Scarves, earmuffs, wool hats and gloves are not the classics of winter I think of when the cold seeps through the cracks in our old farmhouse and creaky barn walls. I think of Mother’s toddy that “kept the cold at bay” and, not incidentally, was an adult substitute for cough medicine. We kids would be granted a small sip and, sure enough, that sip poured a quick heat right into the stomach.
So here are four classic cold-weather cocktails, easy to make, popular to serve, and appealing for winter dinners or Valentine toasts.
CLASSIC HOT TODDY
From Winemag.com, this is the toddy
1½ oz. brown liquor such as brandy, whiskey or rum
1 Tbls honey
½ oz. lemon juice
1 C hot water
Lemon wedge, cinnamon stick and star anise, for garnish (optional)
Place the first four ingredients into the bottom of a large, warmed mug. Stir gently with spoon or cinnamon stick. If desired, garnish with the lemon, cinnamon stick or star anise. Makes one serving.
Tip: Lime juice is sometimes used, but is a variation on the classic toddy.
HOT, X-RATED CHOCOLATE
Sinfully yummy and ready in 6 minutes
2 oz peppermint schnapps
Chocolate sprinkles, shaved chocolate, miniature choc chips, crushed peppermints or mini candy canes for garnish (optional)
Pour the schnapps into a warmed mug or coffee glass. Fill with hot chocolate and stir well. Top with whipped cream and garnish as desired. Makes one serving.
Tip: Go bold. Try replacing the schnapps with vanilla vodka, cherry brandy, or any sweet liqueur.
Note: For a non-alcoholic version, use a few drops of peppermint or vanilla or cherry extract mixed with one teaspoon sugar to replace the schnapps (taste mix for sweetness before adding – extracts can be bitter).
TRADITIONAL HOT BUTTERED RUM
Smooth, tasty, warming, this is practically comfort food
1 small slice soft butter
1 tsp brown sugar
Optional ground spices to add to your taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice
2 oz. dark rum
Place the butter, sugar and spices at the bottom of an Irish coffee glass or mug. Mix well or, even better, muddle until fairly smooth. Pour in the rum and hot water. Stir.
Tip: A small bit of cream or half and half mixed in will add to the satisfaction of this drink. A topping of whipped cream will make it a guest-worthy after-dinner libation.
The authentic recipe from IrishCentral.com
1 ½ oz. of good Irish whiskey
5-7 oz. hot coffee or 2 shots of espresso
1-2 tsp. brown sugar
Run hot water slowly over a glass mug until it’s at room temperature or hotter, and then dry it (pouring hot coffee into a cold glass might crack it). Add brown sugar to mug then pour in whiskey. Add coffee or espresso, leaving room at top for whipped cream. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Spoon whipped cream on coffee but do not stir it in (drink stays warmer longer with the cream sitting on top. It will gradually melt in.) Makes one drink.
Note: To make cold Irish coffee chill the sweetened coffee before adding the whiskey.