If you want to make your holiday or winter gathering extra warm and inviting, consider serving up a hot cocktail. The traditional hot toddy calls for whiskey, but you can make a variation of it with any spirit, as well as unique seasonal cocktails served warm and adult takes on classic winter beverages.
“One of the reasons warm drinks are so comforting to me is the action of holding the hot mug between my hands,” says Heather Wibbels, managing director of Bourbon Women and CocktailContessa.com. “It’s almost as if your hands are getting hug.”
To make and keep the drink as warm as possible, heat the mug up prior to adding in the warm contents of the cocktail, Wibbels says. “To do this at home, I either add hot water from the tea kettle and let it set while I’m making the cocktail in another container, or I put the mug filled with water into the microwave for a minute or two, just enough to heat up the water, but not enough for a full boil.”
If you’re making a batch of hot cocktails, you can build them in a crockpot and let them sit on warm until the ingredients reach the temperature you desire, says Denise Petty, tasting room manager at Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. Just be sure to add the spirit to the crockpot last, so that you don’t boil off the alcohol.
The St Regis Venice hotel in Italy is offering the “Heat Me Up” cocktail for the winter season. The drink is inspired by the classic marriage of rum with chocolate, says Facundo Gallegos, bars and restaurants director of The St Regis Venice.
“Following our shaking tradition philosophy, we blended classical elements with contemporary trends,” he says. “The almond combined with the ginger and the rhubarb provides an unexpected spicy taste to the drink,” balanced by the smooth flavor of the Italian dark chocolate.
Gallego suggests mixing the drink in a coffee pot and serving it warm in a coffee or tea mug. The Heat Me Up will be presented to The St Regis Venice guests in a signature Ginori 1735 coffee cup.
Here’s the recipe for Heat Me Up, and a few other inspired hot cocktails.
Heat Me Up
⅔ oz. Dark rum
1 ¾ oz. Almond milk
½ oz. Almond liquor
¼ oz. Nardini rhubarb liquor
1 oz. Home-made Criollo chocolate and ginger syrup
Combine ingredients and heat gently in a saucepan or coffee pot. Serve warm in a coffee or tea mug.
The mixologists at the St. Regis Venice hotel created this recipe.
Warm Hearth, Warm Hands
4 oz. Apple cider
1 ½ oz. Bourbon or whiskey
½ oz. Maple syrup
½ oz. Lemon juice
16 drops Smoked cinnamon bitters
1 dash Ginger bitters
Fill a mug with hot water and set aside to warm. Combine cider, syrup, lemon juice and bitters in a small saucepan or microwave-safe container and heat up until almost simmering. Add in bourbon, stir to combine, and pour into warmed mug. Garnish with an apple slice and a cinnamon stick.
Recipe courtesy of Heather Wibbels, managing director of Bourbon Women and CocktailContessa.com
Bourbon Hot Chocolate
1 oz. New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon
1 ½ oz. Bourbon cream*
1 oz. Water
1 ½ oz. Dark chocolate fudge dessert topping
½ oz. Luxardo cherry juice
1-2 dashes Cherry bitters
1-2 dashes Aztec chocolate bitters
Add all ingredients except the bourbon cream to a mug. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add bourbon cream and garnish with chocolate covered cherries and marshmallows.
*For Bourbon cream: Combine 1 ½ cups evaporated milk, 1 cup bourbon, ⅔ cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, ½ tsp. instant coffee a large mason jar. Secure lid and shake until combined. Store in the fridge.
Katie Tobin, bar manager at New Riff Distilling, created this recipe.
Pumpkin Spice Hot Toddy
1 ½ oz. El Bandido Yankee Reposado tequila
1 oz. Pumpkin spice syrup*
1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
2 Dashes Orange bitters
8 oz. Boiling water
Combine tequila, pumpkin spice syrup, and lemon juice in a mug. Fill with hot water. Top off with a few dashes of orange bitters. Garnish with cinnamon stick and dried lemon wheel.
*For Pumpkin spice syrup
Combine 1 tbsp. pumpkin spice seasoning blend, 1 cup water and ½ cup light brown sugar in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Simmer until mixture is reduced by about half. Cool and then fine strain into bottle; should keep refrigerated for about 3 weeks.
The mixologists at El Bandido Yankee created this recipe.
Warm & Cozy
1 ½ oz. Ketel One vodka
½ oz. Spiced honey syrup
1 tsp. Pecan syrup*
¼ oz. Lemon juice
2 dashes Chocolate bitters
3 oz. Milk oolong tea
Steep milk oolong tea in boiled water for 3 minutes. Add first five ingredients to mug, top with tea and stir. Garnish with cinnamon stick and pinch of nutmeg.
The mixologists at Ketel One created this recipe.