Warm Up With Winter Drinks

As the seasons change, so do our drinking habits. Usually we stop drinking copious amounts of white and rosé wine, which are tremendously refreshing in the warm summer months, and switch to heavier red wines and red blends.

There’s something about the beautiful, crisp, cornflower-blue skies and falling leaves that beckon winter drinks. October conjures visions of warm apple cider with spiced rum and cinnamon. The aroma of cider in the kitchen is intoxicating. Perhaps you like a simple Kahlua and coffee. Another favorite is the classic White Russian: vodka, Kahlua and cream–decadent and delicious. There are an endless amount of winter belly-warmers.

Patti Nix’s Wassail

A bartender friend, Patti Nix (formerly of The Golden), makes the most delicious wassail with malbec wine. Wassail is also defined as riotus drinking and revelry. Nix’s wassail involves the mulling of wine, apple cider and spices. Here is her recipe:

4 cups apple cider (Get your cider locally at an orchard, like Cook’s on Huguenard Road.)

1 bottle of red wine (Malbec is recommended, but any red will do.)

¼ cup of honey

2 cinnamon sticks

1 orange, zested and juiced

4 whole cloves

3 star anise

4 oranges, peeled for garnish

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Ladle mixture into mugs or wine glasses. Garnish with a star anise and an orange peel.

Traditional Hot Toddy

The hot toddy is a traditional Scottish recipe. Also known as a liquid hug and the best cure for a cold, the hot toddy is simple:

1 ounce of bourbon (or scotch or brandy. Pick your favorite or use what’s on hand.)

1 tablespoon of honey

2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice

¼ cup of boiling water

Combine all ingredients and stir until the honey is dissolved and–voila!–the cure for the common cold.

Hot Buttered Rum

With Halloween fast approaching, the hot buttered rum should be a must. There are several recipes for it, but this one is fast and easy and makes four servings:

2 cups water

½ stick unsalted butter

¼ cup dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup dark rum (I recommend Plantation.)

Bring the water, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add rum.



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