If I were to think of one of my top three signature cocktails, this Earl Grey Bourbon Old Fashioned would absolutely be on that list! Once the tea simple syrup is made and chilled, the cocktail is a crowd pleaser with only four ingredients.
Living in the last few decades’ resurgence of the craft cocktail movement, I find inspiration can come from any moment. It could be any magazine article with the perfect photo, any youtube video or TV show that displays the creativity individuals possess not only with the meals and dishes, but that same creativity with the cocktails as well.
For me, the inspiration and creativity for this cocktail came from a happy hour with Eric a few years back, when we randomly went out for sushi and drinks. We were sitting at the bar and enjoying the energy of vibrant talking and laughter around us, great conversation between us, and the excitement of deciding which cocktails and appetizers/sushi rolls to have. I don’t remember the food that we chose that day, or the cocktail that I chose, but we will NEVER forget the Earl Grey Bourbon Old Fashioned that Eric selected…and ended up sharing a bit of that cocktail with me.
Now I should (or maybe shouldn’t) confess that I am not the biggest fan of most teas. I want to like them, just like I want to like Bloody Mary’s, but there is just something about most teas that has historically hit the wrong taste buds for me. Who knows…maybe because of this cocktail, I will eventually start adding teas to my beverage options. Without a doubt though, I can say I LOVE THIS OLD FASHIONED! And it is largely in part to the Earl Grey simple syrup.
Creating the Earl Grey Tea into a simple syrup mixes just the right amount of sweet with the bitterness and citrus that is associated with Earl Grey Tea. Couple that with my favorite bourbon (Bulliet Bourbon), classic bitters and a flamed lemon peel, this is a cocktail that satisfies this old fashioned lover.
Over the last few years, this cocktail has been in the normal rotation of family get togethers (sans pandemic era), random at home date night meals, or really just for fun. The best part is flaming the citrus peel.
Making this cocktail at home reminds me of that fun random night that we discovered this cocktail and the energy of that moment. As I write this, I’m getting inspired to make some Earl Grey Simple Syrup and ready for the next dinner party or date night in to recreate that moment all those years ago! I hope you enjoy as much as we do.
A recent modifications of this cocktail that was born out of necessity (aka, what we had on hand): we subbed Rye Whiskey for Bourbon, orange peel in place of lemon peel, and exchanged ginger bitters for the classic Angostura bitters. This was quite tasty as well. So many possibilities with this simple syrup base.
Earl Grey Bourbon Old Fashioned
- 2 oz Bulliet Bourbon
- 1 oz Earl Grey simple syrup
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Lemon peel
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine bourbon, simple syrup and bitters. Shake for 30 seconds. In a lowball cocktail glass, place one large ice cube. Strain cocktail over ice cube. Peel part of a lemon rind and using a lit match or lighter, squeeze the peels so the oils spark over the cocktail and drop the lemon peel in the drink. Time to serve.
Earl Grey Simple Syrup
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 7 bags Earl Grey Tea
- 1 1/2 cup water
Boil water in a small sauce pot over high heat. Once at a boil, remove from heat and steep tea bags in the water for approx 3 mins. Remove tea bags and place pot back on burner over medium-high heat and add sugar. Stir frequently, until sugar completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool. Transfer to airtight containers and put in fridge. Can be stored for up to 1 week.
*Experimental Spoon Original.