It’s winter. The days are short, the temperatures are low, and the snow is deep. On the positive side of things, the bad weather provides good reason to delve into the delicious world of hot cocktails. Whether wine, whiskey or gin is your drink of choice, there’s a cold-weather cocktail out there to bring a bit of reason to the most frigid season.
Custom Winter Cocktails From Some of Today’s Best Bartenders:
Pearman’s Toddy – Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue
This one may sound an awful lot like a standard Hot Toddy, but there’s one major difference: The Pearman’s Toddy is made with gin, placing a floral border around the heat and alcoholic kick of the original. Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue — located just a short subway ride away from Nu Hotel — offers a locally sourced spin on the Pearman’s Toddy, featuring Brooklyn’s own Breuckelen Glorious Gin, cinnamon syrup, lemon and Angostura bitters.
Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue
433 Third Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Oaxacan Hot Chocolate – Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room
Like the Mexican state after which this drink is named, the Oaxacan Hot Chocolate brings some serious heat. Created by the Cajun-inspired bar staff at Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room in New York City, the drink blends Guittard hot chocolate with tequila and chili pepper, providing enough of a kick to last through even the coldest winter night in NYC.
Bo’s Kitchen & Bar Room
6 W 24th Street
New York, NY 10010
Pumpkin Toddy – Post 390
If you’re still chasing the warm and cozy feelings of fall, look no further than this seasonal hot toddy from Boston’s Post 390 Restaurant and Bar. The upscale Back Bay establishment infuses its brandy with pumpkin and vanilla before adding some sugar, lemon, cloves, and house-made bitters and heating until it’s warm enough to take the edge off of the New England winter.
406 Stuart Street
Boston, MA 02116
El Coquito – Cuba Libre
This Old City, Philadelphia restaurant is known for its spicy eats and hot dance floor. The bar’s newest seasonal beverage, El Coquito, adds a bit of cozy warmth to Cuba Libre’s rep as a nightlife hotspot. Coconut is the theme of this drink: coconut-spiced rum and toasted coconut complement condensed milk, cinnamon and vanilla in this rich holiday favorite.
110 S Second Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Sharpie Mustache – Amor y Amargo
This one doesn’t technically qualify for our list, as it isn’t heated before serving. But when cocktail creation is concerned, rules are made to be broken. Amor y Amargo, a cozy bar on an unassuming East Village street, serves Chris Elford’s Sharpie Mustache. Despite its name, the drink means business, leaning on a potent combination of Meletti Amaro, Bonal, Rye Whiskey, Gin and Tiki Bitters that lend the drink an “island getaway” vibe.
Amor y Amargo
443 E Sixth Street
New York, NY 10009
Classic Hot Cocktails:
This drink has a rich history — with origins dating to 2nd-century Rome — and an equally interesting present. Thanks to its reliance on spices and additive fruits to guide its flavor, mulled wine is inherently very malleable. Mulled wine can be made in large or single-serving batches, depending on whether running the bar during a holiday party or a relaxing evening on the couch.
Epicurious’ mulled wine recipe — dubbed the Bishop — sounds enticing. The Ruby Port base is augmented with cloves and orange before being heated to 400 degrees, creating a sweet, simmering mixture that tastes and smells delicious.
The Hot Toddy stands as the grandfather of all hot cocktails. Its main ingredients — whiskey and water — are time-tested cocktail standards, and the resulting concoction is comforting enough to cure even the most serious seasonal affective disorder. There are dozens of creative riffs on this winter classic, but lemon, brown sugar, cinnamon and other spices are common additions.
For an exceptionally stiff and delightfully toasty Hot Toddy, look no further than Serious Eats’ Scotch Hot Toddy recipe. Whether or not you opt for a high-end scotch to complete this drink, you’ll enjoy this rendition of the classic, which relies on honey syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon and a few extra additions to spice things up.
This one is simple enough. Brew coffee, add whiskey, top with cream and enjoy. You can adjust the coffee-to-whiskey ratio as necessary, just be sure to use a quality Irish whiskey like Redbreast, Yellow Spot, Bushmills 21-Year, or Knappogue.
This Irish Coffee recipe from Chow.com provides the basics. Take note of the variety of other liquor-and-coffee combinations listed underneath the instructions and choose your adventure this winter.