As our wardrobes change from flip flops to socks, fall cocktails typically turn golden brown (just like the leaves!) and pick up some warm spicy notes to keep us toasty. This pretty pitcher drink is a serious sip that captures all of the above. It's a great choice for any fall gathering and it was a perfect match for the menu we planned for The Kitchn's Thanksgiving Dinner Outdoors!
Sangria and fruity Champagne pours aren't the only cocktails that can be served in a pitcher! In fact, many cocktails do great when made in bulk and doled out by the cup. Not only does this mean you can make the cocktail well ahead of the party, but a pitcher cocktail like this saves you from shaking drinks all night.
With this pitcher cocktail, our favorite Gold Rush cocktail gets a fall makeover and becomes the spicier Amber Rush! It's made with spicy rye whiskey in place of the mellow bourbon, a spice-infused honey syrup, and orange peel along with the fresh lemon juice. Whiskey lovers will find this particular pitcher cocktail to be right up their alley.
Pull out your favorite jeans, throw on a sweater and mix up a big batch of Amber Rush for the best fall happy hour in less than ten minutes time.
The Rye & Honey
For the Spiced Honey Syrup:
1/2 cup clover honey
1/2 cup water
3 whole star anise
1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into coins (4 to 5 slices)
1 strip of orange peel, removed with a peeler (no pith)
For the cocktail:
12 ounces rye whiskey (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
6 dashes of orange bitters
6 strips of lemon peel (taken from 1 to 2 lemons), removed with a peeler (no pith)
6 strips of orange peel (taken from 1 orange), removed with a peeler (no pith)
Combine the honey, water, star anise, ginger, and orange peel in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a slow simmer. Continue simmering for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain out the spices.
In a large pitcher, combine the rye, bitters, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the Spiced Honey Syrup. Stir until combined. This can be made and kept refrigerated for several days. (You may have a little Spiced Honey Syrup leftover; it can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 weeks and mixed with other cocktails.)
When ready to serve, add ice to the pitcher with the cocktail. Squeeze the lemon peels and orange peels on top to express their oils, then drop the peels into the mix. (You can also add a few whole star anise pods for styling, if you like.) Stir to combine.
Pour into 6 rocks glasses, adding more ice from the pitcher to each glass as needed. Garnish each glass with an orange or lemon peel.
- This is really delicious with a splash of ginger beer at the end if you wanted to give it a little spritz.
- Try alternating lemon and orange peel garnishes in the glasses if serving on a tray or alternate them as you place them in the pitcher.