It’s a beautiful, overcast fall day in Nebraska and I’m bundled up in my warmest Schalke 04 hoodie, blogging away at the local coffee shop. Next week, Lexi Bites is shifting away from our usual month-long exploration of a single country’s cuisine. More on that later. I have one final, show-stopping Belgian recipe coming to the blog tomorrow. But today, I’m breaking the rules with a cocktail recipe I created exclusively for next week’s BlogHer Food conference in Chicago. Meet the gorgeous Autumn Glow Sour.
Egg white cocktails—fizzes, sours and flips—are some of my favorite libations, and I’ve featured quite a few on the blog already, including the Lime Blue Lady and the Rosemary White Lady. Egg whites don’t impact the taste of the cocktail, but add a foamy, silky texture, transforming your standard sour into something spectacular.
As soon as I heard about the BlogHer Food ’15 and Hyatt Regency Chicago’s BlogHer Cocktail Contest, I knew I had to enter. I certainly could have entered a recipe I’d already posted on my blog, but I wanted to create something special just for the occasion. After tasting my way through Kentucky Bourbon Country last summer, I knew it had to include bourbon. I’ve also been obsessed with fall flavors of late, so I wanted to incorporate my favorite warm and toasty spices: star anise, cinnamon and cardamom.
The Autumn Glow Sour combines all the flavors of fall in a single cocktail glass: smooth bourbon, with notes of oak, smoke and caramel; spicy, vibrant ginger; heady cardamom, star anise and cinnamon, and bright lemon. Egg white adds creamy, comforting texture, while bitters add a touch of depth and dimension.
To create the spiced simple syrup, combine 1 cup of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar (1:1 ratio) in a sauce pan. Bring to boil to dissolve sugar and then add 3 star anise, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 cardamom pods. Remove from the heat and allow the spices to steep in the syrup for 30 minutes, or until cool. Strain the syrup and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Play around with the spices to suit your individual tastes. A few black peppercorns, whole cloves, or slices of ginger would also be magical.
To ensure a proper silky egg white texture in your Autumn Glow Sour, you’ll use a two-shake method. First, combine the bourbon, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, egg white and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously until the egg white is foamy, about 20-30 seconds. Next, add ice and shake to chill, about 10-15 seconds. Here’s a great video tutorial by ZAGAT that demonstrates the two-shake method. Strain the cocktail into a martini or coupe glass, garnish with a few dashes of orange or Angostura bitters and enjoy. You’ll be glowing in no time!
I didn’t quite master the two-shake method, as evidenced by the rather large bubbles in my photos. Even though my Autumn Glow Sour didn’t turn out perfectly, it was absolutely delicious. After just a few sips, the fall spices and heady bourbon kicked in to warm me up on even the chilliest fall day.
I’m crossing my fingers that this cocktail will win me a spot in the top three of the BlogHer and Hyatt Regency Chicago BlogHer Food Cocktail Contest. The top three cocktails will be featured on an exclusive cocktail menu at the Hyatt Regency’s Big Bar during the duration of the conference. That would be an honor! But if I don’t win, I’ll just have to drown my sorrows in a few more Autumn Glow Sours. Let’s toast to that!
- Autumn-Spiced Simpe Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cardamom pod, or ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1½ ounces bourbon or rye
- ¾ ounce ginger liqueur
- ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ¾ ounce Autumn-spiced Simple Syrup
- 1 egg white
- Ice, for mixing
- Orange or Angostura bitters, for garnish
- To make simple syrup, combine water and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add star anise, cinnamon stick and cardamom pod. (If using ground cardamom, add to cooled syrup.) Remove from heat and allow sugar mixture to steep until cool, about 30 minutes. Strain out spices and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Syrup can be made ahead.
- For cocktail, combine bourbon or rye, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white in a cocktail shaker. Dry shake ingredients until egg white is frothy, about 20-30 seconds. Add ice and shake again until cocktail is chilled, about 10-15 seconds. Stain through a fine mesh strainer into a martini or coupe glass. Garnish with bitters and serve immediately. Cook time include simple syrup steeping time.