Warm up by the fire with this cozy winter Chai Maple Vodka Old Fashioned for a creative twist on the classic cocktail that uses real maple syrup and chai tea for a depth of flavor!
There is something about a really good cocktail, made with real ingredients and clean flavors! Christmas and the holiday’s is a time to get a little bit more creative and festive with your drinks and this Chai Maple Vodka Old Fashioned will put you in the mood to light a fire, turn on the twinkly lights and watch your favorite Christmas movie.
Since I am pregnant and obviously not drinking right now, I asked my good friend and ultimate lady boss Laura Johnson, the founder of You and Yours Distillery in San Diego, to put together a cozy, festive winter cocktail for you all!
Laura uses real maple syrup and chai tea to give a creative twist on the classic old fashioned cocktail. This cocktail is lightly sweetened with refined sugar free maple syrup so it won’t leave you with a nasty headache the next day!
Over the years I have received multiple questions regarding if some alcohols are gluten free. Having talked with Laura in depth about this subject, I asked her to provide a little bit of background on why you can trust some spirits and why others should be consumed with caution if you are gluten free.
Are Spirits Gluten Free?
The truth of the gluten-free spirits debate, is that gluten simply cannot survive the distillation process. No matter the fermented material – whether it be from wheat, corn, rye, barley, apples, potatoes, grapes, sugar, etc. – the end distillate (the high-proof alcohol that comes straight off the still) will be completely gluten-free. The distillation process’ job is to purify the liquid down to straight ethanol, a compound that contains one thing – alcohol. The issue, then, becomes the fact that distilled spirits are not regulated the FDA, and as such, distillers and producers are not required to list ingredients on their labels. This means that producers can add things like glycerin, corn syrup, wheat gluten, colorings, flavorings – natural or not – to the distillate to achieve desired color, flavor profile, mouthfeel/texture, etc. and yet, have no obligation to tell the consumer what was used and in what quantities. Sadly, mass-produced spirits will very often have at least one or two of these aforementioned shady ingredients, which can lead to consumers blaming what they think is the only thing in the bottle – vodka – for their unfortunate symptoms or discomfort.
The situation I’ve described above is precisely why I think it’s so important to get to know your local distiller, the same way you would get to know your local fishmonger, egg guy, produce guy, etc. etc. It may seem silly, but when you have a great, transparent relationship with the person or persons who are producing the things you’re consuming, you know exactly what’s gone into that product and can feel that much better about enjoying it!
When distilling and finishing our spirits at You and Yours, the only ingredients that go into the bottle are distillate and reverse-osmosis water. That’s it. To put it simply, if I (here at You and Yours) was distilling a vodka made from 100% wheat, I would let my nearest and dearest deathly gluten-allergic friend or relative enjoy that vodka without hesitation.
Chai Maple Vodka Old Fashioned
makes 1 cocktail
- 1.5 oz Y&Y Vodka
- .25 oz chai maple syrup***
- 3 dashes walnut bitters
- orange peel & cinnamon stick (optional) to garnish
***Combine equal parts very strongly brewed Chai tea with real maple syrup. Simmer gently to dissolve gently if tea is not hot, then let cool and store in the fridge for up to one month.
- Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled, or shake in a cocktail shaker.
- Strain into a rocks glass over one large cube (large ice cube tray).
- Gently express a 2 inch orange peel over the glass, then run the zest side of the orange peel around the rim of the glass and drop in the drink.
- Garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!
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