Chipotle Orange Syrup is one of my favorite additions to a number of cocktails. The combination of smoky chipotle peppers and sweet orange complements both the sweet caramel notes in bourbon and the earthiness of a good anejo tequila. In cocktails the spice tends manifest on the swallow and build in a pleasant lingering way.
In my experience the chipotle orange syrup works well with vanilla, watermelon and blackberries. At the bar where I work we use it in our Chipotle Watermelon Margarita, a summer favorite. It also shows up in this Fall Spice Cordial recipe another great seasonal cocktail. Mix it with dark rum and port and you get a great winter warm up with the Port in a Storm.
Chipotle Orange Syrup
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 dried chipotle peppers
- zest of two oranges
- Boil the water in a small saucepan.
- Throw the chipotle peppers and orange peel in the boiling water, reduce heat to low, cover and let the mixture infuse for about half an hour.
- Strain out the chipotles and orange peel through a mesh sieve and stir in the sugar. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and bring to a a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
Prepping this in a commercial setting can be a little fussy if you follow the recipe. When we make the syrup up at the bar I make a oleo sachharum by mixing the orange zest into the sugar and letting the citrus oils flavor the sugar. Ideally you would leave that overnight but you can get good flavor just leaving it for an half hour or so. Then I add the hot water from our hot water dispenser and the chipotle peppers and let it sit for another half hour. Check the flavor. Depending on the peppers you may not get as much heat as you want. If it’s not spicy enough chop the peppers up and let them infuse a little longer. Strain everything out and you’re good to go.
The syrup should keep refrigerated for a few months but the flavor falls off after a week or so. If it gets moldy you can assume it’s gone bad.
Let me know if you find a great new use for this syrup in the comments. Enjoy!