I feel pretty strongly that hot toddies should not be an excuse to just take whatever brown spirit you have around the house and pour some hot water on it. You can do better.
'hot drink' on Serious Eats
We've experimented with a whole range of hot boozy drinks, spiking our cocoa with everything from mezcal to pisco and stirring pretty much the whole liquor cabinet into steaming mugs of cider, coffee, tea, and toddies. Here are 20 of the best hot drink recipes we've tested.
Every Saturday during the fall, the farmers' market in my neighborhood becomes an urban orchard, with countless varieties of apples spilling out of rickety crates. I always stop at the hot cider stand; something about the sharpness of the air and the cutting edge of wind turns warm apple cider into an antidote. The antidote becomes even more powerful with a splash of liquor. Here are five recipes to inspire a little boozy cider celebration.
Hot buttered rum is even better with warm cider.
This warm cocktail is spiked with bourbon and ginger liqueur. Cracked black pepper underscores the ginger's subtle burn.
The classic Boulevardier is a favorite of ours: it's like a Negroni, but with whiskey instead of gin. In this variation, the combination is served warm, stirred into a steaming saucepan of hot apple cider.
Warm riesling is delicious when steeped with honey, lemon, and cardamom.
As with any variation on hot buttered rum, this drink is about execution. Using a simple batter made of creamed butter and brown sugar makes sure you get the flavor of the butter without the dreaded oil slick on the top of your cocktail.
This recipe amps up the classic mulled cider with a heck of a lot of ginger, which gives it a spicy quality perfect for cold nights.
Winter might be halfway over, but round these parts it seems like things are just beginning to get really cold. We love our hot drinks around here, and if you're feeling really lazy (who isn't on a cold winter's day?), you can do worse than snuggling up with a cup of boiling water, a packet of Swiss Miss, and a bottle of rum. Go ahead and do it—we won't judge you. But if you feel like fancying things up a bit, here are a baker's half dozen easy ways to spike your hot chocolate, complete with fancy-pants garnishes and measurements to boot!
If you don't have mezcal on hand, you can still make this spicy and delicious hot chocolate—try using aged rum or tequila.
Forget wussy crumbled bacon on top. For this one, we emulsify bacon fat right into the drink. If you like Nutella and you like bacon, this spiked hot chocolate is the one for you.
The key to great roasty Guinness flavor? Reduce it on the stovetop into a concentrated syrup first.
Real butterscotch makes this spiked hot cocoa delicious.
Tequila and mint come together for an icy-hot punch in this spiked hot chocolate.
Rich hot chocolate with orange, Grand Marnier, and pisco—like a foil-wrapped chocolate orange, but better.
This drinking chocolate is rich and intense—serve it in a tiny espresso cup to avoid overdose.
"The problem with most cider drinks is that they just hang around on a hot plate all day," says Smith-Mattsson, "so the flavors get too concentrated." Here, he allows Laird's Bonded Applejack "to do most of the work," delivering powerful apple flavor and the fruit's crisp acidity without that all-too-familiar boiled-down sweetness.
This mulled wine is heavy on citrus and anise flavors thanks to a generous squeeze of orange and a complex blend of spices.
There's more to mulling cider than swirling in a couple sticks of cinnamon. This spice blend yields a balanced, flavorful cider while remaining true to the base flavor of apples.