Customize your drink with the peppercorns: the more you crack them, the spicier it will be. (When we said lightly, we weren’t kidding.) We cracked our peppercorns in Ziploc bags with a marble rolling pin & some Pyrex measuring cups. Any hard object on a hard surface will do.
Spiced Syrup: Simmer 1½ cups water, ½ cup Demerara sugar, 1 heaping tbsp lightly cracked black peppercorns, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise for 1 hour, covered. Add 1 star anise in the last 5 minutes and strain.
Cocktail: Bring spiced syrup and lemon juice to a light simmer, then immediately remove from heat. Add rye, Cointreau, allspice dram, and bitters to the pot. Stir and strain into an Irish coffee cup. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Add all ingredients to a large shot glass, then stir briefly with a swizzle stick or stirring rod. No garnish.