Indulge in some hot cocktails – The Denver Post

There’s nothing like sitting bundled up outdoors around a firepit, or even indoors to escape the chill, with a hot drink to warm the hands, body and mood. Like a Southside in summer, warm cocktails and other drinks want winter. There are classics, like glühwein, Irish coffee and Tom and Jerry, or you can always toss a shot of brandy into a cup of hot chocolate or tea.

For these festive warmers endowed with spirits, home bartenders can use mugs or coffee cups; glass ones are nice. Bear in mind that the drink is hot, so the container needs a handle. Seasonally decorated cocktail napkins are as necessary as tinsel on the tree.

Here are several warm drinks for sipping before or even after dinner. There’s a fairly classic mulled wine, a smoky tea-based warmer that relies on Lapsang Souchong tea and peaty scotch for its charred allure, and a riff on hot buttered rum from Ivy Mix and Julie Reiner, two stars in the New York bartending galaxy who run a seasonal menu called Sleyenda at their Brooklyn bar, Leyenda. The cappuccino “eggnog,” an eggless concoction, requires an espresso-maker or at least a milk frother for its topping.

Après Ski

Adapted from Quality Eats, Quality Italian and Quality Bistro restaurants in New York City

Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, plus more for servings
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice
  • 3 cups (1 bottle) rich but dry red wine like zinfandel
  • 1/4 cup Bénédictine
  • 1/4 cup cognac or brandy
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Orange wheels for garnish

Preparation

1. Place sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and allspice in a 2-quart saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer and when sugar has dissolved, simmer for 5 minutes, stirring.

2. Add the wine, Bénédictine, cognac and lemon juice. Bring back to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour into a pitcher, straining out the spices. Divide among mugs or heavy stemware, garnishing each with a cinnamon stick and a slice of orange. Serve warm.

Winter and Smoke

Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 drinks

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Lapsang Souchong leaf tea or 1 tea bag
  • 5 star anise
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 ounces smoky scotch, like Laphroig or Lagavulin.
  • 2 lemon wheels for garnish

Preparation

1. In a small saucepan brew tea in 6 ounces water. Add 3 star anise, the cardamom and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, honey and scotch.

2. Pour into 2 glass mugs, garnish each with a star anise pod and a lemon wheel, and serve.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Adapted from Sleyenda in Brooklyn

Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) passion fruit purée or lemon curd
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon salted butter in a single pat

Preparation

1. Combine rum, passion fruit purée, honey, pineapple juice and lime juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring, until the ingredients are well blended. Pour into a prewarmed coffee mug.

2. Top with pat of butter and serve.

“Eggnog” Cappuccino

Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 drink

Ingredients

  • Ground coffee for a 2-ounce espresso, regular or decaf
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or other spirit
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Preparation

1. Brew the espresso into a cup or mug (at least 6-ounce capacity). Stir in the sugar and brandy.

2. In a separate container, foam the cream by machine or with a frothing wand. Spoon it over the spiked coffee, dust with nutmeg and serve.

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