Knowledgeable Wino: Hot cocktails to beat Jack Frost

Baby, it’s cold outside — time to stave off the chills by preparing some warm alcoholic beverages. We’ve got the scoop on Southern hot cider, Glögg, Irish coffee and more right here.

What, this isn’t how you prepare your warm winter cocktails?
Photos by Giancarlo Rivera

Montrealers all suffer from a common ailment: short-term memory loss. After a wonderful summer and a charming autumn, it always comes as a surprise to many that Mother Nature would cover our city with a blanket of frost for a few months. Luckily, a simple and delicious remedy exists: the hot cocktail. Like a Bing Crosby record, it’s sure to warm your bones after a slush-kicking dog walk or some ice skating in the park.

When serving hot cocktails, be sure to use heat-safe drinkware, as hot liquids tend to shatter regular glassware. For presentation points, use what’s called an Irish coffee cup, a heat-friendly glass with a handle and a stem. If presentation isn’t a factor, any old coffee mug, teacup or mason jar will do the trick.

For outings on really cold days, fill a camping Thermos to accompany you during your winter activities. And to keep your bevvy warm longer, pour very hot water into your drinkware and let it sit while you prepare your cocktail. When you are ready to mix, ditch the water and your cocktail will have a cozy home.


A mulled wine with Scandinavian roots. Make like Thor and hammer this down.

You’ll need:
• 1 bottle of fruity, full-bodied red wine (recommended: 2011 Rio de Plata Etchart Malbec — SAQ code: 00391573, $10.15)
• Your favorite vodka
• 1/4 cup raisins
• 1/4 cup almonds
• 1 orange peel (a small orange will do; avoid the pith)
• 4 cloves
• 4 star anise
• 4 crushed cardamom pods
• 1 whole cinnamon stick
• Honey

Mix the wine, raisins, almonds, orange peel and spices in a container and let mixture sit, covered, at room temperature for 24–48 hours. When you’re ready to serve, mix 4 oz. vodka and honey (to taste) with the wine mixture in a pan and heat without boiling. Strain into cups and garnish with a few raisins and almond slices.

Southern Hot Cider

There’s a little bit of Quebec and little bit of Kentucky in this rendition of hot cider.

You’ll need:
• 1 bottle still cider (recommended: Verger Sud Domaine Pinnacle — SAQ code: 10850551, $12.90)
• Your favorite bourbon
• 5 whole cinnamon sticks

Lightly simmer, without boiling, the cider and cinnamon in a pan for an hour. (Simmer closer to two hours if you want to bring our more apple and cinnamon aromas.) Remove the cinnamon and mix 4 oz. hot cider with 1 oz. bourbon into a cup and stir. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

Dark Hot Toddy

Regular tea’s misanthropic cousin, aka pirate tea to warm your booty.

You’ll need:
• Your favorite dark rum
• Black tea (Earl Grey will do)
• Honey
• Lemon

Prepare a pot of black tea by steeping, for roughly five minutes, one tea bag for each cup of hot water. Mix 1.5 oz. dark rum and 1 tbsp. lemon juice in a cup. Pour in 5 oz. of tea and honey to taste, and stir well.

The Black Forest

The classic dessert in hot liquid form. Caution: leave a trail of biscotti crumbs, it’s easy to get lost this forest.

You’ll need:
• Your favorite hot chocolate (partially dark will give it bite)
• Bailey’s Irish cream
• Black cherry jam (red cherry will work, too)

Prepare your favorite hot chocolate and pour 4 oz. into a cup. Add 1.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream and stir. Gently garnish with 1 tsp. cherry jam.

Irish Coffee

Ireland’s great contribution to the coffee world. Once thought to be scientifically impossible, transforming a sobering beverage into an inebriator deserves a Nobel prize, or something.

You’ll need:
• Your favorite espresso coffee
• Jameson Irish whiskey
• Brown sugar
• 10 per cent cream

Mix two 1.5 oz. servings of espresso coffee with 1.5 oz. Jameson Irish whiskey in a cup. Add 1 oz. cream and 1 tsp. brown sugar and stir well.

Hot Mojito

The classic mojito becomes a body-warming bevvy; believed by some to be a Festivus miracle.

You’ll need:
• Mint tea
• Your favorite white rum
• Cane sugar
• Lime

Prepare a pot of mint tea using one teabag per cup of hot water and steeping for about five minutes. Mix 4 oz. mint tea and 1.5 oz. rum in a cup. Add 1 tbsp. lime juice and 2 tsp. sugar and stir well.

Keep your tongue off metal poles. Santé!

Leave a Reply