Recipe: Amber Lights

“What is a cocktail?” Well, I’m so glad you asked.

The first definition of the cocktail appeared in The Balance and Columbian Repository, published 1806. It’s editor, Harry Croswell, was a religious scholar and political journalist who battled for “freedom of the press”, yet despite being the man behind the greatest advancement in press governance, he is better known for being the first man to define the cocktail.

“Cock-tail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called bittered sling, and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, in as much as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow any thing else.”

So, what does this have to do with this recipe? Well, the original cocktails of the 1800’s [what we call the classics today] were stirred down using just three ingredients. Plus based on Croswell’s definition a cocktail will also help swallow the American Presidential campaign.


  • 45ml whisky
  • 15ml spiced fig liqueur (see note)
  • 2 dashes Angostura orange
  • Garnish: orange zest


Add ice and ingredients to mixing glass. Stir to chill. Strain into serving glass and garnish, expressing the oils from the orange zest and misting over glass.

Note: To make fig liqueur, add 300ml vanilla vodka + 2 fresh figs + 2 star anise + 1 cinnamon quill + zest of ½ lemon to large Mason jar, seal tightly and refrigerate for 7 days. Strain twice using fine strainer and transfer to clean jar. Add ½ cup simple syrup and refrigerate for 24 hours. Store in fridge.

Recipe Amber Lights - cocktail


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