weating yet? If this gratuitous shot of hunky Paul Newman doesn’t do it for you ( I will seriously question your warm bloodedness) then perhaps the offerings we have for you this month might do the trick. Though considering the weather here in Southern Cali as I write is 86 Degrees , even typing is making me schwitz!
Hot spiked drinks were my Pop’s favorite thing about winter, that and the yearly offering of Islay scotch that would wend its way south every Holiday with my brother,a peace offering of sorts, the only moment of the year that these two great minds could come together and agree on one subject. My first whiffs of the fair lady of the Isles would come floating toward my delicate girlish nostrils via Poppa Iggy’s hot Toddy, I don’t remember many more of the contents of his cup except for maybe honey and lemon, sometimes I think black pepper got in there. When researching hot cocktails the one that appears the most popular is indeed the Hot Toddy ( or Tottie which is also slang for a pretty young girl trying to pass for someone older). The toddie became popular in the late 19th century and was possibly brought over from India to Scotland, a traditional mix of scotch whisky, citrus, honey and hot water and was a dram taken before bed time to help cure colds, though the American lung association will advise that drinking alcohol when suffering from a cold is not a good idea since alcohol dehydrates , nonetheless its still a popular drink that is consumed if you’re suffering or not regardless of health warnings. The whisky serves to numb the pain, the citrus for a dose of big C, the honey to soothe and the hot water to raise your temperature. The popular classic cocktail the Penicillin is I personally think a cold version using similar ingredients with the addition of a peaty Islay scotch and ginger for extra kick. The toddy can take many forms, I like to use a variety of liquors and instead of plain hot water I infuse it with teas or herbs that will complement the flavors, for instance, chamomile and calvados, chai tea and rum, Earl grey tea, amaretto and bourbon, you get the picture I hope.
The second most popular hot drink would be the Irish coffee, its rumored was invented by a bartender at the LA tavern Tom Bergins which up until recently when it closed its doors was the hot spot ( pun intended) to go to for the best Irish coffee in town. The drink comprises of Irish whiskey, coffee and a generous topping of heavy cream. Europeans might disagree with this story , in Vienna and Germany coffee has been served with spirits and cream as far back as the 17th century except they used a cloud of whipped cream as a decadent foil to mask some of the liquor.
In old Blighty a popular wintery tipple would be hot apple cider laced with brandy and was used in a game for Guy Faulks night called ”Apple Bobbing” ( takes place on November 5th a pagan celebration where a paper stuffed effigy of Mr.Faulks who attempted to blow up Parliament is thrown onto a bonfire in a” take that you cad” type of retaliation, the origins of Burning Man methinks ) , whole apples are tossed into a bowl of the laced cider and the trick is to try taking a bite of an apples before you fall over drunk from taking mouthfuls of boozy cider, those wicked little apples will as soon as you get close duck under the surface making it near impossible to take a chunk out of them, you guess the rest its more a of a drinking game than anything else.
Spiced or mulled wines are another fruity alternative , the Swedes take the infusing of their wines one step further by adding almonds and raisins as well as spices to make glogg, rhymes with hug, am curious if some errant pirate landed on their fair shores and corrupted the Swedes forever, more likely its roots go back to those conquering Romans who drank spiced warm wine all the way back in the first century. I would imagine wearing those short skirts back then demanded some form of inner fortification to keep soldiers from freezing their nuts off. Some version of mulled wine is drank at Christmas time pretty much all over Europe and some Latin American countries. The Germans have something they call “glow wine”, in Italy they have “vin Brule” or burnt wine. My country men the Poles also have an affection for warmed up beer that has honey and spices added to it , Pops would drink it regularly on frigid nights when he had returned from being out all day in the freezing damp air of England, he would warm up a bottle of Newcastle brown or Guinness and sometimes even ramp up its powers by adding a shot of whiskey, kind of like a Boiler maker really.
I hope all this talk of warm and toasty drinks is getting you in the mood, if like me you are sitting in shorts and a bikini then save these ideas for the next time your holed up in a cabin in Mammoth or enduring a rainy afternoon next to the fire with the cat and good book, just don’t let the cat take a nip from your cup or your idillic sojourn will be no more. My favorites for this season without further ado….
The Faulk’s Tail Punch
Per drink you will need:
1 oz Calvados , Applejack or Brandy
1/2 oz Madeira
1 barspoon Kummel ( Germanic cumin spiced liqueur)
1/2 oz honey
3/4 oz lemon
2 oz hot mulled apple cider ( spiced with cloves, nutmeg, allspice and orange peel)
Heat up your cider in a pot, you can make this a punch bowl or in small batches , throw in your spices as much or as little as you like and let simmer on a low flame covered for about 15 minutes . Meantime add your booze and juice to punch bowl or cup, when cider is ready pour into your bowl or mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick or a couple of whole cloves.
We have a cold version of this drink at Ink that is mixed with buttermilk and tastes like liquid apple pie
Little Oge Flynn
for the drink:
1 1/2 oz of Irish whisky infused with Ibara chocolate ( I used one wafer or tablet per 1 bottle of whisky, you need to break it up and let it sit and ruminate for at least a week, lucky for me the impatient one I sous vide mine at 55 degrees for an hour and a half to get a good amount of flavor)
2 of good quality piping hot coffee or espresso, espresso is my favorite it has less acid and more flavor
3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup ( Vietnamese or Saigon is fuller and more intoxicating in my opinion) 1 tablespoon per 3 cups of 1:1 simple , needs to be added when the simple syrup is hot
4 dashes Miracle Mile Chocolate Chilli bitters
1 dash of vanilla extract
1/2 oz Pedro Ximinez PX sherry ( the raisins in this and the chocolate are beautiful together)
for the milk foam:
in your ISI gun add all ingredients and charge with one NO2 canister
8 oz of skim milk ( or buttermilk)
1/4 oz vanilla extract
3 oz of egg whites
1 oz 1:1 simple syrup
Assemble your ingredients in a shaking tin stir a couple of times and pour into your warmed glass or vessel of choice , top withe generous cloud of milk foam and shaved dark chocolate, garnish with cinnamon stick.
3 oz strong sage tea ( fresh sage leaves steeped in hot water for about 10-15 minutes)
2 oz islay scotch
1 oz lemon juice
1 – 1 1/2 oz clove infused honey syrup ( 10 cloves to 2 cups of honey syrup 1:1 honey to hot water) infuse the cloves whilst your honey solution is still hot, let sit for a day)
a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper ( for kick)
2 juniper berries
sage leaves and a lemon slice for garnish
Put all ingredients in a heat proof glass or mug, muddle the juniper berries everso slightly, add the sage tea and stir, top with lemon slice and sage leaves.
Sweet Bowl of Fire
This one takes some time, so be prepared.
1 bottle of average red wine, a good Syrah or Pinot Noir picks up the flavors of the fruit beautifully
1 /2 cup toasted almonds
1/2 cup of raisins
peel of 2 oranges plus the juice for some tartness
1/2 cup of molasses ( pomegranate molasses works too but adds a real tartness to the finish)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon crushed pink peppercorns
6 whole cloves
1/2 a whole vanilla bean with the seeds scraped out
1/2 cup Smith & Cross rum ( 1 cup if you want to make a lively gathering)
3 oz st. Elizabeth Allspice dram
Toss everything except the rum and allspice dram into a pot and allow to simmer covered for an hour. Let sit for a further 2-3 hours covered but off the flame to fully infuse. When ready strain out all the fruit and pour the infused wine back into a pot to reheat, when ready to serve pour in rum and allspice, for each cup slice half an orange, add a couple of whole cloves and pour in a generous ladle full of the wine mixture. Great with a slice of gingerbread or a biscotti for dunking.
Coming up ….. a nip of nogg