A little bit o’ spice, a little bit o’ citrus, some smooth dark chocolate in your choice of Bourbon (Mexican Manhattan) or brandy (South-O-the-Border Sidecar) … Add a dash or 5 of molé bitters, and you’re sipping your new favorite holiday cocktail!
A Christmas candle is a lovely thing; It makes no noise at all, But softly gives itself away; While quite unselfish, it grows small.
~~ Eva K. Logue
What are your favorite images during the holidays? Mine? Candles. I rarely light them but at Christmas. This year, in the midst of many storms, it seems particularly important to illuminate the darkness… Light a candle.
As I have prepared for the holidays this year, I hearken back to Christmases past, the decorating, the candles lit, the crackling fireplace, the Christmas cocktail. Though Mark and I now live hundreds of miles from our families, we try to create special moments with perhaps less time and energy spent than in the past. After all, we are now two. So, lighting a candle (or a few), adding some twinkly lights, setting a pretty table, and eating and drinking merrily are still very present at Andersen casa. There is, however, no roaring fire. In the land of perpetual summer, a fireplace seems superfluous. 😆
The inspiration for Mexican Manhattan or South-O-the-Border Sidecar? came from a tiny bottle with a dropper – molé bitters. You probably know I adore Mexican flavors, and I incorporate them into my Ancho and Chocolate BBQ Sauce with Mexican Meatballs. The chocolate, chile, citrus combo is pretty irresistable! I took those flavors and combined them in this beautiful variation on a classic cocktail. Only you can decide whether it will be bourbon or brandy…
Mark and I love bourbon. I was slow to warm up to this complex spirit… He, on the other hand, loves it straight with his cigars on Sunday. He slowly won me over. However, brandy is a lovely alternative. I use brandy in my Donner and Blitzen: A Ginger Brandy Cocktail. It yields a deeper red color, and a festive
and different flavor. Which is your preference?
This festive cocktail comes together in about 5 minutes. SERIOUSLY. My husband made me one tonight… in 5 minutes. I ought to quantify that by saying garnishes can take practice if you’re not accustomed to making them. You will need a cocktail shaker, bourbon or brandy, a blood orange liqueur (ie. Mixologist Collection Blood Orange Liqueur), Chocolate-Chile Liqueur (for example, Villa Roma Liqueur Cioccoloto Peperoncino), and molé bitters (ie. Bitterman’s). The ingredients get a vigorous shake, a pour into a beautiful (please) 😀 glass, and a garnish of orange. Yes, it’s gorgeous and festive! Light a candle or two, and enjoy one with your loved one. I promise it’s special!
Mexican Manhattan or South-O-the-Border Sidecar?
Blood orange liqueur, chocolate chile liqueur, and either bourbon or brandy get shaken and topped off with mole bitters... A festive and zesty variation on 2 classic cocktails!
- 1 shot bourbon or brandy
- 1 shot blood orange liqueur (see notes)
- 1 shot chocolate and chile liqueur (see notes)
- mole bitters (see notes)
- orange to garnish optional
Add first 3 ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass. Add several dashes of bitters. Garnish if desired. Enjoy!
We love this cocktail with both the bourbon and the brandy, but as bourbon drinkers, we opt for bourbon if we have both. You may or may not have a preference.
As shown in the photo, I use De Kuyper Mixologist Collection Blood Orange Liqueur and Via Roma Distillate Cioccoloto Peperoncino Liqueur. You may not be able to find these specific brands, but there are others widely available at larger liquor stores. You're looking for an orange liqueur (blood orange deepens the red) and a chocolate-chile liqueur which adds a hint of heat at the finish. The mole bitters are not hard for me to find in south Texas, but they do have them on Amazon. Substitute chocolate or orange bitters if you can't find the mole bitters.
225 calories included 1 shot each of the 3 main ingredients. Yours will vary according to brand.