Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Still Cold Outside, Enjoy Something Warm

Spring officially starts on March 20th, but here in New York City, we're still experiencing some chilly weather. Though we've gone on sipping many of our go-to libations - ice and all - through this unseasonably warm winter, it's time to squeeze in a few more winter beverages before the season changes.

This boils down to one simple, delicious equation: base drink + heat + delicious wintriness = a drink you'll put up with hail, sleet, snow, and those puffy sleeping bag jackets just to get at. Yes, we've already covered the Hot Toddy, but this is just the tip of the (warm, melting) iceberg. Take this as a mixology homework list to complete before Spring has sprung. 

Hot Buttered Rum
This is one of the most gloriously unhealthy cocktails in the common mixology cannon we come back to again and again (no, we're not counting a glass of bacon grease with a shot of whiskey as a cocktail). "Buttered" isn’t figurative here - one of the primary ingredients is full-blown dairy fat that's melted, spiced, and served up piping hot. Enjoy alongside a slab of pork belly to show your arteries who's boss.

1 tsp. butter (we recommend salted, though some would argue otherwise. Go with your palate.)
2 tsp. brown sugar (you could probably substitute maple syrup here)
5 oz. boiling water
2 oz. rum (gold or dark being preferable)
Grated nutmeg

Put the butter and sugar into your mug. Add the hot water and stir. You're almost done! Add the rum, and put a little sprinkle of nutmeg on top. Sip happy.

Non-Holiday-Beholden Mulled Wine
Mulled wine, or Glühwein, might seem most suited to the weeks leading up to the holidays. But with pine needle injuries and seasonal family feuding now a distant memory, mulled wine is still absolutely delicious and totally seasonally appropriate. And while you're at it, get a little more mileage out of that decked-out reindeer sweatshirt - those beads, sequins and blinking LED lights will blind onlookers just as much now as back in December.

Glühwein roughly translates to Glow wine, which in our estimation, is roughly what you'll feel like after a cup of it.

3/4 cup water
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange
10 whole cloves
1 bottle of red wine (750ml)

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
2. Cut the orange in half, and squeeze the juice into the simmering water. Push the cloves into the outside of the orange peel, and place peel in the simmering water. Continue simmering for 30 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
3. Pour in the wine, and heat until steaming but not simmering. Remove the clove-studded orange halves. Serve hot in mugs or glasses that have been preheated in warm water (cold glasses will break.)

Irish Coffee
This is a pretty straightforward one, but there are few things as surprisingly delicious as a nice cup of hot coffee with a splash of warming whiskey. Recommended: A medium-roast coffee like a nice Guatemalan Huehuetenango, ideally prepared in a French press. But, heck, in a pinch, grab a large from your local convenience store and go to town. 

1 cup of coffee
1.5 oz. Irish whiskey

In our estimation, optional:
1 tbsp. Brown sugar

A popular variation, of course, is Mexican coffee with tequila. Some less obvious, less recommended variations: Scandanavian coffee (with aquavit), Greek coffee (with ouzo), Belle Epoque Bohemian Coffee (with absinthe). Experiment at your own risk.

Safety tip: For all of the above recipes, make sure to pre-heat those mugs or glasses you’ll be serving in by running hot water over them first. Pouring a hot drink into a cold glass can result in a very unpleasant situation.

Happy mixing from DrinkUpNY!

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