Winter’s got me having the feels for all things comfy, cozy, and sprinkled liberally with liquor.
Anyway…let’s get started.
For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy…
With the first snow comes cold, and with cold comes…feeling cold.
Naturally, the rational thing to do is warm up – with something or someone.
Like hot chocolate.
Or a hot body.
I like both.
Both are fun.
I’m feeling pretty low key this week…thought I’d switch things up.
Get a little more personal.
And at the end of this post let you delve into the life of yours truly.
Creature comforts, personal relationships and all that.
So here’s some winter cocktail ideas with some fun back stories to warm you up during this cold spell.
The first snow is always a little, magical. It comes in quiet, when you’re not looking, and then surprises you when you decide to actually observe your surroundings.
The best part is when you catch it untouched – no tire tracks, no footprints, just one pure sheet of flawless wonder.
It’s a moment you can only catch once, and that you try to hold onto for as long as possible in your memory.
Well there’s good news.
There’s a way to make that memory stretch.
With this cocktail, named after (you guessed it) The First Snow.
Break out your best mixology skills here and saunter over to your mini-bar for a quick lesson on how to be more suave during the winter.
Or you know…just look impressive when you’re at your favourite lounge bar with that special someone and want to look like you really know your stuff, as you school the bartender on how to do his job.
- Superfine Bar Sugar (for rimming the glass)
- 1.25 oz. Rye Whiskey
- 1.25 oz. Winter Syrup
- .5 oz. Cranberry Juice
- 1 Cinnamon Stick (for garnish)
First things first…
You’ll have to rim a martini glass with the sugar, then set it aside.
Now grab your whiskey, Winter Syrup, and Cranberry Juice, and pour it all into a cocktail shaker that has ice in it.
Shake all those ingredients well, for around 15-20 seconds…then strain it all into that same sugar-rimmed martini glass you set aside.
Take that cinnamon stick I talked about earlier and place it as a garnish.
“But Rego, I don’t know how to make Winter Syrup”.
Alright well, stay cool…you can make your own that’ll last you for about a month – and give you an excuse to make more of this winter favorite so…you’re welcome.
So for the Winter Syrup, you’ll need:
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 Cups Water
- 2 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
- 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
- 1/8 tsp White Peppercorns
- 1/8 tsp Cloves
Once you’re done foraging for these necessary provisions, grab a medium saucepan.
Put your sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and peppercorns in there.
Now heat everything over a medium heat until you’ve got your water just below boiling, making sure you stir everything well in order to make sure the sugar dissolves completely (this is important, dammit).
Take your saucepan off the heat, and let your syrup cool until it’s room temperature.
Grab a mason jar (it’s really important that it’s a mason jar), pour the syrup in there, seal it, and (gently) toss it in the fridge.
You’ve gotta have some patience here.
Let it sit in your fridge for a week, then strain out the peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.
Take another mason jar (a clean one), pour the syrup in it, seal it, and pop it back in the fridge.
Or, you know, use it, for the above cocktail recipe.
Spiked Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is good.
Liqueur is better.
Hot chocolate spiked with liqueur is great.
When it gets cold, I drink a lot of hot beverages.
I’m a fan of coffee and hot chocolate – not really a tea drinker (partly because I suck at making tea – except for spice tea I do a pretty bang up job of making that)…but hot chocolate is one of my all time favourites.
Considering most franchise coffee shops can’t make a good cup of espresso to save their lives (there are few, and they are legends), it’s what I opt for when I’m being asked to sit at a coffee shop and socialise with other people I’ve known for a while…or new ones.
But generally, it’s not socially acceptable to slip the barista some alcohol and ask him to spike your drink.
Nor is it acceptable to spike your own drink, apparently – otherwise that mother with her child wouldn’t be giving me the stink eye whenever I whip out a flask.
When you’re at home though, everything’s fair game.
Wanna act like you’re the only one in line? Go for it.
Spike your hot chocolate? Be my guest.
Walk around naked? Go wild.
You get the idea.
Here’s how to do it (the spiking – not the nudity) properly.
- A decent hot chocolate.
- 8 oz. of it.
- 1 oz. Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
- 1/2 oz. Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
- A Dollop of Freshly Whipped Cream (do it right – none of this pre-whipped business)
- Mint Leaves (fresh, for garnish)
Make your hot chocolate – whichever one is your favourite, but just make sure it’s quality.
Add in your hazelnut and walnut liqueur and stir everything together well – use your bar spoon for this.
Top it off with that freshly whipped cream you slaved over making, and garnish with some mint leaves (let’s say, about a sprig).
There’s a reason for using walnut and hazelnut liqueurs…they add depth to the cocoa base.
This is perfect for when you’re sitting by the fire with your hot toddy – aka that special someone.
Speaking of – I promised you a story with a little insight into me, didn’t I?
Alright…well, let me tell you a bit about my hot toddy (pun intended).
We have a bit of a love-hate relationship…but it’s mostly love.
Rewind 7 years ago.
I was in Seoul visiting a friend when we decided to go out one night and hit up this really great lounge bar (and I cannot seem to remember the name of it – it was in Korean, don’t blame me).
We were walking up to the bar and there she was.
So hot in fact I could swear I heard the song “Hot Tottie” ft. Jay-Z by Usher playing in the background.
Just what the doctor ordered, in fact.
Especially after recently having gone through a breakup and having a hectic rebound streak.
I knew right then she was the one.
So I straightened up my posture, walked up to the bar, looked right at her before looking the bar tender dead in the eye and said as calmly and smoothly as possible…
“I’ll have one of those.”
And then proceeded to watch him make me the best Hot Toddy I’d ever had in my life.
You thought this was a romance story about me and someone I love?
Well no…but it’s about some thing I love…
And that’s pretty much the same thing…right?
For the more grateful out there – here’s the recipe for that amazing Hot Toddy I discovered so many moons ago.
My Hot Toddy
You don’t need to have a cold or a sore throat to have this – you just need to have a desire to heal whatever ails you.
For starters, you’ll need:
- 1.5 oz. Bourbon
- .5 oz. Lemon Juice (Freshly Squeezed)
- Boiling Water
- 1 tsp Clover Honey
- 3 Whole Cloves
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 1 Lemon Wedge (for garnish)
You’ll need (obviously) a heated hot toddy glass.
Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, clover honey, cloves, and cinnamon stick in said glass.
Fill the rest of the glass with boiling water, then stir until all the honey is dissolved.
Top it off with a lemon wedge for garnish.
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