse into the drink to bring in even more layers of flavor. Grilling? Skip the skillet and throw a few orange slices on the grill for garnish instead.
- 2 ounces rye whiskey; I used Templeton Rye
- 1 ounce chai concentrate; I used Dona Chai
- 1 ounce cherry juice; I used Santa Cruz Organic
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup
- half a slice of an orange, cut 1/4″ thick, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon cane sugar
Heat a skillet on medium high heat. Coat one side of the orange slice in sugar. When the skillet is hot, place the orange on it, sugar side down, and let caramelize for about 3-4 minutes. Keep a close eye on the orange as it caramelizes, careful not to let it burn. Remove the orange from the skillet and let it cool on a cutting board.
Combine rye whiskey, chai concentrate, cherry juice, and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add a scoop of ice, return the lid to the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until the side of the shaker begins to frost. Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with the caramelized orange slice.