Get Toasty!

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Warm up your spirits with hot cocktails

nol-dec07_medres_page_48_image_0003.jpgWhen I sat down to write about hot cocktails, it was the farthest thing from my mind, being that it was about 87 degrees outside on a rather warm and balmy November day in New Orleans. Unlike much of the country that anticipates, be it favorably or not, blustery-cold winter days, here we just never know when or if those days will come. But, being the loyal libation lovers that we are, we forge ahead, with or without snow, sleet, ice or frost nipping at our noses, and find a way to enjoy a steaming spirited beverage, even if it entails blotting our brow after each and every sip.

For me, Hot Toddys evoke feelings of good tidings and holiday cheer, despite the fact that I only occasionally imbibe in them myself. I have a crystal-clear image in my head of best friends and beloved family members, proudly and perfectly adorned in classic holiday plaid or red velvet attire and gathered around a crackling fire (most likely roasting chestnuts and singing “A White Christmas,” in perfect harmony, of course), as they gingerly sip Hot Buttered Rum and Irish Coffee. I have never personally experienced such an idyllic scene, nor do I even know that it exists, but the mere thought of it causes an undeniable comfy, cozy nostalgic Norman Rockwell-like feeling, along with a profound yearning for mulled wine or Calvados cider. In fact, I think I’ll crank up the a/c, throw on a cashmere sweater and stir up a stiff one right now!

The Hot Toddy originated in Scotland, and although there are many variations today, the three essential elements include a spirit (most often brandy, whisky or rum), hot liquid (tea, coffee or cocoa) and a sweetener (honey or sugar). Other common ingredients added for an extra burst of flavor include spices, such as cloves or cinnamon, butter or citrus, such as lemon or orange. The classic Hot Toddy calls for honey, hot tea, brandy and lemon. Whipped cream is commonly found floating atop many hot drinks, as it is visually appealing and adds a touch of richness.

While simply adding a dash of your favorite liqueur, such as Kahlua, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Frangelico, Amaretto or Grand Marnier, into a freshly brewed cup of coffee or hot chocolate is a tasty and easy way to create a steaming spirited sensation, mixologists have created Hot Toddys of all sorts including many that can be enjoyed at local restaurants and bars. Having recently attended the Celebration in the Oaks preview party, I stumbled upon a bar serving hot apple cider that had been kicked up by stirring in a healthy dose of vodka. What a delicious—not to mention potent—concoction it turned out to be, so much so that I went back for seconds! So whether you’re decking the halls, going a-wassailing or just need to take the chill off, a steamy spirited libation is just one jigger away. Cheers!

House of Kahlua
KAHLUA HOT CHOCOLATE
1 part Kahlua
5 parts Hot Chocolate
1 tbsp. whipped cream

Pour hot chocolate drink (made with milk or water) into the Kahlua in a glass or mug. Top with whipped cream and serve.

Zoë Lounge at the W Hotel
PIRATE’S COFFEE
1 oz. New Orleans Rum
Fresh brewed coffee

Add rum to coffee and serve with a miniature pastry.

Windsor Court Hotel
SPIRITED HOT APPLE CIDER
6 cups apple cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
Peel of one orange
Peel of whole lemon

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until hot for 5 to 10 minutes. Do not boil. Strain and add 1/2 cup Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and 1/4 cup Calvados (apple brandy).

Café Giovanni
NEW ORLEANS HOT CHOCOLATE
1 oz. Stiletto Mint Vodka
1 oz. New Orleans Spiced Rum
3/4 oz. Frangelico
3/4 oz. Dark Crème de Cocoa

Add ingredients to prepared hot chocolate, top with whipped cream and garnish with a mint leaf.