A cold winter calls for hot drinks. There's nothing like a steaming hot mug of something unapologetically awesome to kick the daylights out of the chill…particularly if you're a poor fool like me and live in the Upper Midwest.
What follows are a few classics to get you started, but note that all of these are quite adaptable to your tastes / ingredients on hand -- think of them as more of drink theories than drink recipes and you'll have more fun.
The Hot Toddy
The bracing brightness of lemon combined with the soothing warmth of hot tea, sweetened by the natural taste of pure honey -- a total winter classic. Doubles as a not-doctor prescribed cold remedy. Brandy's the standard, but you can play around with whiskey, rum, or other spirits as the base.
Recipe: Hot Toddy
This Scandinavian spiced wine/brandy/vodka classic still pops up regularly in Scandi-rich communities like the Andersonville neighborhood in Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota. A hot punch with real kick and fierce spiced flavor, it'll knock the frost off your boots regardless of the temperature.
Best known as the keynote refrain in a somewhat mystifying carol
, wassail is an old-school English spiced wine served hot.
Recipe: Cranberry Wassail
Hot Buttered Rum
The apple juice, butter, and brown sugar in this recipe help elevate heated rum to the status of liquid dessert. If you want to kick this recipe up a few notches, incorporate vanilla ice cream.
Recipe: Hot Buttered Rum