Warming Up to Winter

Five TGIFs to warm your hands, heart & cheeks

Here’s the thing with mulled wines and ciders: Not only do they taste delicious and give you a wholesome-feeling buzz (it’s something about the spices), but they leave your apartment smelling awesome all weekend long. So here’s to big batches of booze this winter and all the good times that come with ’em! Below are some of our favorite winter cocktails plus one game-changing hot chocolate for you to try this weekend and all the others! #TGIF!

Mulled Wine via Hemsley & Hemsley

1 bottle of red wine
2 star anise
5 cardamom cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1 large cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
1½ tablespoons maple syrup or 3-5 drops of liquid stevia
2 thick slices of a medium orange including the peel
2 inch piece of ginger, roughly chopped

Put everything, except the red wine and star anise, into a medium saucepan with a cup of water (more water if your pan is big). Bring to the boil and let it simmer away on a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until the water has nearly evaporated. Add the wine and the star anise, reduce the heat and let it all warm through for 5 minutes.
Strain (if you like), decorate with fresh cranberries and serve.

Apple Cider Hot Toddy via Cookie and Kate

This cider-sweetened cocktail is light and warming, perfect for the holidays. The quality of ingredients goes a long way here, so be sure to use real, unfiltered apple cider (it should be murky). Locally produced cider tends to be fresher and contain fewer (if any) additives. Spiced cider is good, too.

1 green tea or black tea bag
1 1/2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon
1 ounce real apple cider
1/2 small lemon
Garnishes: thin, round slices of lemon, a cinnamon stick, and star anise

Heat water to the boiling point and pour over the tea bag in a mug. Leave about an inch of room in your mug for the whiskey and cider. Let the tea steep for a few minutes, then discard the bag so the tea doesn’t get bitter. Pour in the whiskey or bourbon and a hefty splash of apple cider. Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and garnish with lemon slices, a cinnamon stick and a star anise.

Apple Cinnamon Rum via Martha Stewart

1 1/2 ounces organic rum
3 ounces organic unfiltered apple juice, chilled
3/4 ounce Laird’s Applejack
dash of ground cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick
Fill a lowball cocktail glass with ice.

Pour in rum, apple juice, and applejack. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

The S’Meach via The Kitchy Kitchen

2 yellow peach slices
1 marshmallow
1 tsp brown sugar
3 dashes chocolate bitters
1 oz vanilla infused dark rum
1 oz mezcal

To make the vanilla infused dark rum, take one vanilla bean and split it down the center. Scrape out the seeds and put them in a 8 oz jar. Add the scraped bean pods and fill the jar up with dark rum, then close the lid. Let it infuse for at least a couple days, even a week.

Heavily toast the marshmallow on a short stick. In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle together the peach slices, sugar, and bitters. Add the rum, mescal, and ice. Shake for 15-20 seconds, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the toasted marshmallow.

Crockpot Coconut Hot Chocolate via How Sweet Eats

4 (13 oz) cans full-fat coconut milk
2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut
Frosting to rim the mugs
Whipped cream or
Coconut whipped cream for topping
Marshmallows for topping

Add coconut milk, condensed milk and extracts to your crock pot, whisking to combine. Stir in salt, cocoa powder and chocolate, whisking again. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir and whisk every 15 minutes or so, making sure the chocolate melts nicely and is thoroughly distributed throughout the mixture. Before serving, add coconut to a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Toast for 5-6 minutes until golden. Let cool, then add to a paper or ziplock bag and crush with you hands under small flakes remain.

To serve, rim the edges of a mug with some frosting or glaze or something sticky, then dip the rims in the toasted coconut flakes. pressing gently to adhere. Pour hot chocolate in the mugs and garnish with whipped cream and marshmallows.

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on. Stay tuned for recipes, tips, and tricks! More Happy Hour recipes here. E-mail us, we’re here! Pippa@sousstyle.com and gillian@sousstyle.com.

Image taken from The Hemsleys Get Patriotic