In colder temperatures, there is something comforting about coddling a warm mug of tea or coffee; the way the steam rises up and curls into your nostrils, the heat from the ceramic radiates into your hands, and the soothing sensation as warm liquid coats your throat. It’s time to elevate your drink from the comfort of the couch to the pulsing vibe of bar. From hot toddys to boozy ciders, here are five warm cocktails to tipple this holiday season.
Ever since Toki Sears has been at the head of Southern Art’s bar, their bourbon infusions have spun into a spiral of creativity. Her version of a hot toddy, the “Peppermint Toddy” instills one of Bourbon Bar’s exclusive private label bourbons with peppermint herbal tea, honey and lemon juice. A cinnamon stick garnish adds another layer to this refreshing, sweet beverage. Both peppermint and lemon aid in digestion, making this an appropriate post-dinner drink.
Behind the bar, Ronnie LeClair is giving your coffee an extra pick-me-up. “The Thin Man” with Palucci amaretto, tempus bitters, Four Roses Yellow Label, coffee, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings trumps any of your morning coffee concoctions. Amaretto’s nutty flavors of almonds dance with the subtly of apricots coated in chocolate. You’ll find the cocktail has similar taste to the light, fruity notes of an Ethiopian coffee.
Stuart White, formerly a mixologist at Miller Union, is at the helm of LUSCA’s beverage program and is the restaurant’s general manager. He has recently released their winter cocktail menu, and the “Home for the Holidays” mulled cider is the star. Apples from Elijay are steeped in cloves, allspice, cinnamon, anise, maple syrup and lemon peel, then mulled with butter and Dorado rum. Each sip of this golden brown tincture tastes of earthy spices with a hint of licorice.
You can expect Paul Calvert to come up with his own twists on cocktails classics. In addition to both his scotch and rum versions of a hot toddy, the “Hot Amaretto” is his version of a warming Amaretto sour. The nuttiness of Amaretto and El Dorado 12-year old rum get a sour squeeze of fresh lemon juice. A long swath of orange peel lends to a citrus scent.
Combine Mexican hot chocolate and the French après ski resort drink of choice, and that’s how beverage director Chris McNeill created the “Spiced and Spiked Hot Chocolate.” An awakening blend of 70 percent bittersweet chocolate, allspice, cayenne powder, Guajillo chili and vanilla get a spike of green chartreuse for this herbaceous, tongue-tingling hot chocolate.
The rooftop of this Buckhead bar ushers in colder temperatures, although when you’re high in the sky, order the warming tea-infused brew “Lauren in the Winter.” The blend of Hennessy Cognac VSOP, Teatulia Organic Tea, and honey is smooth and supple for a late evening drink. These three simple ingredients offer a bright vanilla finish that lingers on the palate.