Hot drinks don’t get a whole lot of play in Texas. But every year there are at least a few decidedly wintery weeks when nothing gets the job done like a warm glass of comfort. These are some classic hot sippers for cold nights, and although recipes are provided, think of them more as guidelines. With hot drinks, if you use these formulas as your base, you have a lot of room to experiment as much as your creativity will allow. Whether you’re unwinding from a hard day’s work or sitting around a roaring fire with friends, these beverages (and their endless variations) are guaranteed to hit the spot.
Hot toddy–toddies are one of the simplest and oldest categories of hot drinks. In many households, the hot toddy is a go-to remedy for wintertime ailments, though its supposed medicinal properties are beyond the purview of this column. The most basic toddy consists of hot water and spirit, sweetened slightly and garnished with a lemon peel or a squeeze of lemon juice. However, the formula is wide- open for experimentation. You can choose from any number of base spirits, as long as you look towards aged spirits such as whiskies or rums. You could even use cognac, applejack or añejo tequila if you like. For the hot liquid, water is traditional, but you could take the drink in a different direction with a hot tea or tisane. Traditionally, a toddy is sweetened with honey, but you could experiment with any type of syrup or cordial here; spices are often used to season a toddy.
2 oz aged rum, whiskey, scotch or brandy 4 oz hot water (or for a fuller-bodied beverage, use hot cider or tea) .5 oz honey or raw sugar syrup Cloves, allspice berries, and/or cinnamon sticks, optional Lemon peel, garnish Combine ingredients in a tempered glass or mug and garnish with a lemon peel.
Hot Buttered Rum
This cold-weather classic has been around since at least the 1860s. It is a hot toddy modified with an unusual garnish, a pat of butter. For a special treat, make brown butter or a spiced compound butter. As with the toddy, this drink benefits from being seasoned with baking spices like cinnamon, clove, or allspice.
2 oz Dark or Spiced Rum, or a combination of rums
4 oz hot water (or for a fuller-bodied beverage, use hot cider or tea) Spoonful sugar, optional
Pat of butter for garnish
Combine rum and hot water or tea in a mug. Sweeten with a spoonful of sugar if that suits your palate. Garnish with a pat of butter.
Chartreuse Hot Chocolate
This alpine delight is known as a classic après ski tipple. While central Texas may be short on ski destinations, this is still a perfect way to take the chill off after a day of outdoor activity.
2 oz Chartreuse 6 oz hot chocolate
2 oz heavy cream, slightly thickened Chocolate for grating
Prepare hot chocolate by heating milk or half-and- half on the stove. Stir in cocoa powder or chocolate chunks until the desired flavor is achieved; sweeten if necessary. Pour Chartreuse into a tempered glass
(One that can handle hot beverages) or mug. Add hot chocolate. Top with approximately 2 oz unsweetened, slightly thickened heavy cream. (Thicken cream by beating lightly with a whisk until the cream is spoon- able but not quite whipped.) Garnish with chocolate shavings.
One of the most delicious cold weather drinks, Irish coffee is also one of the most misunderstood. The original formula is quite simple: hot coffee, sweetened with sugar and spiked with whiskey, and topped with slightly thickened cream. The result is a delicious contrast of flavors, textures, and temperatures. All too of- ten, the drink is made with ingredients that don’t belong–such as Irish cream or crème de men- the–or served improperly with aerosol-charged whipped cream.
1 1⁄2 oz Irish whiskey 1 oz raw sugar syrup 4 oz hot black coffee 2 oz unsweetened heavy cream, slightly thickened Combine whiskey, sugar syrup, and coffee in a stemmed tulip or small wine glass. Float the thickened cream on top of the hot liquid.