Let's face it: At some point during this holiday season, you're going to need a drink. And when you arrive at the bar, you're probably going to be near-frozen, because, you know, it's winter -- the time of year, when, so sings the song, the weather can be downright "frightful."
At which point you need to ask yourself a question: What should you order to put some fire back in that belly?
Herewith, ten classic hot libations as well as a few frost-melters that have sadly been forgotten.
10. Hot Buttered Rum Simple recipe, this: a shot or two of dark rum, a spoonful of brown sugar, and a pat of butter, in a mug with hot water or milk. Sprinkle with nutmeg, and you have a drink you won't want to put down until spring.
9. Three Wise Men The only drink on this list that's not physically warm so much as an invocation of near-immediate warmth from the inside out. A Three Wise Men is a shot of Jim Beam, a shot of Johnny Walker and a shot of Jack Daniels. That's it. Who knew the gift of the magi was intoxication?
8. Angel's Kiss Equal parts eggnog and Kahlua might sound sweet...and it is. But it's also an amazing drink when warmed and served in a mug. Whipped cream topping and candy cane stirrer optional.
7. Mulled Rum Cider Put some apple cider, a bit of orange juice, a few cinnamon sticks, and dashes of allspice and nutmeg on the stove. Let them come to a boil, and then add rum. If there's anything that smells more like autumn, man has yet to discover it.
6. Glögg The great part of drinking glögg is being able to repeatedly say "glögg". "Hey, would you like some glögg?" "This is some damn good glögg." See? Fun. And it should be, because it's good stuff, Maynard. Hailing from Scandinavia, glögg is mulled sweetened wine: start with two bottles of wine (any recipe that starts with two bottles of wine is a good recipe) and add two pinches of cardamom seeds, a handful of cloves, a few pieces of ginger, the peel from one small orange, and four sticks of cinnamon. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring, and then strain. Serve over sugar cubes, almonds and raisins. Get drunk, speak Danish, sympathize with Hamlet, keep drinking.
5. English Wassail One of those drinks that most people have heard of, but never actually had, wassail comes in many variations and national flavors. But the original English wassail is still the most evocative of the season -- warming to the palate and the atmosphere. Combine a cup of sugar, 2 quarts of apple juice, a pint of cranberry juice, a teaspoon of bitters, a pint of rum, 2 cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of allspice, and a small cloved orange in a pot. Simmer over low heat for most of the day, and you're ready to make merry all night.
4. The Tom and Jerry Purportedly Walt Disney's favorite drink, Tom and Jerry was such a popular party-punch that whole sets of bowls and glasses were produced and sold for the sole reason of drinking it. Sort of like Bundt pans, only drunker. Tom and Jerrys are made in batches, not one at a time, and the recipe requires a batter that has to be prepared ahead of time. The batter includes a dozen eggs, a pound of sugar, a couple of shots of rum, and a bit of clove, nutmeg, and allspice. When served with rum, brandy, hot milk and boiling water, you have a Tom and Jerry. No relation to the cat and mouse, by the way -- though the famous cartoon probably took its name from this drink.
3. Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps The recipe here is obvious: Make your favorite hot chocolate and spike to taste with the schnapps. A longtime parade/football game/post-skiing drink that's not only nostalgic for snowy days past, but also has enough of a kick to make your snowy nights a little more interesting today.
2. Hot Toddy Some people use this term interchangeably for any warm drink that includes alcohol, but that's crap. Hot Toddys, used for years as a cold remedy (which sort of makes you want to get a cold, frankly), are actually pretty specific; a shot of whiskey (usually Scotch) mixed with a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, a teaspoon of brown sugar, and a dash of lemon juice steeped in boiling water. If it doesn't drive your cold away, have another. Eventually, you'll either be well, or you won't give a damn.
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1. Irish Coffee Add a shot of both Bailey's and Irish Whiskey (or if you're really Irish, two) to a cup of coffee, and top it with some whipped cream if that's your fancy. It's hot, it's strong, and it's guaranteed to warm you from your toes on up. Really, there's no way to go wrong with bringing coffee and alcohol together. Without these two substances, the world would grind to a halt in seconds. So raise a mug to warm yourself and then have another for good measure. Sláinte!