Come winter, it’s time to dust off The Greatest Culinary Tool Ever Invented, otherwise known as the slow cooker. What other device allows you to throw random ingredients together, leave your home and come back to a warm, rich roast ready to eat? As if that wasn’t convincing enough, your Crock-Pot also happens to be the perfect vessel for large-format hot cocktails. Not only can it keep your cold-weather drink at the perfect sipping temp, but it can maintain that temp for up to six hours.
And the ever-reliable Crock-Pot does not discriminate. glöggs, toddies, mulled wines, cocoa, hot punches, one-off experiments—just about everything but a Blue Blazer is fair game for the kitchen dynamo. It’s safe to say, too, that whatever direction you choose for your Crock-Pot cocktail, it’s bound to fill your home or bar with a warm, aromatic holiday candle aroma. Steven Ferreira of New York City’s Pouring Ribbons puts it succinctly: “Who doesn’t like walking into a bar with the sweet smell of apple or spices?” It’s the brandied cherry atop the obvious easy serving format, as efficient behind the bar as it is for hosting at home.
According to NYC bartender and consultant Joanna Carpenter, mini pumpkins are more than just throwaway fall décor. If you have the time (and an efficient scooping tool), this recipe, along with its over-the-top edible vessels, should be at the top of your list for winter kitchen experiments.
Bring Me Back Something French
There’s something about anise and chocolate that wins every single time. In this rich low-ABV hot cocoa recipe by Stephen Denaro of Craft & Commerce in San Diego (home to Tiki speakeasy False Idol), the build itself is simple enough, focusing the bulk of the work on the hot chocolate itself.
Inspired by a trip to Ireland and an affinity for the tropics, award-winning bartender Steven Gonzalez, of The Living Room at Park Hyatt in New York City, adds an unexpected flavor to the traditional toddy with the addition of mango. In this recipe, the whiskey is added at the very end, minimizing any compromise to the spirit’s flavor profile and allowing it to shine in the finished product.
Hit Me Baby One More Glühwein
Between the ode to Britney and the subtly sweet aromatic liqueur that defines the flavor profile of this recipe from Townshend’s distillery in Portland, Ore., this easy mulled wine riff is a cold-weather crowd pleaser. Thanks to the use of cream sherry and a minimal touch of honey, expect a rich, round mouthfeel without the typical cloying sweetness of traditional Glühwein.