Fall Spice Cordial Recipe

Kara Newman's Fall Spice Cordial Cocktail
Steve Brown Photography / Photolibrary / Getty Images
Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Syrup: 90 mins
Total: 113 mins
Serving: 1 serving

The fall spice cordial is an amazing drink with a little spice and a lot of flavors that are ideal for chilly autumn nights. It's a recipe from Kara Newman's book, "Spice and Ice," and one of the more intriguing bourbon cocktails you'll find.

The key to this cocktail is a single ingredient that you'll have to make, but it's really easy. The homemade chipotle-orange syrup has a tang, a spicy kick, and some sweetness rolled into one. It plays very nicely against a premium bourbon and the soothing taste of the vanilla. This may not be the spiciest cocktail, but you definitely get that chipotle pepper bite, which is surprisingly fun.


Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this cocktail is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and assembly.

Make the Chipotle-Orange Syrup

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.

  3. Reduce to a simmer and add the chipotle pepper and orange peel.

  4. Cover and let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain with a fine-mesh sieve to remove the pepper and orange.

  5. Return the syrup to the pan and add the sugar. Bring it back up to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

  6. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour the syrup into a container with a tight seal and keep in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Make the Fall Spice Cordial

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vanilla liqueur, bourbon, chipotle-orange syrup, and orange bitters.

  2. Shake well.

  3. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.

  4. Serve and enjoy!


  • Originally, this recipe used Navan for the vanilla liqueur. Unfortunately, that has been discontinued since the book was published, so you will have to substitute it with another vanilla liqueur.

Recipe Variation

  • Chipotle peppers are actually smoked and dried jalapeños. Though they offer a unique flavor to the syrup, you can certainly use chile peppers of any kind and either dried or fresh. Just remember that you want to retain a balance of flavors, so skip the super hot peppers like habanero and ghost peppers.

How Strong Is a Fall Spice Cordial?

This cocktail is big on flavor and that's boosted by a good amount of alcohol. When made with vanilla liqueur and an 80 proof bourbon, it shakes up to 22 percent ABV (44 proof). That's typical of drinks in this style and, to put it into perspective, half the strength of drinking the whiskey straight.