Recipes for Hot Cocktails

There’s nothing like sitting bundled up outdoors around a firepit, or even indoors to escape the chill, with a hot drink to warm the hands, body and mood. Like a Southside in summer, warm cocktails and other drinks want winter. There are classics, like glühwein, Irish coffee and Tom and Jerry, or you can always toss a shot of brandy into a cup of hot chocolate or tea.

For these festive warmers, well endowed with spirits, home bartenders can use mugs or coffee cups; glass ones are nice. Bear in mind that the drink is hot, so the container needs a handle. Seasonally decorated cocktail napkins are as necessary as tinsel on the tree.

Here are several warm drinks for sipping before or even after dinner. There’s a fairly classic mulled wine, a smoky tea-based warmer that relies on Lapsang Souchong tea and peaty Scotch for its charred allure, and a riff on hot buttered rum from Ivy Mix and Julie Reiner, two stars in the New York bartending galaxy who run a seasonal menu called Sleyenda at their Brooklyn bar, Leyenda. The cappuccino “egg nog,” an eggless concoction, requires an espresso maker or at least a milk frother for its topping.

Adapted from Quality Eats, Quality Italian and Quality Bistro restaurants in New York City

Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

½ cup sugar

2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for servings

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

3 cups (1 bottle) rich but dry red wine like zinfandel

¼ cup Bénédictine

¼ cup Cognac or brandy

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Orange wheels for garnish

1. Place sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice in a 2-quart saucepan. Add ½ cup water. Bring to a simmer and when sugar has dissolved, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.

2. Add the wine, Bénédictine, Cognac and lemon juice. Bring back to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a pitcher, straining out the spices. Divide among mugs or heavy stemware, garnishing each with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange. Serve warm.

Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 drinks

1 teaspoon Lapsang Souchong leaf tea or 1 tea bag

5 star anise

5 green cardamom pods

6 black peppercorns

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

3 ounces smoky Scotch, like Laphroig or Lagavulin.

2 lemon wheels for garnish

1. In a small saucepan brew tea in 6 ounces water. Add 3 star anise, the cardamom and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, honey and Scotch.

2. Pour into 2 glass mugs, garnish each with a star anise pod and a lemon wheel, and serve.

Adapted from Sleyenda in Brooklyn

Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

2 ounces dark rum

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) passion fruit purée or lemon curd

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons pineapple juice

1 tablespoon lime juice

½ tablespoon salted butter in a single pat

1. Combine rum, passion fruit purée, honey, pineapple juice and lime juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the ingredients are well blended. Pour into a prewarmed coffee mug.

2. Top with pat of butter and serve.

Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Ground coffee for a 2-ounce espresso, regular or decaf

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons brandy or other spirit

¼ cup heavy cream

Pinch of nutmeg

1. Brew the espresso into a cup or mug (at least 6-ounce capacity). Stir in the sugar and brandy.

2. In a separate container, foam the cream by machine or with a frothing wand. Spoon it over the spiked coffee, dust with nutmeg and serve.

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