‘Tis the Season for Hot Toddies

Mulled wine

I’m a West Coast lady by birth (Pasadena, CA to be exact.)  And while I’ve been living on the East Coast for over 10 years, I still marvel at the snap of wind and flurries that seem to materialize from out of nowhere during the winter months.

Most people accustomed to marked seasonal shifts say that the holidays would not feel the same without a little nip in the air.  And while I would be perfectly content with a tropical Yuletide, there is something about coming in from the cold and greeting friends by a toasty fire that makes one feel particularly merry and bright.  Especially if the friends in question hand me a big ol’ glass of mulled wine.  Step aside Pumpkin Spice Latte…

Besides snow, hot spiked beverages may have been one of the most magical things I experienced when I switched over to the other side.  So many delicious recipes come to mind, that it seems like a crime not to share some of my favorites here with you.  They will warm you up in a jiff, no matter what coast you call home.  Suggestion: Drink while playing song 15 from Yes Totally’s Holiday Party playlist on repeat.  Enjoy!

Mulled Wine

Serves 12

2 btls red wine (light-bodied, such as pinot noir, gamay, or cabernet franc)
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
3 black peppercorns (crushed)
2 cardamom pods (crushed)
1 cinnamon stick (3-inch, crushed)
1 clove (crushed)
1 star anise

Directions: Place the red wine, sugar, and orange and lemon zests into a large saucepan. Tuck the crushed spices into a tea ball or a small square of cheese cloth and add it to the saucepan. Bring the wine to a very gentle simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat, remove the tea ball from the pan. Ladle the spiced wine into heatproof glasses and serve at once.  Note: Will keep overnight at room temperature.

Recipe from Leite’s Culinaria


Apple Cider

Spiked Apple Cider

Serves 12

4 whole cinnamon sticks
1/8 tsp ground cloves
8 whole allspice berries
1 orange peel
1 lemon peel
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 cups apple juice (unfiltered fresh squeezed is great)
1/2 cup dark rum
Directions: Place cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, allspice berries, orange peel, and lemon peel in a medium saucepan. Pour in maple syrup and apple juice, then bring to almost a boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in rum and serve in mugs.
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
Coconut Chai Hot Toddy
1 serving
4 ozs water
2 ozs light coconut milk
2 tbsps light brown sugar
1 tea bag (chai spice)
2 ozs spiced rum
Directions: Combine water, coconut milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add tea bag, cover, and let steep for five minutes.  Add rum to a mug, and pour coconut chai over rum once it has finished steeping.
Recipe from Food52
Citrus-Honey Hot Toddy
Serves 2
3 tbsps honey
1 cup hot water
1 orange
1 lemon
1/3 cup bourbon
2 lemon (wedges)
2 cinnamon sticks
Directions: Stir honey, water, lemon and orange juice in a small pitcher until honey dissolves. Add bourbon and divide between 2 mugs. Garnish each with a lemon wedge.
Recipe from Camille Styles
Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee
Serves 4
8 tsps sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup whiskey
2 cups coffee (hot brewed, or as needed)
1/2 cup heavy cream (lightly beaten to form soft peaks)

Directions: Place 2 tsp. sugar in each of 4 mugs. Add 2 Tbs. whiskey to each mug, then fill with coffee. Hold a spoon, rounded side up, over each mug and slowly pour the cream over the spoon, floating it on top of the coffee.

Recipe from Williams-Sonoma


Tequila Mint Hot Chocolate

Serves 4

1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
3 cups milk
4 ozs milk chocolate chips
4 ozs chocolate chips (bittersweet)
4 ozs tequila
2 ozs peppermint schnapps
1 leaf whipped cream (mint leaf garnish)

Directions: In medium saucepan, stir cocoa with sugar and salt. Stir in milk, milk chocolate, and bittersweet chocolate. Heat over medium heat until, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot. Gently whisk to completely homogenize mixture.  Add tequila and peppermint schnapps. Divide into serving cups and top with whipped cream and mint.

Recipe from Serious Eats


Photo of mulled wine courtesy of Briukva via Flickr

Apple cider and biscuits photo courtesy of Mgordon via Flickr

Irish coffee photo courtesy of Dfeder530 via Flickr

Wendy Cortez

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