Basil Hayden’s Holiday Spice Cocktail

Basil Hayden's Holiday Spice Cocktail Recipe

A couple of years ago I went on a search for Basil Hayden’s Bourbon; it had been highly suggested as the bourbon of choice for this amazing stuffing. Sadly I was unsuccessful in my efforts to locate it in Denver and managed to make do with another brand but I will never forget that recommendation from a friend. When I was asked if I would like to recreate the Basil Hayden’s Holiday Spice Cocktail created for the brand by Joaquín Simó who was just named Bartender of the Year at the industry Tales of the Cocktail Convention held each year in New Orleans, how could I say no?

The recipe for this remarkable bourbon dates back to 1796, when Basil Hayden himself was a master distiller. Hayden was born and raised in Maryland, where he learned to make whiskey from rye. When he came to Kentucky, Hayden began making whiskey from a base of corn, but added a higher percentage of rye than other distillers, resulting in a smooth, mild bourbon that was distinctly his own. The abundance of rye gives it a slightly peppery taste and aroma, perfect for sipping on the rocks but also delicious in a well crafted cocktail.

Aged eight years at a relatively mild 80 proof, Basil Hayden’s has a very broad appeal. The Spirit Journal has said, ‘Basil Hayden’s is one of the best ultra-premium bourbons that you can find. It’s a good example of what a classic bourbon is like. It’s absolutely brilliant.” It’s all true; this is one fine bourbon. I couldn’t help but love the packaging too; check out that metal and copper stamped band that encircles the bottle. Very cool indeed.

Basil Hayden's Bourbon

Partnering with Basil Hayden’s, Joaquín has created the quintessential holiday cocktail. The Basil Hayden’s Holiday Spice combines the bourbon’s spicy finish with the winter flavors of maple syrup and cinnamon. Joaquín’s expert mixology skills make the cocktail the perfect addition to any holiday party, or a low-key fireside evening. For Mr. Simó, it’s been an unlikely journey from his native Ecuador to the accolades at the Tales of the Cocktail convention. After finishing his degree in English literature and comparative religion at Boston University he found himself working dive bars and rock ‘n’ roll joints before moving to New York eight years ago where he polished his craft.

Known not just for being a master mixologist, Simo’s engaging manner and eagerness to discuss a wide range of topics with patrons shows a  genuine hospitality; combined with his skills with a shaker and jigger make this a most relevant accolade. I was excited about this cocktail for a couple of reasons beyond the bourbon too. The ingredients seemed to sing on paper; how could they not be fabulous mixed together? A great bourbon mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup and cinnamon with just a touch of Amaretto and bitters? I knew I would love it before the first taste and I was right. As much as I do enjoy some specialty cocktails over the holidays; many are sweet concoctions and I was so ready for a big girl drink!

Basil Hayden's Holiday Spice Cocktail Recipe

I love that this is a great cocktail for all winter long…maybe someone will gift you a bottle of Basil Hayden’s for the holidays..I sure hope so! CHEERS!
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I was provided with a bottle of Basil Hayden’s to sample; all commentary is my own.

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17 Comments

  1. Yum, this looks great. And you really should come to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. I’ve been every year for the last four years. You could probably qualify for a press pass with your extensive collection of cocktail recipes. 🙂

  2. It is finally getting cool here in Southern California and this cocktail sounds perfect for sipping in front of the fire! I love learning about the different spirits and their history – hadn’t heard of this before and will have to search it out!!

    1. It’s a great cocktail; sure to please all; not too sweet or too strong. I would have to say ‘just right.’ 🙂

  3. This is a new bourbon to me – I should check it out. The recipe looks nice – I don’t often use Amaretto in cocktails, but it sure looks like it works here. And using maple syrup instead of simple syrup is a nice touch. Good stuff – thanks.

    1. It is nice John; balanced with the lemon juice and bourbon it’s not overly sweet at all…in the vein of a whiskey sour a bit.

  4. My husband came in while I was reading this. I told him that you write the best cocktail posts with the most beautiful photos. He read this over my shoulder and totally agreed. Neither of us have heard of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon (don’t even know if we can get it in Canada) but we are going to look and if not, hope to pick up a bottle when we are next in the States. Great cocktail Barb, wonderful post.

    1. Thank you SO much Paula…and your hubs too. I seriously was ready for a cocktail that wasn’t sugar filled; this so hit the spot. It’s not ‘just’ a pretty bottle! 🙂

  5. Is there a recipe for this cocktail somewhere? I don’t see it on your post here. Thanks! My husband is a huge Whiskey connoisseur so this is a must try drink for us. I love your cocktail recipes! I made your Caramel Apple Martini at Thanksgiving and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    1. Something is awry with the system I use for posting the recipes and making them printable; while I investigate I’ve put the recipe on the page in plain text. I upgraded WordPress last night…seems this particular piece did not like that change. 🙂

      1. I did not realize that…I use a system to have those setup with the right formatting for Google and it appears that with a WordPress update I did last night that it’s not working; I’ve put the recipe in text on the page; thanks for the heads up while I get this corrected!

    1. Ah…I see there is an issue with this recipe Judy and I misinterpreted your question. I’ve now got it on the page in plain text while I investigate why it wasn’t displaying correctly in the program I use to make them printable.

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