Winter Warmers

Now that the cold rains have arrived (at least around here), we’re in the mood for some winter warmers. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite warm cocktails to help you ward off the chill of the season. Give them a try some damp evening in place of your typical “shaken or stirred”.

Tom & Jerry

We learned about this delightful warm alternative to traditional eggnog from Paul Clarke, courtesy of Swig Well at Anu Apte’s Rob Roy. It is basically a sweet egg batter mixed with dairy and booze. We use Paul’s recipe, but substitute half and half for the milk because, well we can 🙂

Taste-wise, it is very rich and creamy, with lots of delicious spice from the addition of nutmeg, allspice, and clove. Use fresh spices if you can, especially the nutmeg. There’s a definite bite from the rum and brandy, but it is cushioned  by all that egg yolk and milk fat. The whipped egg in the batter keeps it from feeling too heavy though. We like to use heavy-bodied, robust spirits in this drink, to hold their own against the richness of the other ingredients. A warming and companionable drink.

A Tom and Jerry could be a brunch drink, or just brunch. The batter takes a little bit of effort, but once it’s done the drink is fairly quick to throw together. And the batter goes a long way, so it’s perfect for entertaining during the holidays. Just whip up a batch, keep some milk simmering on the stove, and impress your friends. Seriously, don’t even bother with any of the store bought stuff.

Miss January

This drink is a cozy fire in a glass, wood smoke included. Christa came up with it for a winter camping excursion as something to warm and invigorate everyone after a day out hiking in the wet. Smoky tea, smoky scotch, smoky bitters, and a little bit of Cointreau to liven things up. You get the scotch and the tea first, then  sweet citrus and a bit richer mouth feel from the Cointreau, then a bit more smoke plus tannin from the tea for a clean finish  Just the thing to curl up with next time a winter storm blows in.

  • 1 oz Scotch (we like smoky Islays for this)
  • 1 dash Smoke Gets in Your Bitters bitters from Bitters, Old Men
  • 1/4 oz Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 2-4 oz hot lapsang souchong tea, to taste

Maple Hot Toddy

Hot toddy recipes are pretty ubiquitous, but most of them are typically just whiskey, sugar, lemon and hot water. We wanted something a little more interesting. First off, we decided to replace the sugar with maple syrup to give the sweetness some added complexity. We use grade B syrup because we’re more interested in the flavor vs. the sweet. Maple syrup grades are based on sweetness. So grade A is the sweetest, but not necessarily the most flavorful. Then we decided to combine two types of liquor cause hey, usually more booze equals more better. 🙂 It’s not uncommon to see rum in some toddy recipes so we went with that. We typically use a dark Jamaican rum as that gives some nice funk without being over powering. Also the Jamaican rums are typically drier than most so again we’re going for more flavor vs. sweet. However if like your toddys a little bit sweeter a nice gold rum will sweeten it up. Finally, we decided to go with bourbon as our whiskey of choice. Again it gives some nice sweetness but also some complexity.

In tasting it is sweet-sour on the front, then you get the nice complexity of the booze, followed by more of the sour from the lemon mixed nicely with some of the vanilla wood notes of the bourbon.

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz dark or gold rum
  • 3/4 oz grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 4 oz hot water

Assemble in glass, add a lemon twist. Enjoy!

Don’t let the weather keep you indoors. You have something to warm you up when you get home.

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