Down in South Florida, when the temps dip below 60, its official: winter has arrived. As the rest of the country battles cold fronts, snowed-over streets and an all around nasty wet and cold time, down here, we’re enjoying some rather temperate weather – there is surf on the horizon, it’s beach time!
Even though the weather is not exactly frightful, we still like to imbibe on some cold weather sips. Here, we offer up a few of our favorite classic winter cocktails, served hot, so we can pretend South Florida actually experiences a winter. Enjoy!
Mull it Over
The frontpiece of Apicius, De Opsoniis et Condimentis, published in 1709 by Martin Lister.
Of all the cocktail recipes served here, mulled wine has the lengthiest of histories. Also known as spiced wine, it first came on the scene in 3150 BCE in ancient Egypt, where it was most likely used for medicinal purposes. In a study led by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009, jars excavated from Scorpion I, one of Egypt’s first pharaohs, had some interesting residue inside, and “provides the earliest direct chemical evidence for wine with organic medicinal additives.”
As for drinking mulled wine, first recorded reports of the sip comes from the beginning of the common era in the ancient text Apicius de re Coquinaria, which was essentially a Roman cookbook. Long associated with Marcus Gaius Apicius, the renowned Roman lover of food and the luxury lifestyle from the first century of the Common Era, the text first appeared in the late fourth or early fifth century CE. But there is little doubt the Roman’s loved their spiced wine, with a recipe for the goods appearing in the first chapter of Book I.
The recipe here is a little updated from the ancient text—still not quite sure what “3 scruples of mastic” means—but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your mulled wine while wearing a toga.
- 1 orange, zested and juiced
- 6 whole cloves
- 6 allspice berries
- 8-10 pomegranate seeds, crushed
- 5 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle of fruity red wine (Merlot is recommended)
- 1/3 cup sugar or honey
- 1/4 cup brandy
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. To serve, pour through a fine-mesh sieve into four mugs; garnish each with a cinnamon stick
In the land of eternal sun, one thing is certain: rum, with its Caribbean roots, is our spirit of choice. This recipe for hot buttered rum is for those who have the SoFlo taste for sweet molasses while trying to knock the chill from their bones.
Hot Buttered Rum
- 2 sugar cubes
- 2 oz. dark rum
- 1 small slice of soft butter
In an Irish coffee glass, add sugar and little hot water; stir until sugar dissolves. Add rum, butter and top with hot water, stir gently. Garnish with a pinch of ground nutmeg.
Feeling a tickle in your throat? Sounds like an excuse for a Hot Toddy. Once, and maybe still, a remedy for the cold and/or flu symptoms, people praised the cocktail’s use of lemon for a boost of vitamin C and honey for its soothing properties. Though it is not exactly advised to sip on some tipples when feeling ill (the American Lung Association warns against consuming alcohol when sick), but if you have a little sniffle, what can it hurt?
The hot toddy is a simple sip to concoct, consisting of just four main ingredients, so be sure not to skimp on quality. Depending on which part of the country/world you hail from, the spirit may differ. For our recipe, we’re going standard, with whiskey being our spirit of choice.
- 2 oz. whiskey
- 2 oz. local honey
- 4 oz. hot water
- Lemon wedge (eighth of a lemon)
Put a teakettle on heat. Cut a lemon into eighths; squeeze (or muddle) a segment in a mug. Add honey, whiskey and top with hot water. Stir with a cinnamon stick.