Smack dab in the middle of winter it is always nice to have a hot toddy and pour a little warm comfort into your chilled body. Below are some of my favorite hot cocktail recipes. Believe it or not, even those of us in the desert Southwest need to heat up our frozen spirits at this time of year.
Don't limit yourself to drinks that call themselves toddies either, because many cold cocktails can easily be served warm. I have often served my Lemon Drop Martini hot in winter, and many Sangrias (like this Fresh Berry Sangria), and wine punches can also be served heated for a warming hot cocktail. I've also been known to heat up several of my Bloody Marys and serve those as hot soups and toddies.
A timeless highball classic, the Screwdriver is a drink that, like many of our cocktails, has a murky, debatable history. Most stories range back to the early 20th century with mentions of Turkish intelligence agents and engineers in clandestine bar meetings, World War II soldiers adding vodka to their reconstituted o.j., and even oil workers in the Persian Gulf mixing their vodka into their juice with a screwdriver because they lacked another convenient stir tool.
Personally, I think it was invented by a overworked, under appreciated, bored and hungover mid-twentieth century housewife who spied a nearly empty bottle of vodka on the kitchen counter the morning after she and her hubby had thrown a cocktail party. "Waste not, want not" and that dribble of vodka went into her morning o.j. before the bottle went into the trash can. From that point on a little vodka in the juice was as accepted an accessory to her breakfast as her pearl choker was to her shirtdress.
The I.B.A recipe calls for 10 parts orange juice to 5 parts vodka. I like my Screwdriver a little less like diesel fuel and fresh juice is a must.
This cocktail was inspired by leftovers from a Mexican dinner. I had homemade pico de gallo and after sitting for a day I noticed there was quite a bit of juice from the tomatoes and cucumbers in the bottom of the pico de gallo container. I suddenly wondered how that would taste as the mixer for a cocktail and, boom, this gazpacho martini was born.
2 Oz. Tomato Vodka
1 Oz. Pico de Gallo "Juice"*
1/2 Oz. Fresh Lime Juice
5 Drops Chohula Lime Hot Sauce
* Make some homemade Pico de Gallo. After it sits for several hours or overnight there will be some lovely juices you can strain out. How much juice will determine how many cocktails you can make.
Chill your glass.
Add the tomato vodka, pico de gallo juice and lime juice to an ice filled cocktail shaker, shake until chilled then strain into your chilled glass.
Garnish with a sprig of cilantro and a lime slice then enjoy.
I have a very close friend who is madly in love with Baby Groot, the miniature but growing incarnation of Groot from Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy series. She collects anything Baby Groot and, for fun, is placing hers in a variety of locales and scenarios.
I decided she needed a special cocktail for those moments.
Merry Christmas, Melodieann! (Don't worry, you will get a package too 😘.)
1 Oz. Seagram's Whiskey
1/2 Oz. Dark Crème de Cacao
1/2 Oz. White Crème de Menthe
3 Oz. Warm Cocoa
Garnish: Dollop of whipped cream, drizzle of Green Crème de Menthe, chocolate sprinkles, mint leaves
Glass: Old Fashioned (Rocks)
Add the Whiskey, Dark Crème de Cacao, White Crème de Menthe to your old fashioned glass.
Pour in the warm cocoa.
Spoon on a large dollop of whipped cream.
Drizzle with some Green Crème de Menthe.
Top off with a few mint leaves and some chocolate sprinkles.
Yes, I know, I have a bunch of Pumpkin Cocktails already but I didn't have one that included bubbly. Plus I have a couple of bottles of Homemade Pumpkin Liqueur to play with again this year so, fizzy pumpkin cocktails here I come.
Garnish: Pumpkin Pie Spice and Sugar, Toasted Marshmallow
Glass: Champagne Flute
Chill your glass in the freezer, then pour in the spiced pumpkin liqueur and top off with the sparking wine of your choice. I prefer a brut Champagne, but the others are nice too and bring their own flavor profile to this cocktail. Stir gently, dust with a little of the pumpkin pie spice and sugar then add a toasted marshmallow.
The fruit most associated with Thanksgiving and the holidays is probably cranberries and it's also the time of year where it's easy to get them fresh so it follows that it's also a great time of year for cranberry cocktails. Add a little Jack Daniels, some lemon and sugar and you're ready to (pardon me for this) a-go-go.