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: The Casual Travel Bar 101…

Alright so finally following up from “For The Weekenders: The Classic Travel Bar 101,” here’s another list of some pretty epic (and discreet) travel bar essentials I like to have handy when I’m looking for a more casual feel. These are great for when you’re at the beach, on a plane, backpacking, or road trips across [insert preferred country here]. Discreet and compact enough to be carried anywhere with you, and unique enough to be the perfect conversation starter, these are must haves for anyone who has a love for all things awesome. Enjoy.

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1. Let’s start things off simple. Let’s mix a little bit of casual with classic.

So let’s say you’re out and about at some place in the states. As is the rule of thumb for many places that serve alcohol in America, taking your alcohol outside (even if it’s on the side exit of the building) is strictly prohibited. Public drinking in general really, is pretty taboo out there, while in other countries the laws are a little more loose.

Or let’s just say the cops know how to turn a blind eye. Your choice.

So what do you do when you feel like a quick swig? You pack a flask, naturally.

But let’s be honest – the average size flask isn’t very discreet, and unless you plan on getting sloshed during your transition from one bar, lounge, or club to the next, it doesn’t really make sense to carry out that much liquor anyway. Regular sized flask can be bulky. Obvious. And when you think about it, they were originally intended for inner coat pockets – back when drinking in public was a little more…acceptable.

So here’s something a touch more discreet.

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Yeah. You’re welcome. The Izola Private Reserve 3oz Flask is the epitome of discreet. Izola’s flasks in general come in 3 or 5 oz. sizes, but what I like about this one is its aesthetic appeal. “Private Reserve” is just one of the engravings offered on this little 3 oz. flask, so each one can be a unique conversation starter.

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It fits in your pocket perfectly without any bulge and if you’re ever throwing back your head in public for a swig nobody will really notice what the hell you’re doing as it fits easily in the palm of your hand. *Shrugs* if anything, people may think you’re taking meds. Take meds and no one bats an eye. Drink in public and (sometimes) all hell may just break loose.

2. Sandals – More Awesome Than You Think. Seriously. Years back I used to be sandals averse…until I saw the light. What is this light I speak of, you ask? Well. First there was the sandal that was drinking ninja level 99 – the Reef Dram. That was tragically discontinued…and from there I pledged that I wouldn’t put on another open toe piece of footwear until I found another sandal that met my thirsty needs.

Then shortly after I found the Reef Fanning and a new era was born. An era where I proudly strutted around public in sandals, outside of my “slumming it” days. Yes, it was a time where polos, walker shorts, and sandals were very much the order of the day.

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Why? Because when you need a bottle opener at a party, you NEED a bottle opener. Sure, you can use the old “hang on watch this” trick and risk either chipping your tooth every time or chiseling a piece of someone’s kitchen counter top off, and maybe even using that disposable lighter as a bottle opener is a nice party trick. Key chain bottle openers work too.

But let’s say you don’t wanna chip your tooth. Or someone’s kitchen counter. Or maybe you prefer refillable lighters instead of disposable. Or maybe you don’t feel like something so bulky on your key ring. What do you do then? Let’s put it in a different scenario…

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Someone to your liking just so happens to grab a beer or cider from a nearby cooler but oh no – no bottle opener. Your next move? Ever so casually grab that girl’s/guy’s bottle (they’re made for both men and women – the sandal, that is) from them without uttering a word. Pop off the cap in silence. Then turn around and begin to walk off casually. In 3…2…1, prepare to hear a “hey! Wait! That’s so cool – how’d you do that?”

Turn around slowly and smile, while you shuffle back casually saying, “Well…”

Congratulations. You’ve just learned a new party trick.

3. Save The Best For Last. What’s bulky, holds all your money, and something that goes everywhere with you?

Hopefully not your wife.

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Hopefully not your husband either. (Because ladies, if your guy has man boobs. He is not a man. Get him a bra. Or a gym membership. Guys – start looking like Daniel Craig. Like, NOW).

But I’m not here to talk about marital issues. Nope. Hopefully most of you answered “wallet” to that question. If you’re wondering how on earth wallets correlate with discreet travel bar essentials (besides buying them, of course), honestly – they have everything to do with them. This one’s purely for the most organized, forward thinking, and discreet among us.

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The Credit Card Size Bottle Opener is the PERFECT gift for avid party goers and globe trekkers. Because you need something to open your beer when it’s -4 celsius. Not all weather is fair for sandals. I love this bottle opener because it’s very easy for me to travel with. If there’s one thing you learn after traveling enough it’s the key ring rule – only take whatever keys are vital to you on a trip (House. Car. Gun cabinet. You know, the usual.).

You don’t want to be somewhere in Europe/Asia tagging all your keys with you everywhere – and getting them out to open a bottle is pretty dumb – that’s like getting out your passport to use it as a coaster. Nope, you want something simple, easy to carry, and if anything so thin it slides into your pocket with you not even realizing it’s there. At only 1.5 mm thick making it easy to fit in your wallet (or by itself), and pure stainless steel, this is one accessory I think everyone should have.

Jack Threads has one that’s even cooler than the one above, but hurry, because the sale ends soon.

Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that count. 😉

As always…

Stay awesome.

– Rego

For The Weekenders: The Casual Travel Bar 101… is a post from and first appeared on Rego’s Life

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