Eating & Drinking

Delicious (and dead easy) warm drinks for cool nights

Before I tell you how to get your guests tastefully soused at your holiday party, let me introduce myself: As half of the bar team at Jabberwocky (and with experience in Union 613’s secret behind-the-bookshelf bar two floors below), you’ll almost always be able to find me behind the stick; it’s something of a home away from home.

At this time of year, thoughts of hosting loved ones at my proper abode are always enticing.

Be it a family gathering, dinner with friends or a casual shindig, let me offer the following delicious and dead-easy warming punches to keep spirits bright.

These are all self-serve sippers, meaning that you get to be a part of the party and not stuck blending eggnog in the kitchen. Some of these are non-alcoholic — just add booze to your mug as you ladle warm cider or hot chocolate — so will satisfy the non-drinkers and the designated drivers equally. Whether you call them punches or winter warmers or festive cocktails is up to you — just remember, do not to boil your punch when warming it — alcohol evaporates at about 78 degrees. Moreover, these punches can be tweaked and personalized based on your tastes:

Hot Apple Cider

At work, we call this a ‘hug in a mug’. Reminiscent of a walk in the woods on a cool afternoon, this one definitely will warm you to the core.

I find it much more satisfying to create my own spiced cider rather than buying it: you get to be as creative as you like, and it’s really no more difficult, heating up the cider pulls the flavours right out the spices in no time.

1L apple cider

1 cinnamon stick

peel of 1 orange

1 tsp vanilla

3 cloves

1 pinch, freshly ground nutmeg

Heat to a boil, let stand for 15 minutes, strain out spices and peel.

Perfect on its own, leave the accoutrements to the side so that people can just enjoy warm non alcoholic cider — it’s still absolutely delicious!

To booze it up…

1 oz canadian rye

1 oz sweet red vermouth

1 dash Angostura bitters

A small knob of butter or a few drops of walnut oil, optional.

Build in a glass, top with mulled cider.

Tahini Hot Chocolate

I stole this recipe from my girlfriend. It’s absolutely delicious on it’s own, and I figured booze would only make it better. The tahini really shines through and gives the drink some great depth while the cereal amps up the chocolate, but more importantly your marshmallow game.

1 can coconut milk

¼ cup cocoa powder

3 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp maple syrup

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp vanilla

1 cinnamon stick

Heat all on stovetop, whisking regularly.

To booze it up…

Dark rum, whisky, or even an aged tequila will work wonderfully.

If you want to go nuts, try out Chocolate Lucky Charms Bourbon:

Per cup of bourbon used, crush up ¼ cup of cereal, reserving the marshmallows. Add together, let sit for an hour before straining through a coffee filter.

Top your boozy Hot Chocolate with magical marshmallows!

Hot & Stormy

I tweaked a classic Dark & Stormy (dark rum and ginger beer) to make a warm, flu-fighter of a drink. This is a perfect nitecap, but also great for a mellow hangout. Herbal, refreshing and spicy.

1 herbal ginger tea bag

1 oz gin

1 lemon wheel

1 tbsp buckwheat honey

1 slice ginger

Muddle lemon and ginger with your honey spoon, toss in a tea bag and top with hot water.

Mulled Wine

A cold weather classic … the smell of mulled wine alone can transport you to European Christmas markets (Glühwein anyone?). It’s also a great way to use up wine that’s been open on the counter for a few days.

 

Think of this as something of a winter sangria: warming baking spices, citrus, and red wine come together in this easy-to-make drink. This can be scaled up or down with ease and is a great way to use up wine that’s been open on the counter for a few days.

3 cups red wine

1 cup sweet red vermouth

½ cup dark rum *optional, but delicious

¼ cup maple syrup

1 lemon, sliced

1 cinnamon stick

3 star anise

1 cardamom pod

Put all in a pot and bring to a low simmer. Let spices steep for 10 minutes before removing. Leave on the stove at a warming temperature, throw in a ladle and leave some mugs to the side.