Chinese five-spice is a versatile blend usually consisting of star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper and fennel seeds, but sometimes also orange peel, cardamom, nutmeg or ginger. Whatever the recipe, the resulting mixture is at once sweet, spicy, aromatic and utterly distinctive. Which is precisely why Southern Wine & Spirits executive director of mixology Francesco Lafranconi chose the concoction to augment his Chinese riff on the margarita.
To honor the Year of the Horse—which commences on the Lunar New Year, January 31—Lafranconi created the Horse ($13), but you don’t have to have been born in a horse year (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 or 2014) to enjoy the auspicious combination of Patrón Silver tequila, Grand Marnier, pomegranate syrup and five-spice-infused syrup, a more intriguing alternative to simple syrup. Try it at Fú in the Hard Rock Hotel, a restaurant the very name of which means “Luck.”
As served at Fú in the Hard Rock Hotel, $13
In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 1/2 ounces Patrón Silver tequila, 3/4 ounce Grand Marnier, 1 ounce fresh lime juice and 1 1/2 ounces Chinese five-spice-infused simple syrup mixed 1:1 with pomegranate juice. Add ice, cover, shake and strain over fresh ice into a 12-ounce rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Chinese Five-Spice Syrup
Bring 2 cups water and 3 cups of demerara sugar to a boil with 2 tablespoons of Chinese five-spice. Allow to cool, then strain and transfer to a sealable container for up to one month. Pro tip: “It goes very well into a julep,” Lafranconi says, “or even a Ramos gin fizz.”