We’re finally getting our first cold front locally, which means I’m finally ready to start drinking fall flavors. Full disclosure: I’ve had one sip of a PSL so far. One sip, and it tasted totally out of place. Have you ever grabbed your friend’s glass thinking it was Coke, but it turned out to be Dr. Pepper? That’s how my taste buds reacted to the PSL. No pumpkin beer, Oktoberfest or anything else associated with this time of year has passed my trap.
That all changes this week. However, we’re easing it, keeping things light with hints of the season in our glass. Don’t get me wrong — I can’t wait to get into drinks that warm you to the core, but there’s plenty of autumn left ahead of us. Not to mention it’ll be warm again in a week, and the following drink will still work.
While cardamom can be a bit pricey, it’s a tasty spice widely used in Indian cuisine and a welcome addition to your pantry. Plus, it pairs well with blood orange from the white sangria, as you’ll soon find out. The addition of cinnamon, star anise and apple, though, are what truly help “fall” shine through.
I’m really excited because this cocktail isn’t a heavy, weigh-you-down type of drink. It’s definitely not like anything you’ve ever tasted before, either. Enjoy the cooler weather — without forking over $5 for a PSL — while mixing up one of these.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Zest of 1 orange
In a small saucepan over high heat, bring water to boil and add sugar. Stir until fully dissolved. Reduce heat to simmer, then add cardamom (if you find whole pods, all the better — your syrup will end up clearer) and orange zest. Stir for 1 minute and remove from heat. Allow to cool. Keep covered and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
2 ounces orange vodka
2 tablespoons cardamom syrup
4-5 ounces Califresca White Sangria
Tonic or seltzer water, to top
1 cinnamon stick, star anise and apple slice, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled two-thirds with ice, add vodka, cardamom syrup and sangria. Shake until well-chilled. Strain cocktail into a pint glass filled with ice. Top with tonic. Garnish with cinnamon stick, star anise and apple slice.