7 warming winter cocktails to mix: Hot Toddy, Rome Punch and more

7 warming winter cocktails to mix: Hot Toddy, Rome Punch and more

There is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing any whiskey, lemon, cloves, honey and cinnamon – also known as the hot toddy. But warm winter cocktails are not limited to toddy alone. For generations, men and women around the world have been making drinks for the colder months of vodka, rum, gin and just about any other spirit or liqueur. If you find yourself in the mood for a warm invigorating cocktail on a cold winter night, but want a drink that is a little more adventurous, there are plenty of excellent options. It’s just as hard as picking your favorite spirit (or finding a new one) and moving on from there.

To venture out into different territories and to give you some hot alcoholic drinks to get you through the winter, we spoke to a team of New York City bartenders and asked them to share their hottest hot cocktail recipes. From variations of the classic hot toddy and the best damn bubbly hot chocolate you’ll ever try, to a fancy mulled wine and rum punch that really packs a punch, here are seven warming cold weather cocktails to try.

The hot teddy bear

Created by Amir Babayoff for Ophelia, NYC

Do you remember when your mother said you should never play with fire? Well, you’ll have to ignore that advice to take this hot toddy to the next level. Amir Babayoff, chief bartender at Ophelia in New York City, starts with the rich and layered Barrell Craft Spirits Bourbon and adds a touch of French fortified wine for added complexity. Next, bring in some Pineau des Charentes to bring out the softer part of the drink thanks to notes of peaches, prunes, plums and roasted nuts. Next comes decaffeinated orange and ginger. He adds Panella (unrefined sugar cane) with a mixture of five winter spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom to finish it off with a sweet complexity. Is it an easy cocktail to whip together? Absolutely not. But the end result is well worth the effort. .

1.5 oz Barrell Whiskey
0.5 oz Pineau De Charente
0.5 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz Island Syrup
Angostura Bitters
5 oz hot water
1 ginger / orange spicy tea bag

Directions: Prepare two copper mugs with warm water. Drain one and add 5 oz of hot water, tea bags, syrup, lemon juice and bitter. Add Bourbon and Brandy to mug # 2 and rinse. Light mug # 2 and pour from mug to mug. Pour into a Snifter and garnish with cinnamon stick, orange peel and star anise.

2. Spiked Mexican hot chocolate

Created by Anthony Henirquez of Lumaca, NYC

Boozy hot chocolate is a rather unsurpassed winter drink. This version is a lighter, more spicy game. “The traditional Italian hot chocolate is usually a rich and indulgent treat that is perfect for a cold day,” says Anthony Henriquez, beverage director at Lumaca in New York City. “But it may not be the best before or after a meal.” This version removes the heavier ingredients and allspice. The remaining cinnamon and chili flavors mix well with the caramel notes of tequila (they use Chamucos). Topped with some freshly roasted marshmallows, it’s enough to make you forget the cold for a few minutes.

3 cups warm milk
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 tablespoon cinnamon
Cut cayenne pepper
3 oz Chamucos Tequila

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a sniffer, garnish with two toasted marshmallows.

3. Night cap

Created by Shigefumi Kabashima, owner of NR, Manhattan NY

Now this drink is not for beginners. But for those who are used to using a flame or amateur mixologists ready to raise their game, Nightcap is worth the effort. Have a fire extinguisher on hand. “When we made this cocktail, we knew we would include absinthe, but would experiment with chartreuse as it is highly resistant and knew it would add a very rich, floral flavor,” says NR bar owner, Shigefumi Kabashima. “We heat an iron bar over a flame to mix the cocktail with to cut the edge of the chartreuse and burn off some of the alcohol.” The drink also has butter, which caramelizes and adds to the rich taste of the cocktail.

1.5 oz. Green Chartruse
0.5 oz. Lemon juice
0.25 oz. fresh ginger
0.25 oz. honey
0.5 oz. water
teaspoon butter
5 lines Absente Absint

Directions: Put all ingredients except butter in a small heatproof container and gently heat the iron bar over a flame for about a minute. Once the iron is heated, carefully stir the cocktail ingredients into a heat-resistant container. Remove the stick from and pour into heat-resistant cocktail glasses, and add a teaspoon of butter.

4. Mulled wine

Created by Marshall Minaya, beverage director for Valerie, NYC

Mulled wine is a classic winter warmer. This is reinforced with a bit of brandy for an extra kick. “I think the mulled wine we make at Valerie’s just hits the mark for the season,” said Marshall Minaya, beverage director for Valerie in New York City. “With a little fresh ginger, apple brandy and the constant temperature, that’s what we’ll serve you to warm you up.”

1 (750 ml) bottle of Cabernet-Sauvignon
½ head Chapman’s Apple Brandy
1 orange (sliced)
6 whole cloves
3 cinnamon sticks
3-star anise
3 Whole Allspice
¼ cup of honey syrup
¼ cup ginger syrup

Directions: In a medium saucepan, bring all ingredients to a boil (do not boil). Reduce heat and let stand for 10 min. Cool and store in Cambro. Pour 5 oz from the thermos into the mug. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon zest and grated cinnamon

5. Hot Fig-Rom Punch

Created by Ryan Gavin, Bar Manager, Gran Tivoli & Peppi’s Cellar

This Hot Fig Rum Punch created by Ryan Gavin, Bar Manager, Gran Tivoli & Peppi’s Cellar, has an old-fashioned winter vibe that compliments the season. It was on purpose. “I wanted to showcase the versatility of tropical flavors in how they combine well with the more traditional seasonal ingredients such as ginger and fig,” Gavin said. While he says the punch is warming and wintery, he says the fruity notes of rum and pineapple “evoke festivities of an exotic nature.” They’re doing the hell right.

0.3 oz. Fig Vin Cotto
0.5 oz. Pineapple syrup
0.3 oz. Lactic acid solution (10%)
1.5 oz. Santa Teresa room
4 oz. Hot water
1 oz. Ginger turmeric tea bag
Heat on steam pipe

Directions: Build and serve in a footed 6 oz. glass. Garnish with a quarter of a fig on a skewer

6. Coffee & Cream

Created by Ryan Gavin for Gran Tivoli and Peppi’s Cellar

Stud coffee is a great pick-me-up for the cold months. Gavin’s Coffee & Cream is a decadently lovely variation with a chilled sweet vanilla cream crown floating on top of the drink. “We were aiming for a kind of elevated Irish coffee drink that would not only showcase the delicious espresso, but some nutty and rich notes from brandy and Vin Santo,” Gavin says. “By adding Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur, we were able to elevate the natural coffee flavor and bring the sweetness up to the magic point that is lip-like but not too syrupy.”

0.75 oz Brandy
.75 oz Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur
.175 oz Vin Santo
1 oz espresso
2 oz hot water
.75 Vanilla Cream
Glass: Foot 6 oz

Directions: Build and make all the ingredients in a footed 6 oz. glass. Garnish with cocoa and bee pollen.

7. The Rum Hot Toddy

Created by Kenneth McCoy, Available at The Rum House, NYC

Simple and sweet, this Toddy variation is anchored with some star-spiced rum for an extra layer of warmth. “We’re making our Hot Toddy using Santa Teresa 1796 Rum,” said Kenneth McCoy, chief creative officer at Rum House. “It is rich, smooth and has hints of warming spices that added a touch of honey, fresh ginger and cinnamon are perfect for a winter warmer on a cold evening.”

2 oz El Dorado spicy rum
0.25 oz fresh lemon juice
0.50 oz Demerara syrup
Hot water from a tea kettle
1 orange peel
1 lemon peel
Slice fresh ginger
3-4 gloves
Cinnamon stick

Directions: Fill your Toddy glass with hot water from the kettle and cover the top with a plate to keep you warm while you prepare the drink. Place lemon peel, orange peel, cloves, fresh ginger and Demerara in a mixing glass. Use a mud to easily extract the juice from the peel and the ginger. Add rum and lemon juice and stir with a rind. Pour water from your Toddy glass, and double sieve the cocktail to remove the pulp. Add 3-4 ounces of warm water on top of the liquid and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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