Ginger Rabbit, The Creative Cocktail That Marries Bourbon And Tea Flavors

Snappy ginger reaches into the cocktail world far beyond the entry-level precipice of the humble Gin and Ginger. Ginger cocktail fans have been ordering Blood Martinis and Manhattan Love Stories for ages, and today, we're talking about another ginger-forward cocktail that belongs on your radar: The Ginger Rabbit. It's a cocktail so sleek, sexy, and sophisticated that it even inspired the name of a jazz club  — and here's to hoping it inspires you to switch up your mixology game.

The Ginger Rabbit is reminiscent of a boozy, floral iced chai tea latte, and unlike the Gin and Ginger, it's sure to pique bourbon fans' interest. The cocktail is a combination of fresh ginger, Angostura bitters, lemon peel, and Crème Yvette. If you've never worked with it before, Crème Yvette is a French liqueur made from blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and blackcurrant, toting back notes of floral violet and adding a deep burgundy hue to the drink. Creme Yvette's fruity-floral profile balances out the harshness of the bourbon and adds an element of complexity. 

But, for as impressive as the liqueur is, the real star of the show here is the homemade simple syrup, infused with black tea and star anise. Here's how to make it at home and "catch the Rabbit" for yourself.

A spirit-forward spice bomb

To make the Ginger Rabbit, muddle the lemon peel, fresh ginger, and spiced simple syrup in the bottom of a mixing glass. Then, add in all the remaining ingredients, stir over ice, and strain into a rocks glass prepped with a lemon peel rim wash.

For the black tea anise simple syrup, use one bag of black tea for every 12 ounces of regular simple syrup and steep for 12 minutes. Then, add six anise stars (or more, if you prefer a spicier sip) and let the syrup infuse for at least 24 hours before straining. Sealed, that spiced simple syrup will keep in the fridge for a month. Play around and try adding it to other cocktails like an Amaretto Whiskey Sour or a spicy Anise Cointreau Spritz.

Celebrity bartender Damian Windsor is accredited with the Ginger Rabbit's creation and recommends using Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey for its rye-heavy flavor and lighter 80-proof ABV. Indeed, with its spirit-forward combination of bourbon, Crème Yvette, bitters, and no mixer, the Ginger Rabbit is a punchy cocktail already. 

But, feel free to employ a little creative liberty here. Old Grand Dad 114 or Redemption would impart the same bold rye flavor and pack a higher ABV. Whatever bourbon you choose, opt for a middle-of-the-line high-rye bourbon, and don't waste your top-shelf spirits in a mixed drink.