Our membership in the Dickel Dozen program continues with a cocktail competition. They sent us a bottle of George Dickel No. 12 in exchange for an original warm drink recipe. The thinking behind this was to come up with a cocktail to help ward off the remaining winter chill. We’re having another mild winter here in San Francisco, so we don’t need much warming up; but of course we were up for the challenge, especially since we really like this Dickel Whisky.
The Dickel No. 12 is made from a sour mash, which refers to the technique used to season a new batch of mash with an older one, ensuring consistency in flavor. We usually like to drink it neat since the flavor is very smooth with some spicy notes and a vanilla finish. It serves as an excellent base for whiskey-based drinks, and as we discovered, for warm cocktails as well.
In coming up with our cocktail recipe, we decided to use Hibiscus tea as our hot component to complement the spicy notes of the Dickel. As we live in the Mission, bags of Flor de Jamaica (hibiscus) are readily available in the Latin markets, allowing for plenty of experimentation. We found that steeping the tea with clove, then using cinnamon and star anise as garnishes, made for the ultimate spiced combination. Hibiscus tea is fairly tart (similar to cranberry), so we used honey as a sweetener for the drink — hence the cocktail was named Honey Hibi Dickel. One last essential ingredient was the addition of a bitter. Although Peychaud’s worked, we liked the more floral flavors of the Hibiscus Rose bitters.
Honey Hibi Dickel
1 oz Dickel No. 12 Sour Mash Tennessee Whisky
4 oz Spiced Hibiscus Tea (see recipe below)
1 Tbsp. Honey (or to taste)
1 Cinnamon stick
1 Star Anise
3 drops Hibiscus Rose Bitters
Pour honey into the bottom of a heat sensitive cup. Add the hot spiced hibiscus tea and use the cinnamon stick to mix the tea and honey. Add the Dickel whiskey and the bitters to the cup and stir. Garnish with the star anise.
Spiced Hibiscus Tea
1/4 cup dried Hibiscus flowers (Flor de Jamaica)
2 cups Water
Add all ingredients to a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and steep for 15-20 minutes.
As mentioned in the intro, this drink was crafted for a competition: members of the George Dickel team will select their favorite Dickel Dozen winter recipe, and the winner will receive a signed copy of Dale DeGroff’s book, The Craft of the Cocktail. Regardless of the outcome, we feel we’ve already won by getting this bottle of Dickel No. 12. We’ll use the remainder of the bottle to try out the other Dickel Dozen drinks and to ward off any winter chill that might come our way. Many thanks once again to Taylor Strategies for the opportunity to participate.