So it's not exactly chilly outside, but at least it's rainy. And last night, we just pretended it was cold, whipping up a warm concoction that quieted the cough, soothed the sore throat and helped us drift off to dreamland, Ambien-style.
As much as we love the tart, fruity and refreshing cocktails of summer, winter cocktails that warm the belly hold a special place in our hearts. While wishing for cooler temps, we've compiled a list of our favorite, maybe not so well known beverages to curl up with; some are super-easy, and some require a little effort, but all are guaranteed to give you that cozy, toasty buzz.
5. Hot Buttered Rum
We made this one last night, and the recipe yields about five Irish coffee glass-size drinks. Obviously, the whole "buttered" thing doesn't make it low-cal, but everything in moderation, right? Folks have been warming their bellies this way since the founding of America. When molasses started being imported to Colonial America from Jamaica and distilleries opened in New England in the 1650s, colonists began adding distilled rum to hot beverages (I imagine men with buckle hats enjoying hot toddies after a long day of witch-burning). So when you enjoy a hot buttered rum, you're enjoying a piece of history (maybe).
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup dark rum
Bring water, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt to a boil in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, for about 10 minutes then remove from heat. Pour rum into glasses and stir in spice/butter mixture. Serve hot.
4. Winter Julep
Most people think juleps are for the summer months, but this version is perfect for a frigid evening, you know, in the future. Not just for the Derby anymore! This recipe uses loose tea, but bag tea would work fine.
- 1 1/2 ounce bourbon
- 3/4 ounce brown sugar syrup (combine equal parts dark brown sugar and boiling water, and allow to cool.)
- 1 tsp. peppermint tea
- hot water
- Glass: Irish coffee or brandy snifter
- Tools: tea infuser, spoon
Warm a glass with hot water. Pour hot water out of glass. Brew tea in 5 oz. of fresh boiling water for 4 minutes. Remove infuser. Add bourbon and brown sugar syrup; stir to combine and garnish with a sprig of mint.
3. Peppermint Patty
Sort of like a boozy York in a glass. Oh, peppermint schnapps. My grandparents used to drink it after dinner in these tiny glasses with 4 leaf clovers all over them, and I'd beg for a sip. Mmmm...mouthwash you can swallow. This is a great dessert cocktail and so pretty too.
- 1 ounce peppermint schnapps
- ½ ounce créme de cacao
- 1 tsp. créme de menthe
- 5 to 8 ounces hot chocolate
- About 1 ounce whipped cream
Pour liqueurs into a glass mug, fill with hot chocolate and top with whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings or a candy cane.
2. Hot Apple Pie
This one's easy as...welp, pie. The vanilla-citrus Tuaca blends nicely with hot apple cider to give this cocktail a fresh-baked flavor and oh-so-good smell. I like to make my own whipped cream with a little vanilla in it and place a massive dollop right on top. Again, not "lite" but the holidays are not for diets.
- 2 ounces Tuaca
- hot apple cider
- whipped cream
- cinnamon stick for garnish
Pour the Tuaca in an Irish coffee glass and fill with hot apple cider. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
1. Tom and Jerry
We've saved the big production for last. This eggnog variation was created by sports writer Pierce Egan in the 1820s. Egan wrote a book called Life of London: or Days and Nights of Jerry Hawthorne and His Elegant Friend Corinthian Tom and invented this drink to stir up publicity; it has nothing to do with a cat and mouse cartoon. You can make it a yearly tradition in your house and buy special Tom & Jerry mugs! This vintage recipe serves about 12, so it's sure to be a hit at a Thanksgiving or Christmas get-together.
- 12 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 bottle brandy
- Pinch of ground allspice
- Pinch of ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 1 bottle dark rum
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Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until they form a stiff froth, and the yolks -- to which you have added the sugar-- "until they are as thin as water," gradually adding 4 ounces brandy (spiceaholics can also add a pinch each of ground allspice, cinnamon, and cloves). Fold the whites into the yolks. When ready to serve, give it another stir and then put 1 tablespoon of this batter in a small mug or tumbler. Now add 1 ounce brandy ( or if you prefer, bourbon) and 1 ounce Jamaican rum, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Fill to the top with hot milk and stir until you get foam. Sprinkle a little grated nutmeg on top. Note: Some people find the milk too rich and filling, so they use half hot milk, half boiling water.
Would you give any of these hot cocktails a try? What's your favorite wintertime beverage? Do you have a recipe you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments section.