Skip to comments.Hot Toddies, Spiked Cocoa the Perfect Way to Defrost
Posted on 02/01/2009 7:39:17 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
My favorite part of winter has always been coming in from the cold, pulling on thick socks, wrapping up in a fleece blanket, and settling in with a book, a cat and a mug of something warm.
Hot drinks, especially those with liquor, warm us to the very core. If there's an upside to the wicked chill we've been enduring lately, it's these: piping hot cocoa, spiked with ancho chilies and sweet, dark Godiva; hot buttered rum topped with freshly grated nutmeg; and sweet-tart apple cider seasoned with allspice, cinnamon and cloves.
Since this chill seems determined to stick around, I've spent some time scanning my cookbooks and the Internet for recipes for these warming libations. I decided to start with the hot toddy, a simple classic.
The toddy, many insist, is meant to be medicinal. The combination of liquor, honey, lemon, cloves and hot water does sound like it would do the trick for a cold, especially the soothing honey and the vitamin C lurking in the lemon. (It's much better than an alcoholic cough drop, which is what it sounds like.)
My sister-in-law and I tried two variations on the toddy -- one with whiskey (which is apparently the "authentic" Irish way to make it) and brown sugar, the other with brandy and honey. Medicinal or not, they were both delicious, though I preferred the brandy version for its appealing scent.
A few suggestions when making a hot toddy: slice the lemon thick, so the studded cloves will stay put; and drink it rather quickly. A lukewarm toddy is not very tasty. I recommend using whatever liquor you have on hand (what good is authenticity if you don't like it?) and sweetening it to your own taste. I love lemon, so I gave the slice a little squeeze before I dropped it in. Yum.
The hot toddy is very adaptable. On a recent visit to the Essen Haus, my friend, bartender/graduate student Liz Foster-Shaner invented what we call the "Apple Baron." Inspired by a recipe for an apple brandy hot toddy, Liz combined half a jigger each of Brenjger, a German honey liqueur, and Apple Schnapps (Schnauer Apfel) with a half ounce of German brandy, Asbach Uralt.
Then Foster-Shaner poured hot water to the top of a 10 oz. glass and stuck in half a lemon slice and a cinnamon stick. The resulting drink was warm, sweet and potent, perfect for a chilly night. Ask your friendly dirndl-clad bartender to cut back on the honey liqueur and add a bit more brandy if you don't have much of a sweet tooth.
Hot buttered rum involves the same principal: liquor, sweetened and spiced, with hot water to warm it up and dilute its bite. A recipe I found on Chow.com adds allspice, cloves, nutmeg and a bit of butter to the concoction. It recommended combining the spices and sugar, adding the boiling water, then letting it sit for five minutes before adding the rum and topping it with a pat of butter.
I used my husband's favorite dark rum, Zaya, but Myers's, Gosling or even dark Bacardi would probably work just as well. This is a situation when the quality of the rum makes a difference: when I tried using much cheaper Mr. Boston's, generally destined for rum and Coke, the taste was strikingly different and more than a little unpleasant.
You can use that bottle of good dark rum in another delicious libation: rum-spiced cider. It's getting late in the season, but I found a quart of fresh apple cider not long ago at the Willy Street Co-Op ($3.55 for a half gallon) and I believe they still have it at Woodman's and Jenifer Street Market. Trader Joe's (and probably other groceries) has the shelf-stable kind, which works in a pinch.
When I warmed up a batch of cider over the holidays, Michael McLaughlin's recipe with cloves, allspice, cinnamon and sugar was an instant family hit. It had a little bit of everything -- spices, sweetness and warmth, all underpinned by smooth, dark rum. The bit of butter on top added a luxurious richness; don't skip it.
Speaking of luxurious, one of my favorite Christmas gifts was a bag of excellent Gail Ambrosius hot chocolate, made from 65 percent dark Columbian chocolate. I didn't want to cover up the fruity, nuanced flavor, so I made my chocolate (not cocoa, which involves powder) the European way, melting it with water, then adding an equal amount of whole milk.
In her chocolate bible "Bittersweet," Alice Medrich says this is the best way to showcase very good dark chocolate, not using sugar and cream to cover it up. You can easily re-create the recipe using a bar of good dark chocolate, like Green & Black's, Dagoba or Valrhona .
The best part is that dark chocolate isn't too sweet, so a jigger (1 ounces) of dark Godiva liqueur is a welcome addition. Also delicious: adding a pinch of ancho chili powder to give it a little heat, imitating Mexican hot chocolate. Or add vanilla (bean, extract or even flavored vodka), almond or cinnamon.
Finally, what paean to warming beverages would be complete without a mention of that bar classic, Irish coffee? I'd had this one before, at the Orpheum (where it's generally too strong for my taste), several versions at Brocach and at the Buena Vista in San Francisco, the drink's U.S. birthplace.
At home, I re-created it with a French press and Alterra's Blue Heeler, a popular Sumatra-based blend roasted in Milwaukee (available locally at Barriques and Jenifer Street Market). I used dark brown sugar and Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, a single malt scotch, which added a pleasantly soft edge to the drink.
With Irish coffee, part of the fun is the number of possible variations: amaretto for an Italian coffee, dark rum for a Jamaican coffee, Kahla for a Mexican coffee.
In fact, with all of these drinks, there really are no rules. So long as it's warm, satisfying and simple to make at the end of a long day, the possibilities are endless. Personally, I plan to experiment until Prosecco season (also known as spring).
1 ounce brandy or whiskey 1 ounce honey lemon slice, studded with 2 cloves Cinnamon stick (optional)
Combine the brandy, honey and lemon slice in a mug; add hot water to fill. Stir with a cinnamon stick. Makes one drink. -- from Chow.com (www.chow.com/recipes/10212)
Apple Baron 3/4 ounce Barenjager (German honey liqueur) 3/4 ounce Schonauer Apfel (Apple Schnapps) 1/2 ounce Asbach Uralt (German brandy) Half a lemon slice Cinnamon stick (optional)
Combine the liqueur, Schnapps and brandy in a 10 ounce mug. Add hot water to fill. Add a lemon; stir with a cinnamon stick. -- Created by Liz Foster-Shaner, The Essen Haus
Hot Buttered Rum 2 whole cloves 2 whole allspice berries 1 cinnamon stick 1 teaspoon brown sugar 2 ounces dark rum (such as Myers's) 1 teaspoon sweet unsalted butter Grated nutmeg
Combine cloves, allspice, cinnamon stick and sugar in a mug. Add boiling water to fill. Let stand for five minutes. Add the rum and butter, and dust with nutmeg. Makes one drink. -- from Chow.com (http://www.chow.com/recipes/10213)
Rum-Spiced Cider 1 quart apple cider, preferably fresh and unfiltered 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar 1 small cinnamon stick 6 whole cloves 6 allspice berries 1 cup dark rum 2 tablespoons sweet unsalted butter, sliced into thin pats 4 long cinnamon sticks, for garnish
In a saucepan, combine the cider, brown sugar, small cinnamon stick, cloves and allspice. Heat on medium-low, partially cover, and slowly bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally and skimming any scum that forms on the surface.
Meanwhile, divide the rum among four large mugs. Drop a pat of butter and a cinnamon stick into each mug if desired. Strain the cider into the mugs and serve immediately. Serves four. -- adapted from "Cooking for the Weekend" by Michael McLaughlin www.wchstv.com/gmarecipes/rumspicedcider.html
Spiced Hot Chocolate 1 ounce bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (high quality) 4 ounces boiling water 4 ounces milk 1 1/2 ounces Godiva liqueur (or other flavored liqueur) Pinch of ancho chili powder
Place chocolate in saucepan. Pour about half of the boiling water over the chocolate, and stir until it is melted and smooth. Stir in the rest of the boiling water and milk. Heat over medium heat, whisking continuously, until hot but nowhere near boiling (never higher than 180 degrees). Measure liqueur into mug or glass; pour warmed chocolate mix over. Serve immediately, or set aside and reheat before serving. Makes one drink. -- adapted from "Bittersweet" by Alice Medrich (Artisan, 2003)
Irish Coffee 4 ounces freshly brewed coffee 1 1/2 ounces Irish whiskey 1 teaspoon brown sugar Dollop of freshly whipped cream Combine the coffee, whiskey, and sugar in a hot coffee mug. Float whipped cream on top. Makes one drink.
Note from Chow.com: The best Irish coffee should be treated no differently than the naked brew. Use high-quality, freshly ground and brewed beans, and always whip your heavy cream without sugar right before serving.
Variations: Italian coffee: Substitute amaretto for the whiskey Jamaican coffee: Substitute dark rum for the whiskey Mexican coffee: Substitute Kahlua for the whiskey -- from Chow.com (http://www.chow.com/recipes/10219)
Foodie & Adult Beverage Ping!
Hot Toddie Ping!
I like the idea of the ancho chili with chocolate.
its a classic pairing
I always add a little powdered Chipotle to mine.
Have you ever had Hot Pepper in a piece of chocolate? Yummy! :) (I think Lindt makes it.)
Yes I have. Yummy!
I get these mexican popsicles that are mango con chile.
They are AWESOME!
I just take my percolator and put 60% Apple Cider and 40% Red Wine. Then I put cinnamon sticks and cloves up in the basket. Sometimes I put a little sugar in as well.
I have discovered that an easy Irish Coffee can be made with a jigger of Carolan’s Irish Cream added to a cup of fresh-brewed coffee. Yummy.
That sounds wonderful! Like a lighter mulled wine. :)
This stuff is great.
Try making fudge with it sometime. It is killer. By the way and for the ladies, hot chocolate with a shot of DeKiper Buttershots.
OH YA! or Bailys.
Any more wine than the 40% is to bitter.
Chocolate-Covered Potato Chips dunked in Salsa! :)