While winter feels different this year, a well-made cocktail can offer some seasonal cheer. And although many bars across the world remain closed during the pandemic, several hotel mixology experts have come to the rescue by sharing drinks that are easy to re-create at home.
From a classic milk punch to a local spin on mulled wine, these libations will keep you warm from the snow-filled holidays well into the gray days of March.
Mylk & Honey
“A seasonal holiday take on a classic holiday milk punch, this cocktail is inspired by a warm, comforting bowl of oatmeal on a cold high desert morning,” says Paul Terry, beverage supervisor of Enchantment Resort in Sedona. “The drink combines the flavor of winter spice, pear, desert blossom honey and walnut, in a creamy, luscious oat milk — making it dairy-free. We fold in more local flavor in the form of a crunchy, homemade mesquite graham cracker rim that’s dusted with Granny Smith apple powder. The drink is sweet, rich, comforting and has all the flavors of the holidays.”
1 ounce Grey Goose
1 ounce St. George Spiced Pear liqueur
3-4 dashes of Fee Brothers black walnut bitters
3 ounces Oat Mylk
1 ounce local honey syrup
Mesquite apple graham cracker mix*
Rim a snifter glass with mesquite apple graham cracker and set aside. Add all ingredients to the shaker and shake vigorously. Double strain into the snifter.
*To make mesquite apple graham cracker rim: add crushed mesquite graham cracker (you can substitute regular graham crackers), a pinch of ground cinnamon and dehydrated Granny Smith apple slices to a food processor or spice grinder, blending until homogeneous.
“This drink is inspired by the classic Irish coffee, utilizing both indigenous and international ingredients,” Terry says. “It uses Pendleton Whisky from Oregon, instead of Irish, and gets a dose of complexity from the green Chartreuse and cacao combination. The spiced cream is made with a mix of Mexican chocolate powder, cinnamon, maca root and chipotle powder. Maca root is a superfood indigenous to the mountains of Peru, and provides a soft, peanut-butter-like flavor. Like a traditional Irish coffee, the cream is whipped by hand with the spices. This provides contrasting layers of flavor and a cold, spiced barrier at the top of the drink before diving into the hot, sweet beverage below.”
1 oz rye whiskey
1/4 ounce green Chartreuse
1/2 ounce Tempus Fugit Crème de Cacao
4 ounces hot coffee
1 1/2 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 bar spoon Mexican hot chocolate mix*
Add cream and hot chocolate mix to a cocktail shaker without ice and whip until thick, about 25 seconds. Set aside and pour the remaining ingredients into a warmed glass. Carefully pour spiced whip cream over the back of a spoon to create a layer on top of the drink. Garnish with a dusting of the chocolate mix.
*To make Mexican hot chocolate mix (you also can substitute Abuelita powdered hot chocolate mix):
1 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup chipotle powder
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground maca powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pete’s Ultimate Classic Egg Nog
“I’m sure I’m not the first person to mix three different spirits into eggnog,” says Pete Stanton, head bartender at The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue’s Ai Fiori, “but that is what I do for optimal richness — Knob Creek bourbon for its spicy, bold vanilla flavors; Rémy Martin Tercet is extremely fruit-forward and also adds a floral brightness; and I finish with Appleton Estate 12 year that brings a rich brown sugar and baking spice notes. All three mesh well with the classic crème anglaise base spiced with whole vanilla bean, mace, clove and allspice. It’s a very popular drink come the holiday season. Our guests really love it because it is so traditional and comforting.”
4 egg yolks and 4 egg whites, separated
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon and nutmeg and stir to combine.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat to soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the mixture. Chill and serve.
Note: For cooked eggnog, follow these instructions:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Then return everything to the pot and cook until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl and set in the refrigerator to chill.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. With the mixer running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Whisk the egg whites into the chilled mixture.
“Inspired by the holiday season, sweet-tart cranberries give this cocktail a twist on the classic flirtini of pineapple juice and champagne,” says Tori Kersch, director of food and beverage at The Tides Inn in Irvington, Virginia. “Vodka and Cointreau make it an ‘any occasion’ drink.”
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
1/2 ounce cranberry juice
1 each lime wedge, juiced
Combine vodka, Cointreau, pineapple and cranberry juices, and lime juice in a shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a skewer of cranberries and a lemon twist.
“Inspired by the bourbon culture of Virginia, this can be served warm or iced,” Kersch says. “It’s a seasonally flavored beverage with a little kick from the bourbon for those that enjoy chai tea.”
1.5 ounces Virginia Gentleman bourbon
4 ounces chai tea
2 ounces milk
Steam chai tea and milk with a coffee steamer to create a froth. Add the bourbon. Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Northern Neck Mulled Wine
“A warm and soothing beverage to take away the winter chills,” Kersch says about this mulled wine recipe. “Fruity with a little bit of spice on the finish. Local apples and pears, along with Virginia cabernet, give this mulled wine a regional flair.”
2 cups of Virginia cabernet
2 cups syrah
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves stuck into a 1/2 pear
3 orange slices
1 tablespoon agave syrup
Add all the ingredients to a pot and warm over medium heat until fragrant. Garnish with two pieces of apple, one piece of pear and an orange peel twist.