Cozy Cocktails

Cozy Cocktails

Bartenders, Sommeliers, And Mixologists Share Their Favorite Hot Drinks

During the coldest time of the year, mixologists are pulling out all the stops, crafting inventive warm cocktails and brand-new versions of the classics.

Linden Pride, owner of Dante, the circa-1915 New York City watering hole awarded the World’s Best Bar title in 2019, says he’s been receiving requests for heated cocktails for months, probably due to the surge in outdoor dining. “We took it a step further by dedicating a full menu to warm drinks,” he says.

The star of Dante’s hot-cocktail lineup is the bar’s signature “Blue Blazer”—a mix of Macallan 15 Double Cask, lemon curd, citrus peel, and Sauternes, the legendary sweet white wine from Bordeaux. Pride says the 19th-century flaming whiskey drink is tossed between two steins tableside, with the flames creating the heat: “It makes for a really beautiful hot cocktail.” A steamy cup of tea can be an excellent base for a warm alcoholic drink. The “Gin Reaper”—from the folks at Black Button Distilling in Rochester, N.Y.—consists of Black Button Distilling Citrus Forward Gin and triple syrup (equal parts honey syrup, agave syrup, and simple syrup) stirred with hot tea, then garnished with an orange wheel. The distillery’s “Current Cream” is fashioned from a combo of the brand’s own “Bespoke Bourbon Cream” and topped with hot black-currant tea.

The original spicy agave tequila, Tanteo Tequila, came up with an innovative (and smoky) version of a margarita. Combine the brand’s chipotle tequila—made with fresh, hand-selected peppers in the hills of Jalisco, Mexico—with hot apple cider, fresh orange and lemon juices, and light agave nectar. Stir before pouring into a toddy glass, then sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

At Manetta’s Bar in London’s Mayfair district, barkeepers serve Manetta’s Wassail, a medley of Remy Martin VSOP and apple juice cooked with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise, vanilla bean, and fresh ginger. Meanwhile, a skip away at Connaught Bar—awarded the number one spot for The World’s 50 Best Bars 2020—celebrated mixologist Agostino Perrone stirs up the Dandelion Cocktail, a warm concoction of Armagnac-infused dandelion root, cashew milk, and date syrup.

The hot holiday punch from Fresh Victor in San Francisco
The hot holiday punch from Fresh Victor in San Francisco.

Seemingly, the warm-drink movement has hit the West Coast of the U.S. too. H. Joseph Ehrmann, co-founder of the landmark bar Elixir in San Francisco and chief mixology officer of Fresh Victor, recommends mingling Fresh Victor Cactus Pear & Pomegranate, an American whiskey of choice, and St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram to make a hot whiskey punch. He says to warm the ingredients on the stovetop and store the punch in a thermos. Pour the drink into a hot-liquid glass, and for a finishing touch, add a wide lemon twist or float a few allspice berries.

For an alternative to mulled wine, Mark Oberle, a sommelier and the owner of Meadiocrity Mead in San Diego, suggests Glühmet—a mulled mead (honey alcohol) simmered with fruits and spices. Try mixing the brew with dark rum or even a shot of a liqueur such as Disaronno or Grand Marnier.

And for a unique interpretation of a hot toddy, head south. Seven Three Distilling Co. pairs the brand’s Black Pearl Silver Rum (distilled from Louisiana sugar cane) with Big Easy Mango Tepache (a fermented pineapple drink). “Though it never gets too cold in New Orleans, we’re seeing a surge of modern takes on hot toddies, but with a tropical twist,” says Salvador Bivalacqua, co-founder and spirits expert.

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