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Top 10 warming winter cocktails

Christmas may be over but baby it’s still mighty cold outside, which is why we asked some of the best bars in the chilliest parts of the world to divulge their favourite hot cocktail recipes for banishing the winter blues.

Banish the winter blues with one of these modern hot cocktail recipes

There’s nothing like stepping into a warm bar from the cold with the smell of spices and, if you’re lucky, warm cookies in the air, wafting over from steaming mugs of Hot Toddy’s and warm cauldrons of mulled wine sitting temptingly on the edge of the bar.

But in this era of modern cocktails, it’s time to progress on from traditional drinks consumers come to expect at this time of year; impress and entice them with something a bit different this winter.

Spice up your Hot Chocolate with Tequila and cayenne pepper for a truly warming Mexican drink, or add a shot of Branca Menta for a more herbal twist. Premiuise your Toddy with herbs and spices, or add a knob of indulgent butter to a hot rum drink to really warm your patrons’ cockles.

If you’re after some inspiration this winter, you’ll find some of the best hot cocktail recipes from across the globe on the following pages.

Hot Mentha Mess by The Third Man, New York


This soul-warming drink, created by The Third Man head bartender Erin Sullivan, is a boozy, indulgent treat with a spicy herbal kick from the Brance Menta and cayenne pepper.

Hot Mentha Mess

170ml hot chocolate (made with half water and half sweetened condensed milk)
2 pinches cayenne
30ml Branca Menta
30ml Cognac or Bourbon (Erin recommends Four Roses Bourbon)

1 homemade marshmallow

Method: Heat hot chocolate with water, condensed milk, and cayenne. Pour into mug. Add Branca Menta and Cognac. Garnish with homemade marshmallow sprinkled with cayenne.

The Seaside Toddy by Anfora, New York

seaside toddy

The Seaside Toddy at Anfora provides the ideal combination of warming ingredients and flavours for a cocktail that is perfect for cooler weather. Starting with a base of Bruichladdich Islay Scotch and housemade Genièvre syrup, the cocktail incorporates seasonal ingredients including cranberry juice, charred rosemary, and lemon zest for a fresh citrus note to complement the sweet cranberry.

The Seaside Toddy
55ml Bruichladdich Scotch
55ml “Genièvre syrup
20ml cranberry juice
110ml hot water
Charred rosemary and lemon zest for garnish
Method: Combine Scotch, syrup and cranberry juice in a heat-safe mug and stir to incorporate. Top with hot water, a charred rosemary sprig and a lemon zest.

Genièvre Syrup
140ml hot water
140ml honey
2tbsp mugicha (Japanese roasted barley)
2tbsp dried juniper berries (crushed)
Method: Combine mugicha and juniper berries in hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the barley and berries and add the honey in. Makes approximately 10 servings.

Cardinal’s Remedy by Andanada, New York


New York Spanish tapas bar Andanada is doing its best to warm up patrons this winter with the Cardinal’s Remedy, it’s featured cocktail of the week. A blend of brandy, Grand Marnier, sherry and spiced tea, its warming flavours and aromas are drawing in the crowds in the cold weather.

Cardinal’s Remedy
40ml Brandy Cardinal Mendoza
15ml Grand Marnier Rouge
10ml Pedro Ximénez
10ml Honey
Hot apple cinnamon spiced tea
2 fresh ginger slices
Method: Smash the ginger in the shaker, add the rest of the ingredients, shake and double strain into a Collins glass. Add the hot tea and garnish with an orange twist, apple and ground cinnamon.

The Red Queen by Pasdeloup, Paris

The-red-queenThis cocktail incorporates the woody notes of amontillado and the brightness of a sweet french Vermouth to its advantage to create a drink that warms up the palate, the honey and rum interplay for a sweetness that calls for a plate of Parma Ham or Pata Negra. The drink will feature on the Parisian bar’s next menu in February, which has an Alice in Wonderland theme.

The Red Queen
30ml Dolin Rouge
20ml Plantation 3 star rum
20ml Honey Syrup (1:1)
20ml Freshly Pressed lemon juice
15ml Amontillado Sherry
5-10 drops of The Bitter End BBQ bitters

Method: Add all ingredients in the shaker,  shake with ice cubes, double strain into a chilled cocktail glass into which 5-10 drops (depending on desired spice content) of BBQ bitters have been added. Garnish with an untreated orange zest out and a drop or two of BBQ bitters.

Hot Buttered Rum by Polite Provision, San Diego


Erick Castro, of Polite Provisions in San Diego, warms his visitors back up to functional temperatures with a spiced Hot Buttered Rum that fills the room with comforting aromas of caramel and baking spice with hints of oatmeal cookie.

Hot Buttered Rum

40ml Demerara Rum
95ml Allspice Syrup
1 small pad of butter (about as much as you’d put on a piece of toast)
Method: Temp your glass with hot water and discard, then add the butter and splash of hot water to melt the butter.  Add the rum and allspice syrup and mix. Top with fresh grated cinnamon.

Truffled Hot Buttered Rum by Bacchanal, New York


Naren Young of Bacchanal in New York offers this more upscale version of a Hot Buttered Rum, with the indulgent addition of truffle butter and Licor 43, for a richer, more complex flavour.

Truffled Hot Buttered Rum

45ml Appleton Reserve rum
15ml Licor 43
7ml All Spice Dram liqueur
15ml ginger syrup
Boiling water
1 tsp truffle butter

Method: Pre-heat a Toddy glass. Add all ingredients and then butter. Once dissolved grate cinnamon stick and drop in glass

Nightjar Hot Toddy by Nightjar, London


Sometimes all that’s needed to thaw freezing hands and banish winter colds is a lovingly-made Hot Toddy, and London’s Nightjar has absolutely perfected their recipe. Using Cognac rather than Scotch or Irish whisky, their drink additionally features pear cider and apple-rhubarb juice with a warming spice hit from a chai tea bag. The bar serves their Hot Toddy from a Russian samovar vessel.

Nightjar Hot Toddy
Ingredients (per portion):
25 ml Cognac
25 ml pear cider
50 ml Apple-rhubarb juice
Half a fresh lemon
15 ml honey syrup
Dash of fresh ginger juice
1 bag good quality chai tea bag
Pinch of mixed winter spices (nutmeg, mace, cassia, cloves, star anise, peppercorns, pine cones)
Method: Bring whole mixture to the boil and let tea and spices macerate. Strain spice mix out and add lemon and orange peels. Store in a Russian samovar at below 70C degrees for service.

Irish Coffee by The Dead Rabbit, New York


Rumoured to be one of the best Irish Coffee’s around, this concoction by Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon at New York’s famous Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog uses some of the finest Irish whiskey for a real authentic flavour. You’d expect nothing less from the bar that specialises in Irish whiskey though.

Irish Coffee
140ml Powers Signature Release
140ml Demerara Sugar Syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
110ml hot filter coffee (not espresso or americana style coffee)
One thumb’s worth of cold pre-whipped cream

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

Method: Fill a pre-heated Buena Vista Irish Coffee glass with the Irish whiskey, sugar syrup and filter coffee. Top with the whipped cream and dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

Mexican Hot Chocolate by Bacchanal, New York


Bacchanal bartender Naren Young has leaned on his thorough knowledge of Tequila and Mexico to create an authentic and delicious take on a traditional hot chocolate. Sweetened with Frangelico and agave nectar, which highlights the reposado Tequila in the drink, this Mexican Hot Chocolate promises to spice up the coldest of days.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

30ml reposado Tequila

15ml Frangelico
15ml agave nectar
Hot milk

4 pieces of dark chocolate (or good quality cocoa powder)
Small pinch of cayenne pepper

Method: Place the chocolate into a very hot, pre-heated coffee mug. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well until chocolate is dissolved. Sprinkle with cocoa powder.

Bitter Candied Apple by Boqueria, New York


Zack Bezunartea, beverage director at Tapas bar Boqueria, which has locations in Flatiron, Soho and most recently the Upper East Side (as well as Washington, DC and Hong Kong), created a series of warming winter cocktails late last year, including the Bitter Candied Apple, a warm drink made with apple cider, Licor 43, Jack Daniels, lemon juice and Angostura bitters.

Bitter Candied Apple

110ml Apple Cider
20ml Licor 43
40ml Jack Daniels
20ml Lemon Juice
3 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Method: Heat the juice in a saucepan until just before boiling point and then turn off the heat and add Jack Daniel’s and Licor 43.  Pour into a cup and  add Angostura bitters just before serving.

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