Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Hot cocktails for Christmas

hot-rum-bar-cocktail-2-.jpg

We’ve hit that time of year when hours spent trudging the streets buying last-minute Christmas presents can leave us chilled to the bone, with toes that feel as if they're about to drop off. It's at this particular point that we find only a hot, alcoholic drink will do to thaw us out.

There's something disproportionately cheering about walking into a room to be greeted by the heady aroma of mulled wine gently stewing with cinnamon sticks, before someone pours you a large, comforting glass. The festive goodwill it fosters is second-to-none.

The popularity of hot drinks has surged in recent years, with a whole plethora of options on offer in bars and pubs up and down the country.

“During the winter months anything hot and sweet helps you warm up and cheers you up,” says Aoife Halliday, operations manager at Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, whose pop-up rooftop bar WigWamBam is offering a menu of five toasting hot concoctions.

“We try to turn recipes on their head to make it a little bit more interesting, and we like to spike things - so a lovely rich hot chocolate with a shot of rum or whisky always goes down a treat and add double warmth.”

Cloudy apple juice, oranges, dark spirits and spices such as cinnamon sticks, freshly grated nutmeg, cloves and even chilli can all come in handy when you're stirring up a warm Christmas cocktail. We've listed six to try out below, from traditional mulled wine to hot buttered rum and even a flaming punch. Stock up, invite a group of friends around, and get mixing!

1. Mulled wine

It’s not officially winter until you’ve had your first mulled wine. The heady aroma of wine, orange and spices is the perfect antidote to bitterly cold weather. The whizzes at online drinks retailer Master of Malt have just launched their very own concoction to take the faff out of making decent mulled wine by launching a Christmas Mulled Cup (£25.95, masterofmalt.com). Created from a mixture of cognac, port, distilled citrus peel and tinctures made from spices, all you need to do is add red wine and sugar, heat it and serve. It’s the perfect answer to creating a big, steaming bowl of mulled wine when you’ve got a household of guests coming and a million things still to do.

Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Mulled Wine

Glass: Hot toddy

Garnish: Not required, but try some orange peel

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of fruity red wine (such as Merlot)
  • 50ml Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Christmas Mulled Cup
  • 65g granulated sugar

Method: Mix ingredients in a pan, heat and serve.

2. Mulled cider

Mulled cider has exploded in popularity across the country’s pubs in recent years but quality can be hit and miss. Common mistakes include using sweet ciders (such as Strongbow and Magners), and going overboard with the cloves – cloves are incredibly powerful, and obliterate all other flavours when not handled carefully.

In order to make a really successful mulled cider, you need to find a decent dry cider to which you can add some sort of sugary, boozy element; spiced rum can be a great addition. This one comes from The King’s Ginger pop-up bar at the Hoxton Hotel:

The King’s Mulled Cyder

Glass: Hot toddy

Garnish: Cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg and a star anise

Ingredients:

  • 50ml The King’s Ginger liqueur
  • 150ml Aspall Suffolk Cyder
  • 150ml cloudy apple juice

Method: Mix ingredients in a pan and heat, serve and garnish.

3. Punch

Bowls of punch are the best answer to serving large groups of people at a party, as you put the effort in at the beginning, and then guests can help themselves to whatever delicious concoction you’ve made when their glasses run dry.

Cocktail historian David Wondrich has published the definitive guide to this most convivial category of drinks; imaginatively titled Punch, it’s a compendium of the best bowls to be made. Within it is the below drink, a recipe that was created by Charles Dickens. Yes: as well as being a wordsmith, Dickens took the business of crafting an excellent bowl of punch very seriously.

Wondrich sourced this recipe from a letter that the A Christmas Carol author wrote in 1847, and it’s a showstopper to say the least - seeing as it involves pyrotechnics. Setting fire to a large vat of alcohol in front of a party of friends is great fun, but be careful, do it sober, and take the necessary precautions!

Charles Dickens’ Punch

Glass: Tea cups

Garnish: None

Ingredients:

  • 170g demerara sugar cubes such as Billington's
  • 475ml rum (it's possible to use a combination of Navy-strength rum and lighter rum: 225ml Pusser’s Blue Label and 250ml Brugal Anejo)
  • 300ml Courvoisier VSOP
  • 1.2l boiling water
  • 3 lemons

Method: Take a cast-iron enamel pot with a lid and peel the lemons into it, taking care not to remove to much of the pith. Add the sugar cubes and then the alcohol. Take a metal spoon, place some alcohol in it and then light the spoon carefully, allowing the alcohol to catch light. Gently lower it to the pan and let the flame catch. Leave the pan to burn for three minutes, then take the lid and put the fire out. Squeeze in the juice of the lemons, add the boiling water, stir and cover for five minutes, then stir again. Keep it on a low heat, and remove the lemon peel if it is going to sit for a few hours before being drunk.

4. Hot Toddy

A homemade ‘remedy’ that many of us turn to when the sniffles start to set in, the Hot Toddy is a simple, comforting drink that anyone can make.

Traditionally consisting of whisky, hot water, honey and lemon juice, Soho-based bar Floridita is serving the drink with rum rather that whisky. "Rum is a spirit that works well in everything, because it has so many different types of rum and different flavours," says Massimo Bosio, bar supervisor at Floridita.

Rum's natural sweetness and depth of flavour augments the Hot Toddy below, resulting in a fruity, rounded drink that’s great to sip while curled up on the sofa.

Barbados Toddy

Recipe courtesy of the Hot Rum Shack at Floridita

Glass: Hot toddy

Garnish: Cinnamon stick and lemon peel

Ingredients:

  • 50ml Plantation Rum 5yo
  • 15ml Pink Pigeon Rum
  • 25ml honey syrup (mix 1 part honey with 1 part hot water)
  • cloves
  • hot water

Method: Build ingredients in the glass, filling to just below the top with hot water. Garnish and serve.

5. Hot Buttered Rum

Racing up the hot drinks charts, from relative obscurity to the coolest warm drink on the block, Hot Buttered Rum is the cocktail du jour.

"Hot buttered rum has become popular due to the increase in the popularity of rum as a spirit," says Halliday. "Due to the natural sweetness of rum it’s such a durable spirit to cook with and holds up its powerful flavour. Heating and spicing it and adding a rich unsalted butter makes a warming winter treat."

Hot Buttered Rum 


Recipe courtesy of WigWamBam at Queen of Hoxton

Glass: Dimpled mug

Garnish: A quarter orange studded with a few cloves

Ingredients:

  • 1.6 litres clear apple juice
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 pinches black pepper
  • 200ml Appleton 8 yo rum

Method: Melt the butter and sugar in a pan, taking care not to burn the mixture. Add the spices and apple juice, and simmer. Pour into cups and add a 25ml measure of the Appleton to each. Makes 8 portions of 200ml.

6. Spiked hot chocolate

Boozy hot chocolate is the ultimate indulgence. Comforting, delicious and warm, it’s a hug in a mug (sorry, Cup-a-Soup). We're not talking about spiking powdered hot chocolate that tastes thin and watery, however - in order to make the most rewarding, indulgent concoction, you need to make something with real chocolate. Who better to look to for such a mixture than Paul A Young, chocolatier extraordinaire?

A shot of most brown spirits would work with this recipe. Cognac and bourbon are popular additions - the cognac provides a rich, earthy note, while the bourbon is slightly more fruity, with an extra kick.

Paul A. Young’s Aztec Hot Chocolate (with a kick)

Glass: Hot toddy

Garnish: None

Ingredients:

  • 500ml water
  • 25g light muscovado sugar
  • 20g dark cocoa powder
  • 100g Caribbean 66% dark chocolate
  • Spice to taste: chilli, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom or ginger
  • 25ml Courvoisier VSOP or Four Roses Yellow Label

Method: Heat the water, sugar and cocoa powder in a pan and simmer for 3 minutes. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the pan. Pour into glasses and add the shot of alcohol. Mix and serve.

Words: Laura Foster, Photos: Rex Features

Related

mad-men-2.jpg

Raise a glass to bourbon

Denbies-Wine-Estate.jpg

England's wonderful wineries

main-hero.jpg

Meet the female mixologists

Comments

Latest...

Here’s how to put your gin habit to good use

Mother’s ruin is charity’s gain

by Amy Swales
25 Apr 2017

Here's how to get free cake in London this week

Best be quick though...

by Anna Pollitt
24 Apr 2017

11 delicious and affordable places for afternoon tea in London

High tea, high style, low price

by Moya Crockett
24 Apr 2017

Oreo peanut butter ice cream sandwiches are now available in the UK

This is not a drill

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Apr 2017

Unicorn frappuccinos have landed and people are going wild for them

If you thought the unicorn food trend had reached its peak, think again.

19 Apr 2017

How to unlock the hidden health benefits of a cup of tea

And it only takes 30 seconds

by Sarah Biddlecombe
12 Apr 2017

Great British Bake Off could have looked very different

GBBO dream or a Kitchen Nightmare? (Sorry.)

by Amy Swales
12 Apr 2017

5 luxury grilled cheese sandwich recipes guaranteed to melt your heart

From an upgrade on the classic tuna melt to a sweet peach toastie

12 Apr 2017

This is the best way to enhance the flavour of your cup of coffee

Salt is the new sugar.

by Hayley Spencer
11 Apr 2017

Astonishingly lifelike succulent cakes are here to blow your mind

Kill it with your mouth

by Anna Pollitt
11 Apr 2017