Our season’s-greetings cards just went out on Monday. There’s a gift I ordered online three weeks ago that’s apparently stuck in a storing-stuck-things facility somewhere. The tree’s still up in our living room (although I did manage to de-ornament it over the weekend).
However, I refuse to be late making my favorite Christmastime tipple, The Twelfth Day of Christmas, a whiskey infusion that takes (whaddaya know?) 12 days to make — but unlike the rest of all the holiday meshugas, it’s time that does most of the work.
Sean and I first made this last year, when we were trying to come up with
cheap thoughtful gifts for our whiskey-sipping compadres. Orange and cinnamon turned out to be the peanut butter and jelly chocolate of potable presents: Not only two great tastes that taste great together, but two equally robust flavors that balance each other out while overpowering the fact that you just bought really cheap whiskey to give to your loved ones as a gift. (How cheap? Early Times isn’t allowed to call itself bourbon because not all of it is aged in new, charred oak barrels; some of its barrels are used.)
A sipping whiskey is just the sort of thing one needs to bide one’s time through the doldrums of winter, and I’ve found that this infusion is indeed most enjoyed all by its lonesome. I’ve tried making Manhattans and Old Fashioneds with it, and while they’re certainly pleasant, they’re also redundant; no need for further flavoring agents.
Merry Epiphany Eve!
The Twelfth Day of Christmas
A handle of Early Times Kentucky Whiskey
A few oranges
A few cinnamon sticks
Peel two oranges of their rind. (Leave the white pith intact on the orange, or it’s likely to ruin the taste of your infusion.)
Place one or two cinnamon sticks, plus the rind from the oranges, into the bottle of whiskey. Store in a cool, dark place.
After five or so days, start checking your infusion once daily by smell and taste, making sure the orange and cinnamon flavors are balanced. Add fresh rind and cinnamon or remove the old ones as needed. (Generally, the cinnamon sticks impart stronger flavor longer and may need to be removed before the rinds are, or more rinds may need to be added.)
Once you’ve achieved the flavor profile you like, store as you would any bottle of liquor, but without the cinnamon and orange rinds so that you won’t have to continue monitoring the infusion.
Serve in a highball glass over ice.