For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy…

Winter’s got me having the feels for all things comfy, cozy, and sprinkled liberally with liquor.

Yeah.

Anyway…let’s get started.

For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy…

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Photo by holdosi on Pixabay

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.

Or both.

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.

First Snow

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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.

You’ll need:

  • 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.

Enjoy.

“But Rego, I don’t know how to make Winter Syrup”.

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That’s like, drinks 101.

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.

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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

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Photo by Edda Klepp on Pixabay

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.

A lot.

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.

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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.

You’ll need:

  • 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).

Done.

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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.

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Mostly.

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.

Beautiful.

Sexy.

Hot.

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.

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It’s a gift.

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.

….what?

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?

No?

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Fine.

For the more grateful out there – here’s the recipe for that amazing Hot Toddy I discovered so many moons ago.

My Hot Toddy

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Photo by Dinah Pena on Flickr

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.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Stay cool warm.

– Rego

Improve Your Lifestyle. Improve Yourself. This is Life. This is Rego’s Life.™

For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

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For The Weekenders: Comfort Food Prescriptions, Glass House Dining, Whiskey Delivery

Yeah…I know, this one’s late. But hey, look at the bright side – it’s not too late. I mean…you’re not going to be scrambling around on Friday, that’s for sure. Plus, this one’s worth the wait. I’ve got three great spots for you to check out, each and every one tailored to fit whatever mood you’re in. As long as it’s not depressed…depressed dining is a no go…but these spots will put a smile on your face.

Ready? Let’s go.

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Transparency seems to be the new age trend, and while I generally like to keep a private life, the place I’m about to tell you about is worth being a little out in the open. Though secret, unknown, tucked away, and even underground lounges are far more thrilling to discover, 1826 Restaurant & Lounge is just one of those places that turn public party naysayers on the path of reconsideration.

Why? For the sheer fact it’s an architectural beauty. The place is comprised entirely of glass, meaning anyone outside can look in – but honestly, from the outside, it’s a pretty nice view to soak in. From the inside, make it to the top floor and you feel like you’re the observer to the outside world, instead of the observed.

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1826 has it all. Insanely great music, clean lines, elegant bar, and a mixed menu of cocktails and food that’s bound to get anyone who’s full hungry, and anyone that’s “not drinking this weekend” having a “sip or two.” Welcoming walk-ins and taking reservations, this is a great go-to spot for when you want to impress that high maintenance date or a few friends who are looking for a place that’s swank and modern. The key here is quality, plain and simple.

So here’s the deal – book a reservation for about 9:30 or so, you know, to give yourself enough time to hit the gym, freshen up, and put on your finest (no tennis shoes and t-shirts here, please). Ring up your friends or that date and say you’ll either meet them at 1826 or be picking them up. The former always works out better. If you’re really feeling adventurous, rent a luxury car from Lou La Vie for the evening…if you don’t already have one.

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Step inside and get ready for some fun. It’s always good to start out with drinks. Order a cocktail or simple drink while browsing the menu – they have options for vegetarians and steak lovers alike, and a unique way of making it known. Enjoy every bite of your meal (the tastes are explosive) then head upstairs to the lounge area to schmooze and booze the night away. This is Miami, after all.

But hang on – let’s say you don’t want a “fancy” night out (pfft, please). Let’s say you’ve been through a break up (*cough*postValentinesDaycliche*cough*) and instead just want to be forgotten by the world with a few bros or ace girls. You want that nice dinner to make you feel powerful and independent, but are perfectly comfortable in your “slumming it” attire.

Or, maybe you genuinely just fancy a night in with the lads/girls. Your pick.

What do you do? Where do you go?

In the Sack, of course….that being the name of the place – not your actual bed. No. No sexy parties. Not now.

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While In The Sack does encourage you to make love, not meals, they also allow you to either take out or order-in -WAIT FOR IT- gourmet food. As in, food that looks pretty…and tastes pretty damn good. Not to mention some fine wine and spirits (beer, too).

Ergo if you’re busy with your new found habit of smoking and knocking back bourbon like it’s water or crying into a pint of ice cream and watching Sleepless in Seattle, don’t worry – these guys have you covered. Meaning no dumb decisions on whether or not you’re sober enough to drive, and no concerns of your messy hair and smeared makeup.

So go ahead, order up that grilled flank steak with a side of roasted asparagus, and Guinness chocolate chip bread pudding for dessert. Just don’t forget the whiskey, and some Irish Cream to continue satisfying that sweet tooth of yours.

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Save the best for last. This next one puts a unique spin on nightlife and stay at home dining, all while carrying it out flawlessly and with perfection.

Situation: You wanna suit up, dress nice. You want nice drinks, with friends. You also want to stuff your face with comfort foods.

Solution? Now’s the time to head to Vegas and see a different doctor to get your comfort food prescription over at Rx Boiler Room. Remember that neat little underground spot I told you about a few weeks back? Well, same concept, except don’t let that stop you from reading – these guys have their own nice little spin on things.

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Like this awesome floor piece, for starters.

It’s recommended to make a reservation, although there are a plethora of seats – you still want the best ones. Besides, it’s Vegas, baby. You deserve the best and nothing less. Aesthetics wise this place has a steampunk feel to it, something that somehow, never gets old and always seems to fascinate.

So where were we? Oh right, comfort foods. Get them here, along with epic cocktails made by mixologists who really know their shit.

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Workin’ hard or hardly workin’, eh Mac?

Both their food and drink menus have been ever so affectionately renamed as well – Nourishment Charts and Libation Charts, in respective order, full of tasty and original delights from these awesome chefs. My recommendation? Get together a bunch of friends or a date who likes to eat, because you’re going to want to try everything.

Start with BBQ beef spring rolls or an Inside Out French Onion Grilled Cheese, then move on to a spin of a certain fast food chain’s famous bucket experience, with crispy fried Game Hen, or some Peking Duck Lettuce Wraps. From there, take your pick from some choice sweets with Croughnuts or a bit of Pie Americana. Throw in some fun-to-say drinks like Pizzazerac and Time Traveler’s Tea, and you’ve got yourself a night out, with the palette comforts of a night in.

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It’s been a while since your weekend looked and tasted this good.

As always…

Stay awesome.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: Comfort Food Prescriptions, Glass House Dining, Whiskey Delivery is a post from and first appeared on Rego’s Life

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For The Weekenders: Bonfire Fridays, Sugar Rush Saturdays, Kite Flying Sundays

It’s Thursday again…meaning the weekend is right around the corner.

Due to my disdain for being predictable, I thought I’d switch things up a bit, and give you a  different kind of top 3 list to fill your weekend with. So we’re hitting it low key, meaning you guys get to see some things I prefer to do whenever I feel like keeping my wallet nice and fat.

So here’s 3 things to do that are all under $100. Enjoy.

Bonfire Fridays – Okay, so how many of you like the beach? Alright…how about beer? S’mores? Great. Now that I’ve got your attention – Bonfires are a great way to kick off the weekend – and the best part is – they’re a (relatively) free activity.

True story.

Beaches often facilitate bonfires by providing fire pits. Just keep in mind, these are usually on a first come first serve basis, but if you do get a chance to stake claim to one, you’re in for a fun night with many of your closest friends and acquaintances alike.
Don’t live near a beach? Well, you could always build your own backyard fire pit, and do it for damn cheap too. I’m talking $28, with minimal shopping around. This is probably your better option, because really, when it comes to safety standards and regulations, all you really have to concern yourself with is making sure you don’t build it near anything that can catch fire.

Like…trees, for instance.

Meaning you can focus on the more important things….like where you’re gonna put those 5 kegs you ordered and if you have enough mixers and liquor stocked in the mini bar. Which makes me think of another benefit – no drunk driving. Safety first, kids.

Sugar Rush Saturdays – It was Saturday afternoon. Not being able to see each other all week due to our busy schedules, my (ex)girlfriend drove up to my place to spend the day. “I’ve got a surprise for you.” I say to her over the phone. “A surprise? What is it? Tell me!” she replies back, I can hear the curiosity in her voice now. “Negative, no can do. You’re gonna have to wait until you get here. All I can say is this – take cover.” I respond, eyeing the two items I purchased sitting in the corner of my living room. “Take cover?” she asks, “Yes…take cover“.

This one is for the kid in all of us. So you had the bonfire on Friday night, now besides empty liquor bottles and snacks cleaned out from your pantry, you’re wondering what to do with the 3 extra bags of marshmallows you have leftover from making S’mores.
Well, you are in for a treat my friend. Whenever I find myself in this position, a slow, sly grin spreads across my face with one eyebrow raised. I can feel my inner 10 year old self welling up with excitement and adrenaline at the mere thought of it…and “it” is not Rice Krispie treats.
I’m talking about taking those white puffs of sugar, and stuffing them into an air pressure fueled blaster. To put it simply, Call of Duty and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory‘s illegitimate love child.

Pretty sure the 10 year old version of Tony Montana would’ve been jealous of this.

These things can shoot mini marshmallows over a good 30 feet into the air, and hold up to or over 20 rounds of “ammo.” The coolest thing about it? It’s something that can be done indoors or out. So you can say “Take that” to days when it’s overcast and rainy and you don’t feel like going anywhere. The best part about the whole activity? The reload time. Try it out for yourself and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

It’s Sunday? Go Fly a Kite – and no, I’m not telling you to bugger off. When you’ve got breezy Sundays and perfect weather, this novelty activity is the perfect thing to add to an already great day. Though it may take some skill, once you’re up and running kite flying can be quite fun.
I remember my days of living in Bermuda, Good Friday was probably the most interesting and entertaining holiday I’d ever encountered at the time…and honestly? I still fly kites today.


There are actually businesses that run off this classic past-time, like the popular Skyward Kites in Bal Harbor. They have their business located and set up where you can buy and fly your kites all at one time, meaning no waiting around to start the fun.
The great thing about this activity is it’s reasonably priced, and a pretty flexible past time where you can bring friends, family, a date (to show your more relaxed, simple, fun loving side), or just yourself and spend a Sunday morning in a zen like state.

And there you have it. When you feel like keeping some cash in the bank or just want to get back to enjoying the simpler things in life, all of these activities can get you going in the right direction.

Have a great weekend. 😉

– Rego

For The Weekenders: Bonfire Fridays, Sugar Rush Saturdays, Kite Flying Sundays is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life