Snow, sleet, ice...the weather this time of year calls for a heavy-duty defroster: hot cocktails. You can warm up with one of these toasty drinks at your favorite bar, but you also can make them easily at home.
Mastering the classics is always a good place to start, and it’s no different with hot concoctions. The timeless Hot Toddy (basically a mix of whiskey, sugar, boiling water and lemon peel) is a useful template. You can personalize the recipe with a few simple changes, say by replacing the sugar with an infused simple syrup or by adding some citrus juice. A good example of this is the Spiced Toddy that I created recently for the W New York Downtown, which calls for both rye whiskey and spiced rum, plus baking spices and lemon juice.
Another cold-weather favorite is mulled wine, which, for the record, is not just winter sangria. It’s best made with a combination of spices, red wine, berries, sherry and stone fruits. The flavors come alive when the ingredients are mixed together and then warmed, releasing an enticing aroma.
Since this is shaping up to be the year for punch, it would be remiss of me not to include a festive communal cocktail recipe that you can make for your friends and family. Try Xavier Padovani’s tasty Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch (pictured above), which in addition to gin calls for spices, Madeira, honey and fruit. And best of all, it serves 12. Happy holidays!
Contributed by Charlotte Voisey
- Hot water
- 1.5 oz Rye whiskey
- .5 oz Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
- 1 oz Vanilla-Nutmeg Syrup*
- .25 oz Fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 1 pinch Lemon zest
- Garnish: Freshly grated nutmeg
- Glass: Mug
Rinse a mug with hot water to warm it. Add the remaining ingredients, plus 4 ounces hot water, and stir. Garnish with a dusting of freshly grated nutmeg.
- 2 cups Sugar
- 2 cups Water
- 2 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 6 Vanilla beans, cut in half lengthwise
Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool completely and strain. Store in a closed container in the refrigerator.
Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch
Contributed by Xavier Padovani
- 24 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 24 oz Madeira wine
- 6 Lemon twists
- 1 Orange slice
- 3 large chunks Pineapple
- 3 oz Honey
- 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
- 3 Cloves
- 1 pinch Ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Brown sugar
- Garnish: Orange slices and cloves
- Glass: Punch
Add all the ingredients to a large saucepan simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. To serve, pour the hot mixture into a punch bowl or teapot and garnish with orange slices studded with cloves. Pair with gingerbread.