Grab your cozy clothes, your softest, warmest blanket, and your favorite mug. You know the mug. It's the one you keep on the middle-shelf that you reserve for those Wednesdays when you need a little extra sunshine with your coffee or, better yet, when you're brewing up your favorite hot cocktail. Pull on your socks, don your slippers, and grab your cocktail shaker. Nothing warms up your soul and your body like warm cocktails.
Classic Warm Cocktails
There are several cocktails that most likely come to mind when you think of warm cocktails, but the Holy Warm Trinity is quite simple: hot toddies, hot coffee cocktails, and mulled wines. Like anything in the cocktail world, rules are made to be broken, and the deck will shuffle around with hot buttered rum, boozy adult hot chocolate, and mulled cider.
Hot Toddies and Irish Coffee
Easily one of the most famous and recognizable warm cocktails, the hot toddy is one that you can find throughout history. It reaches as far back as the 1700s, but it would be incredibly foolish to believe tea and alcohol were never partners before then. The modern hot toddy and Irish coffee that many know and love share a common spirit: whiskey. You can substitute bourbon or rye in either, but the Irish coffee traditionally uses Irish whiskey. However, you can make both with extra spirits, liquors, or ingredients, like gin in a toddy or a splash of nutty or chocolate liqueur in the Irish coffee. With so many styles of hot toddy and coffees, including the Mexican and Italian coffees, it's understandable why these are a hot cocktail staple.
Mulled Wine and Cider
Mulled cocktails are the busy person's miracle: you can let the nonalcoholic ingredients simmer on the stovetop or in a slow cooker, the smells of the mulling spices, wine, and cider as intoxicating and enveloping as the drinks themselves. There's a world of mulled wine recipes, perfect for the most refined palate. Hot cider is delicious as a mocktail, or with a splash of booze transforming it as you enjoy individual servings. You can even sneak in a wassail recipe or two into your mulled wine and cider rotation.
Adult Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate only has a single rule: never let it cool. Whether you make your hot chocolate from scratch or from a powder, boozy hot chocolate is a staple that the cocktail community is embracing. From a hazelnut liquor hot chocolate to the star flavor of winter -- peppermint, there's no limit to the flavors you can add to hot chocolate. Close your eyes, imagine your favorite bite of chocolate candy. Open your eyes, and make those flavors come to life. Hot chocolate with peanut butter vodka and a splash of butterscotch schnapps, anyone?
Hot Buttered Rum
The mysterious hot buttered rum is a cocktail that may go unsipped because it's an obviously daunting and challenging recipe. A sentence that's an absolute lie. In fact, it's even easier than making a hot toddy garnish. With a hearty pinch of brown sugar, a pat of melted butter, and a whisper of vanilla extract married together by rum, all topped by hot water, it's the best warm cocktail you aren't yet making. As with any warm cocktail, you can make this in a large batch in the slow cooker, sipping tea and watching movies while it does the work for you, blending a longer list of ingredients to make a memorable drink. In fact, rum goes well with most hot cocktails, too, so don't think it's just rum and butter. Look no further than the Tom and Jerry as creamy, delicious proof.
The Secrets to a Hot Cocktail
Without any adjustments, a warm cocktail in hand will warm you from fingers to toes, heart to soul. But there are a few secrets as you're making them to give yours a little extra magic and flavor. Just like you can never quite re-create your grandma's homemade chocolate chip cookies, your friends and family will wonder what secret ingredients you're hiding from them.
- Always warm your mug before serving your cocktail. Nothing will cool your drink down faster than a cold glass. A few minutes before serving the cocktail, add very warm or hot water to the mug, dump that down the sink and proceed to add your cocktail to the mug as usual.
- Make your hot cocktails in batches. It gives the ingredients and spices time to mingle and get to know each other in a way that a single-serve recipe can't.
- Think of making a warm cocktail like cooking: taste as you go, and know that sometimes you need to rely on the spirit of the cocktail ancestors to tell you how much butter, cloves, or fruit to add to your recipe. Taste as you go, but don't get bold and add too many spices all at once. Let it simmer, let it mingle, and then make adjustments.
- Let the flavors of the spirit take the backseat in your spiced and creamy hot cocktails by utilizing the neutral palette vodka offers.
Cocktails to Keep You Warm
Whatever warm cocktail you indulge in, one from centuries and centuries ago to a modern candy bar hot chocolate, nothing will warm you from the inside out quite like a hot cocktail. Once you dip your toes into the water, you may find yourself asking, "old-fashioned who?"