A basic hot toddy is so simple it doesn't really require a recipe, but for those of you like a little more zest, a little more complexity, here are three delicious possibilities.
'winter drinks' on Serious Eats
Armagnac plus the honey-sweetness of Drambuie and a splash of dry sherry makes for a boozy but balanced drink, "a great pre or post-dinner tipple," per Lane's recommendation.
A favorite on Lolinda's cocktail menu, this winter gin-and-aquavit drink was created by the restaurant's original cocktail menu designer, Lane Ford.
When I was a kid, Dutch relatives would bring my family all the treats that were hard to find here in the states. My favorite was hagelslag, which are candy sprinkles that you put on buttered bread. (Boxes of hagelslag guaranteed that I would be allowed to eat candy for breakfast.) The grownups, however, got all excited about a ochre-colored liqueur called advocaat. It looked like an avocado-and-mustard milkshake to me, so when they'd pour themselves a big glass for Christmas, I was never tempted to sneak a sip. After all, these were the same adults who'd rave about salty black licorice, which I knew for a fact was the worst thing I'd ever tasted.
"I almost always find hot drinks disappointing," says Martim Smith-Mattsson, beverage director at New York's Vandaag in the East Village. "So many just taste like they've been sitting on a warmer all day. I wanted to make something fresher, more vibrant." Check out his unusual recipes for hot cocoa, hot cider, and a very loose interpretation of a hot buttered rum.
The spices that make up traditional masala chai usually include some combination of five basic spices: cardamom, ginger, clove, black pepper, and cinnamon. Other spices and flavorings may include anise, fennel, nutmeg, vanilla, coriander, allspice, bay leaves—you get the idea. Some people really empty out the whole spice rack here.
All cranberry and pine, this would be an excellent holiday punch, light but complex and with distinctly winter flavors; I like that the cranberry flavor comes from a liqueur rather than just juice, keeping that intense tart flavor without diluting the drink.
A warm cup of hot cocoa is hard to beat, especially when it's homemade or one of our favorite mixes. But spiked hot cocoa is even better on a cold night. Here are three combinations we're loving right now.
This is my favorite time of year for many reasons, none of which involve snow or gourds and several of which involve whiskey. This time of year, bourbon is ready to be tricked out with something more interesting than summer's ice-and-soda or deeper winter's tumbler-and-depression. The Dead Leaf is what I've come up with, and it's good.
The first time I hosted a cocktail party, I spent most of my time preparing cocktails to order. The drinks were great, but it prevented me from having much fun. Making batches of drinks in advance is a much better idea—all it takes is a little math.
If you're planning to cook prime rib for Christmas, our Food Lab master, Kenji, has you covered. But here are a few wine picks to complete your festive meal.
This cocktail is tasty and intriguing, at turns sweet, savory, and spicy, with hints of cloves and cinnamon. It's something like a cold mulled wine, which is perfect for the holidays. As a bonus, it's dead simple to make.
One thing that people tend to do more in December than during all other months combined is introduce eggs into their strong drink. I'm not talking about the light, foamy cocktails made with a little egg white that you see throughout the year; rather, these are the rich, thick nogs of winter that trace an ancestral linage back to the flips of colonial America.
I believe very strongly in the restorative powers of warm whiskey and as such will not indulge in this cure for the common cold except when medically indicated. Which means I needed to come up with something else to drink when the air is cold but my body is well.
This cranberry elevation process is a matter of historical import and as such must begin with a good stiff drink. First off, we need to start with real cranberries (or what's the point?)
I've been mixing variations of a Flaming Holiday Punch (known in some circles as "English Bishop") every December for years now. The base recipe is from Esquire's Handbook for Hosts, from 1949, which is nice on its own but quite open to improvisation. The ingredients are a cinch: a bottle of aged rum poured into a punch bowl over baked oranges studded with cloves. Toss in a little sugar and some holiday spice, turn down the lights before you apply a match to the hot liquid (careful!) and conversation is pretty much guaranteed to stop.
What is better during the holidays than a piping mug of hot chocolate? Well, one that's been enhanced with cinnamon and cayenne powder of course. This Mexican take on the wintry beverage is creamy and rich with a spike of spiciness. Top it with whipped cream, marshmallows or whatnot.
A marriage of the Cosmopolitan and the Kir Royale, Champagne gets dressed up with cranberry juice and Triple Sec. Alcoholic, slightly sweet, and slightly tart, and you'll be thankful you took a few sips of this festive cocktail.
If there's been one simple message that's come out of the Four Loko hullaballoo, it's that mixing caffeine and alcohol is a bad idea. Now that this preliminary is out of the way, let's get down to doing that very thing. There are plenty of versions of the Hot Coffee Grog floating around in the booze world. Some contain cream or butter (or, in one tiki-fied version, coconut cream), and some are laced with a range of liqueurs.
Making spiced rum is deliriously easy. Simply take your desired mix of spices and other ingredients, pop them in a bottle of rum for, oh, two days, then taste. Need the spice mix a bit stronger? Let it sit a day or two more, or, edit the taste profile as you go, adding more of an ingredient if you wish to push it forward.