The holidays are over, but the crappy weather is not. Take a bottle of something off your shelf and add it to whatever hot drink is in your hand.
That’s my proven method of making a cold weather drink. You can find tons of recipes for fancy wintry cocktails, but you’re not gonna find me donning a fedora and jumping behind my home bar. My Christmas tree’s a better candidate for that.
Sometimes, I like to tie up spices into a little cheesecloth to make mulled wine over the stove, and my family gets together every December to make our classic Dead Man’s Nog. But other times, I get lazy. This season, I’ve found the following combinations delightful:
- Hot chocolate + Rumchata
- Honey ginger tea + whiskey (like a hot toddy)
- Apple cider + rum or whiskey
I’d also love to try doing something with Russian tea sometime — the proper kind, not the kind with Tang.
If you want to go the fancy route and do mulled wine (it’s so much easier than you think), I’ve had success with this recipe:
- Pour a bottle of Toasted Head merlot into a saucepan. Two bottles if it’s more than four people.
- Put some mulled wine spices* into a cheesecloth; secure with rubber band. Toss into pot and cover with lid.
- Heat over low for 20 minutes.
- Discard cheesecloth satchel. Add some brown sugar. Taste. Add some more. Discard dignity.
- Pour into mugs.
*Mulled wine spices are usually cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and star anise. You can also add a stick of cinnamon to the pot. Be careful about adding too many cloves: They can make your mouth numb. I like to buy the pre-packaged mulled wine spices from Penzeys and pick out some of the excess cloves.
Eggnog is also way easier than most people think. If you can separate egg whites from the yokes, you can make eggnog. Ours is a not-so-secret family recipe, which goes back to the 80s when my grandfather got it from a friend. Before that, my uncle Joe the Chef whisked eggs over low heat for hours, literally. For some reason, no one wanted to continue the tradition.
Let me know what cold weather drinks you’ve been sipping on this season!