When I was a kid, I loved to play in the snow and go sledding — until my mother insisted I come inside and defrost my frozen toes. Her antidote was hot chocolate. As a mom, I repeated her warming winter remedy with my daughter, teaching her to make it from scratch. Here are six recipes for cold-weather beverages that will warm your feet, stomach, and soul.
Classic Hot Toddy
Hot toddies are especially popular around Christmas, dating back to 18th century Scotland. In Ireland, it’s called a hot whiskey, and if you add rum, its name changes to grog. It is a heartwarming social drink. Although there is no research to support that it can cure a cold, its key ingredients may be beneficial to the sniffles: honey, hot water, and lemon juice.
Pour 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 ounce of bourbon, RumChata, or Baileys (optional) into a clear mug.
Squeeze 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice.
Add hot water.
Stir with a cinnamon stick.
Experiment by adding a tea bag, mint, ginger or thyme.
Creative Mulled Cider
This is a traditional soothing seasonal drink. Made with or without alcohol, this DIY recipe serves 8.
One quart of unfiltered apple cider.
Cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, cloves, nutmeg — your choice of combination.
Orange or lemon slices.
Bring to a boil, cover, and let steep.
Remove any seeds and cinnamon sticks.
Pour into individual mugs.
Optional: add one ounce of bourbon to each cup.
Adapted from a recipe by Bobby Flay, Food Network.
Hot and Bittered
Your friends will be impressed by this unusual, sophisticated drink.
1.5 ounces of any floral gin.
½ ounce Cynar, an Italian bitter apéritif formulated from 13 herbs and plants.
¾ ounce yuzu juice or fresh lemon juice.
1-ounce simple syrup: equal parts by weight of water and sugar, blend until emulsified.
A pinch of salt.
Heat a teacup with hot water for two minutes.
Combine everything else while the cup is heating.
Pour out hot water.
Add the cocktail to the warmed cup and top with a 1-ounce pour of fresh hot water.
Serve with a lemon slice.
Note: Cynar is found in most liquor stores, but you can substitute with Amaro Nonino or Averna.
Recipe by Chef and Mixologist Lisa Fernandes, Head Bartender at The Hidden Pearl, Brooklyn, NY, IG: @cheflisafernandes
Spice it Up with Chai Tea
Place 8 cardamom seeds, 8 cloves, and 4 black peppercorns in a resealable plastic bag. Crush with a heavy skillet.
Put crushed spices in a saucepan with 2 cinnamon sticks, a one-inch piece of sliced fresh ginger, 2 cups milk and 2 cups water.
Add 4 Darjeeling tea bags. Cover, let steep for 10 minutes.
Strain into cups with sugar to taste.
Recipe adapted from Real Simple, “Hot Drink Recipes That Will Warm You Up This Winter.”
Hot Chocolate A La Francaise
My mother made hot chocolate from a mix. You’ll taste la différence once you try the classic version from France, where it’s often served for breakfast with chunks of bread for dipping. Serves two.
Heat 2 cups of milk in a saucepan with a cinnamon stick and pure vanilla to taste.
Once it froths, reduce heat and add 4 ounces of 60-70 percent dark chocolate.
Whisk until the chocolate melts.
Add 1-1.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder, a teaspoon of sugar and a pinch of salt.
Slowly let it thicken; the longer you cook it, the thicker it will become.
Marshmallows are optional.
Note: A quick version is to heat a cup of milk, pour it into a cup, then add pure cocoa powder and sugar to taste. If you prefer, 2 percent skim milk can be used.
Adapted from French Cooking Academy with Stephane.
Not Your Morning Coffee
Or is it? A few shots of amaretto make morning java a celebration.
Pour 1-2 shots of amaretto into a clear glass mug.
Add strong, freshly brewed coffee.
Top off with homemade whipped cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste.
Stir and serve with a cinnamon stick.
Recipe adapted from Food Network.
What's your favorite drink on a very cold night? Let us know in the comments below.