Autumn Cocktail with Rye and a Ginger Orange Simple Syrup

Clear glass tumbler glass containing ice, rye, ginger beer, simple syrup, and sparkling water next to a small prep bowl with candied ginger and orange peel from the simple syrup.

I know it’s autumn when I make the leap from summery gin cocktails to classic rye and gingers. If you don’t have Canadian rye whiskey available, you can go ahead and use regular whiskey; I prefer rye because it’s smoother than regular whiskey and I find that its golden honeyed taste goes down a lot easier. Bourbon is also delicious in this recipe, but I wouldn’t use scotch if given the option – too much bite overwhelms the subtle orange and ginger flavours from the simple syrup. The simple syrup is versatile and can be used to doctor up plain sparkling water and it adds a lovely warmth to a Moscow Mule with a squeeze of lime.

for the ginger and orange simple syrup:

2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin pieces

About 2 inches of orange peel, I like to use mandarin orange peel

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup water

Combine the water and sugar with the orange peel and fresh ginger in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat until gently simmering and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the simple syrup from the heat and allow to sit for about 45 minutes before taking out the ginger and orange peel. Store the simple syrup in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

for the cocktail:

(makes one cocktail)

2 Tbsp. ginger and orange simple syrup

1 1/2 oz. rye whiskey


Sparkling water

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the rye and simple syrup. Shake vigorously and pour into a glass filled with ice. Top with equal parts ginger beer and sparkling water; look out the window at the beautiful fall foliage and enjoy!

I’ve been working on an autumn playlist over the last few days they’re all a bit morose, making this song a perfect fit. I don’t really make playlists for other seasons (besides Christmas, because of course!) but I feel like October is more of an immersive experience than anything else. I just want to do everything possible to fully experience this time of year both inside and outside (and speaking of outside, I’m definitely not above making a rye and ginger for the road – nature is often best experienced with a cocktail in a travel mug!).

Lou Reed & John Cale – Slip Away (A Warning)


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