Hot pumpkin toddy. Hot buttered rum. Mulled wine. Are you feeling toasty already? It's the season for warming up inside with hot drinks.
Hot alcoholic drinks go back a long way, of course: hot toddies crop up in Charles Dickens and Jack London; hot negus (mulled wine) in Jane Austen. The hot toddy, made of sugar, spice, citrus, alcohol and hot water, is a traditional way to cure a cold — or at least, cheer yourself up while you're suffering.
Hot buttered rum, with its mixture of creamed butter and sugar, spices, rum and hot water, is also soothing. And there's something about frothy milk or cream that will warm up anyone.
Then there's toddy. The story goes that this sweet, lemony alcoholic drink was brought to England by someone in the East India trading company from India, where people still make strong, distilled toddy from palm tree sap. Hot toddy's easy enough to make — just mix a little sugar or honey, a little spice (cinnamon, or cloves), a dash of lemon juice and a shot of whisky or rum to some hot water.
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But if you want to make it a little different, try a hot pumpkin toddy. Roasted pumpkin is mashed into a purée with honey and simple syrup. Being a purée, it'll separate if you leave it sitting, so stir if necessary.
Finally, there's the froth. Not all hot drinks need it — you won't be wanting to froth mulled wine or cider — but it's useful if you're sprinkling spices or chocolate. The easiest way is adding whipped cream: Marcie Triner-Anderson, head bartender at Varsity Grill, uses this to top off her popular winter special of coffee/chocolate blend spiked with peppermint schnapps and creamed vodka. Or you can whip your own milk or cream with a hand-held electric mixer, an espresso steamer or a whisk. For a party trick, and to cool down a piping hot drink, try what chai sellers in India do — pour a latte from one cup into another and back again and increasing the distance until you have a froth.
We may have a long, cold winter ahead of us — but think of it as a deliciously long time to whip up your own menu of hot frothy drinks. You might even cure a cold or two as well.
Hot pumpkin toddy
Raspberry mocha grande
Instructions: Combine 1½ ounces of Amarula, a South African raspberry fruit cream; ½ ounce of espresso; ½ cup frothed milk (whole milk preferred); and 2 teaspoons chocolate sauce. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly shaved chocolate.
Instructions: Mix ½ ounce Rumple Minze (or other peppermint schnapps) and ½ ounces with equal parts black coffee and hot chocolate. Add a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with chocolate sprinkles.
Eggnog, with a twist
8 jumbo eggs
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Freshly grated nutmeg
¾ ounce Appleton Estate V/X Jamaican rum
¾ ounce Hennessy VS cognac
Separate egg whites and yolks. In a large mixer, beat yolks until creamy, then transfer them to another bowl. Clean the mixer and add the egg whites and cream of tartar, and then beat until stiff. Add powdered sugar and fold in creamed yolks. Mix until batter is light and fluffy.
In a preheated mug, add two heaping ladles of batter (roughly 6 ounces). Add rum and cognac. Top with hot water and dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Serve with a paddle or spoon.
This recipe, for a Tom & Jerry drink, is excerpted from Tony Abou-Ganim's "The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails" (Agate Surrey, $35). A traditional twist on eggnog, this old-school cocktail is both warm and rich — perfect for those cold winter nights.
Serves 10 to 12
12 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
½-inch fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
12 whole white peppercorns
1 gallon fresh apple cider
6 ounces cranberry juice
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
10-12 ounces bourbon
To make the wassail, wrap the cloves, allspice, ginger, cinnamon sticks and peppercorns in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen string. In a large pot, heat the cider, cranberry juice, brown sugar and spice bag. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
To make the drink, add the bourbon to a mug and fill with hot wassail.
This recipe is excerpted from "The American Cocktail: 50 Recipes That Celebrate the Craft of Mixing Drinks from Coast to Coast" (Chronicle Books, $19.95).
Hot buttered rum
¼ pound butter, softened to room temperature
½ pound light brown sugar
1 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and whole cloves
½ teaspoon each of ground nutmeg, cayenne, salt
Spiced rum, your choice
Bailey's Irish Cream
Mix all ingredients. Put 1 tablespoon of mix into 4 ounces hot water. Let melt. Add in 2 to 3 ounces of spiced rum. Add a dash of Baileys Irish Cream, and float a cinnamon stick to garnish.
This recipe is from Social Bar and Grill, Tacoma, Wash.