The cold winter months are made for getting cozy, and nothing’s cozier than wrapping your hands around a nice warm mug—whether you are nestled under a fluffy throw on the couch or perched at your favorite bar. In either case, drinks of the season are even more soothing next to a roaring fire, don’t you agree? Certainly, the two most famous winter cocktails of all time are the hot toddy and egg nog. Let’s review some of the most popular restorative drinks that can heal the soul.
Not only is it enormously popular but it is also a great remedy for a cold—and quite easy to make. The basic hot toddy calls for boiling water, sugar, lemon, and whiskey.
“Our most popular hot drink is a hot toddy,” says Drake Burnett, bartender at The Ranch House in Santa Fe. “Especially because we are a whiskey bar and have more than 40 whiskeys to choose from. I definitely recommend using Blanton’s for a perfect hot drink.”
You can buy a prepared mix in a carton—or better yet, make it from scratch! This traditional drink dates back hundreds of years and features eggs, milk, cream, and spices like nutmeg and vanilla. Keep it kid-friendly or spike it with rum, brandy, or whiskey for grown-up tastes. It is said that its origins can be dated to medieval Britain as a drink called a “posset,” but it grew in popularity in colonial America, and by the 19th century it became forever linked with the holiday season. Here is one recipe to try!
Hot Buttered Rum
Here’s another pretty easy drink to whip up—with butter, hot water, spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar—and yes, rum. Some fans like to make a type of “batter” that can be stored in the refrigerator. This recipe from The Spruce Eats explains how to do it by the drink or batter method.
We like this last-minute recipe we found from Liquor.com advisory board member and barman H. Joseph Ehrmann that he says it is ideal for unexpected guests. Combine half a bottle of a fruity red such as syrah or Beaujolais with two ounces of brandy or bourbon, two star anise pods, a strip of lemon or orange peel, and one teaspoon of sugar. Cook ingredients until warm (not hot!) and garnish with cinnamon sticks.
Mexican Hot Chocolate
So the improvement on hot chocolate is the addition of cayenne pepper for an extra kick. Here’s a recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. A nice way to prepare your Mexican hot chocolate is to use a hand-carved wooden molinillo (Latin American whisk) to froth by hand. According to the experts at Kakawa Chocolate House, the froth created this way has been referred to as the “spirit of the drink.” Perhaps a molinillo could make for a really unique holiday gift? Check out a selection of them at Kakawa Chocolate House’s website or stop by their (2) locations in Santa Fe.
Spiked Hot Chocolate
There are endless variations on how to make a tipsy hot chocolate—including using Drambuie, brandy, whiskey, vodka and chocolate liquor, peppermint Schnapps and chocolate liquor, and more. Gabe Rea, manager at Totemoff’s Bar at Santa Fe Ski Area, says they are famous for The Totemoff—a hot chocolate spiked with Wild Turkey, Meyer’s Rum, and Kahlua. Ski with caution after drinking one of those! Congrats to Totemoff’s for just being voted #8 best ski bar in the U.S. by USA Today.
For those addicted to their java, there’s this—hot coffee, Irish whiskey, sugar, and cream on top. Delish.com has a recipe to try.
“We do a great coffee drink called The Slippery Irishman,” says Totemoff’s Rea. “We use Irish whiskey, cream, and local coffee beans.” He says fresh coffee is essential and they grind their coffee beans daily.
Sweet and chocolaty champurrado is made from corn masa and chocolate, and is a type of atole (traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage of Mesoamerican origin). One place of note to try one is Marielena’s Bakery Panaderia in Albuquerque. Want to try to make it yourself? Here’s a recipe from allrecipes.com.
The one common theme among all these drinks is their high caloric value. So in light of that, here are a few sources to help you choose warm drinks that are a little more waist-friendly. (Tricks include soy milk, nonfat milk, agave instead of sugar, and more.) Cheers!