Most of us have a go-to drink. In summer, I like gin based cocktails like a classic Tom Collins or Gin & Tonic. In fall, I usually go for a toasty pint of Oktoberfest. Everyone loves a good seasonal drink, but there is something remarkably satisfying about a cocktail designed for the colder months. As cold as it’s been in our fair city lately, all I can think about is consuming something hot and spicy to warm me up. Usually I make myself a simple Hot Toddy with whiskey or I head down to Lux Lounge for one of their delicious spiked hot ciders. But sometimes I want to get a little fancy and—truth be told—impress my friends and family with my crafty cocktail skills. I’m always looking for new ideas or flavors to experiment with while still keeping it simple enough to make at home.
A while back I found a recipe for a Hot Toddy with a split base of cognac and aged rum that adds more depth of flavor whilst maintaining a delicacy. The product is a smooth, sippable cocktail that doesn’t leave you feeling like breathing fire.
1 oz. cognac
1 oz. Prichard’s aged rum
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. honey syrup
5 dashes Fee’s Old Fashioned bitters
Add ingredients to 3 ounces of boiling water in a mug. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a lemon wheel studded with cloves.
Some people generally prefer wine to beer or liquor, and what better way to winterize your favorite vintage than with mulling spices? Sometimes you can buy them as a full package, add the sachet of spices to the wine, heat & drink. But I’d rather make mine from scratch. Adding fresh citrus and seasonal spices makes it like a winter sangria that’s sure to make you feel warm and cozy:
2 oranges, peeled & juiced
5 oz. sugar
1 3/4 oz. honey
3 white cloves
1 cinnamon stick
7 pieces of aguaribay (pink peppercorn)
1/2 nutmeg, grated
2 star anise
2 bottles of full bodied red wine
Toasted almonds & dried apricot for garnish
Simmer 1/2 bottle of wine with spices, sugar, honey and orange juice. Once sugar is fully dissolved into a syrup, allow to cool and strain. Mix your newly formed and richly flavored ‘syrup’ with the rest of the pan and heat on low (careful not to boil to lose your alcohol!) Ladle the mulled wine into heatproof glasses and garnish with an orange peel with a side of dried apricots.