Give the Tequila on Your Bar Cart a Seasonal Spin

Spice it up.

  • Category
    Eat & Drink, Homes
  • Written by
    Kara Mickelson
  • Photographed by
    Shane O’Donnell

In Southern California, fall doesn’t mean digging out the bulky sweaters and mittens. As the weather cools and the mood shifts, we gravitate toward comforting foods and beverages. And while that might not mean a pumpkin latte, the traditional warm spices and notes of citrus associated with the season are perfect in a holiday drink, even if that drink is tequila.

We’re not talking about a viral take on a margarita with pumpkin and sweet-and-salty cinnamon rims, although that might be worth a try. Instead we think the holidays are a time to keep it simple. Start with a good brand of tequila, like South Bay-based Celaya, and add a spiced-up honey simple syrup to sweeten the edge a bit. It’s perfect for sipping, and the simple syrup can be made two weeks in advance—giving you more time to wind down or hang out with family and friends.

Holiday Spiced Honey Tequila

Serves 1

  • 1-by-2-inch peel of 1 orange or 2 small tangerines per drink
  • juice from orange or tangerine
  • fresh bay leaf, optional
  • cinnamon stick, optional
  • 2 tablespoons Spiced Honey  Simple Syrup (recipe below)
  • 4 ounces Celaya, or your favorite brand of sipping tequila
  • To make the citrus twist, use a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler to remove the peel into 1-inch-wide strips. Remove any white pith from the peel. To flame the citrus, use tongs to hold the peel over an open flame, or use a match and burn the edges slightly.

To make the cocktail, rub the flamed citrus twist in the glass before adding it to the drink. Add a splash of citrus juice, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, simple syrup and tequila. Stir and serve as is or on the rocks.

Spiced Honey Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup mild raw honey
  • 3/4 cup water, or more as desired
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole allspice berry
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Combine honey and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over mediumhigh heat, constantly stirring until honey dissolves (it will froth and bubble). Remove from heat, add spices, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Uncover and cool to room temperature. Strain and store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to two weeks. Use extra syrup to spice and sweeten coffee or tea.