cocktail syrup

Fairytale of The Hill Country



Winter Cocktail

Fairy Tale of New York or The Texas Hill Country

Dave Mitton and Sibby Barrett
The name of this cocktail made me want to make it. This spicy drink was found in Imbibe Magazine and cross posted by Smitten Kitchen.  Even though it was meant for enjoying in the winter time, hence, the "Winter Warmth Syrup", earlier in the summer I adapted this recipe for the Texas Hill Country hot summer weather. Should we call this syrup, “Hotter than Hell Cooling Syrup”?  You shouldn't be limited to cold weather for bourbon drinking, right? But for now, mix up a batch of the warming kind for your end of the year celebration. 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
chilling time 1 hour
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail, enough syrup for 16 drinks


Winter Warmth Syrup

  • 1 ½ cups water or apple cider summer, think cherry, cranberry, mango
  • 1 cup turbinado, demerara or white sugar any combination will do or sub in some honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 apple peeled, cored, diced
  • 1/2 pear peeled, cored, diced. summer, think peaches or pineapple
  • 12 walnut halves optional, can sub other nuts as well. I used pecans for a Texas touch
  • 3 cinnamon sticks, broken, or a tablespoon of ground cinnamon summer, think a dash of crushed fennel seeds
  • 6 whole cloves or a couple of pinches of ground cloves summer, think a large handful of crushed mint leaves
  • 1 whole nutmeg or a couple of pinches of ground nutmeg summer, think a few stems of crushed lemongrass


  • 1"-2" orange peel summer, think lemon or lime
  • 1 ounce Winter Warmth Syrup
  • 2 dashes bitters orange, walnut, aromatic, cherry
  • 2 ounces bourbon


  • For the syrup, combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let steep until cool. Strain into glass jar, cover and chill for at least one hour or up to two weeks.

To make one cocktail: Twist and squeeze the citrus peel into a cocktail glass. Add syrup and bitters and gently stir. Add bourbon and one large ice cube or a handful of crushed ice.


    This syrup recipe makes about 2 cups, so you should be able to make about 16 cocktails, using 1 ounce per drink.  It's a great idea to pre-batch this cocktail!  Use all of the syrup, 32 dashes bitters (about 2 teaspoons) and 4 cups of bourbon.  Throw in your citrus peels and start your party.   
    This recipe is so versatile.  Use what you have that is in season and from your area.  At the holidays, I sometimes make this syrup using cranberries instead of apples and pears. 
    Keyword bourbon, summer cocktails, winter cocktails