Drinking Hot Chocolate on a cold winter night by my electric fire place would be one of my fondest childhood memories. The waft of the same would be enough to warm the cockles of my heart. Waking up to the smell of coffee with a hint of caramel would be reason enough to wake up for school and the after school Masala Chai full of spices like clove, nutmeg and ginger.

These hot sweet beverages would be source of warmth and fire that kept the clod and cough at bay. Now the addition of something special makes it even better. A shot of rum, a dash of whiskey instantly brings the blush in my cheeks. Many experts argue against the warming properties of alcohol, but in certain countries located in higher altitudes it is an age old custom to welcome guests with a potent shot of whiskey.

Spices like Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon, Peppercorn and Cardamom help in increasing blood circulation in the body hence resulting in the body heat being distributed properly and more efficiently. The mere addition of any of the spices can transform your every day drink into something quite special.

I am sure all this talk of mystical magical wonderland-ish drinks has made your quite thirsty, so without further delay i present to you some exotic and interesting drinks for adults which can be made at home, for when you are entertaining or otherwise.

Alhambra

alhambra

This is so simple to make and so delicious. It’s really for grown-ups who never really grew up!

Ingredients: 5 measures hot cocoa or drinking chocolate; 1 measure Cognac

Method: Pour the hot cocoa or drinking chocolate into a warmed glass and add the Cognac.

Brown Betty

brown betty

This is a terrific, hot, beer-based punch. The quantities given will serve around 8 people.

Ingredients: 1.3 Liters or amber ale; 12 measures brandy; 2 and 1/4th cups water; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1 lemon sliced; 4 whole cloves; 1 cinnamon stick; 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg; 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger.

Method: In a large saucepan, over a medium heat, add the sugar, lemon slices, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg,ginger and water. Stir continuously to dissolve the sugar and let the mixture come to the boil. Turn the heat down and let the mixture simmer for around 10 minutes. Add the brandy and the ale, the heat, but do not boil. Serve hot in beer mugs, each garnished with a slice if lemon.

Bumpo

bumpo

This is a quick fix after a long tiring day at work.

Ingredients: 2 measures hot water; 2 measures rum; 1 measure lime juice; 1 teaspoon sugar; ground nutmeg.

Method: Dissolve the sugar in the glass with the lime juice and hot water. Add the rum and dust slightly with the ground nutmeg.

Cafe d’Amour

cafe damour

This is a coffee made without cream- the perfect way to end an intimate dîner pour deux. It is after all, the ‘coffee of love’. Be careful when you heat and ignite the Cognac- the only thing that should be inflamed are your passions, not the kitchen.

Ingredients: 5 measures hot black coffee; 1 and 1/4th measures cognac; zest of 1/2 lemon; 1 stick of cinnamon; sugar (to rim the cup and to sweeten, if desired)

Method: Rim the cup with lemon and dip into some sugar. Add the coffee, lemon zest and the cinnamon stick to the saucepan and simmer. Carefully pour the Cognac into a large soup laddle and ignite it. Pour the the flamimg Cognac into the coffee and then extinguish the flame by putting the lid on the saucepan. Remove the lid and strain the mixture into sugar-rimmed cup.

Colonial Boy

colonial boy

This is a wonderful, tea-based hot drink that’s perfect after a long, winter walk.

Ingredients: 5 measures hot black tea(sweetened to taste); 1/2 measure Irish Whiskey; 1 dash bitters.

Method: Pour the hot tea into the glass and add the Whiskey and the Bitters.

English Bishop

eng bishop

This is a port-wine drink, made with baked oranges and served hot. This would serve 6 people.

Ingredients: 1 large orange; 12 cloves; 700 ml inexpensive Port; 1 tablespoon honey; 1 teaspoon allspice; 2 dashes Cognac (optional).

Method: Stick the cloves into the whole orange and bake it in the oven on a low heat for 30 minutes. Cut the baked orange into quarters and put it in the saucepan. Pour in the Port and add the allspice, honey and Cognac if desired. Over a very low flame, simmer gently for 15-20 minutes- do not boil or the flavor of the Port will be spoiled. Serve in warmed cups.

Grog

Grog

This spiced-rum mix was named after Admiral Sir Edward Vernon, who was nicknamed ‘Old Grog’ because his cloak was made of the coarse material grosgrain. Returning from the Caribbean in 1740, in order to save on costs (or perhaps stretch the rum ration), Old Grog diluted the Crew’s Rum with water, a mixture that was immediately named ‘Grog’. They soon discovered that it tasted better hot.

Ingredients: 2 measures dark rum; 2 measures water; 2/3 measure lime juice; 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or honey); 2 cloves; 1 cinnamon stick.

Method: Add all of the ingredients to a small saucepan and heat gently to dissolve the sugar. When hot, strain into a heat-proof cup.

Hot Buttered Rum

10213_hot_buttered_rum

This drink was first published in Life magazine on September 21, 1942. It is especially popular in the fall and winter and is traditionally associated with the holiday season.In the United States the drink can be traced back to the Colonial Days.

Ingredients: 2 measures Dark Rum; 2 measures water; 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or honey); 1 pinch ground nutmeg; 4 drops vanilla essence; 1 small cinnamon stick; 1 small knob of butter.

Method: Place the cinnamon stick, nutmeg and vanilla essence in the heat-proof cup. Heat the rum, water and sugar in the saucepan until almost boiling. Remove from the heat and pour into the cup over the spices. Put the knob of butter on top and watch it melt into the mixture.

Hot Scotch Toddy

hot toddy

This drink has various recipes and is traditionally drunk before going to bed, or in wet or cold weather. Some believe the drink relieves the symptoms of the cold and flu — in How to Drink, Victoria Moore describes the drink as “the vitamin C for health, the honey to soothe, the alcohol to numb.”

Ingredients: 2 measures Scotch; 3 measures boiling water; 1/2 measures lemon juice; 1 teaspoon brown sygar (or honey); 3 drops bitters; 1 slice lemon, studded with cloves; ground nutmeg.

Method: Put the sugar, bitters, lemon juice and clove-studded lemon slice in the glass. Add the Scotch and pour in the boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and sprinkle with ground nutmeg.

Royale Coffee

coffee royale

The most famous hot coffee and liqueur drink topped with whipped cream is Irish Coffee. This uses Irish Whiskey, but there are numerous variations. Try the royale, with Cognac.

Ingredients: 1 measure Cognac; 5 measures hot black coffee (sweetened to taste); 1 and 1/2 measures whipped cream; grated chocolate.

Method: To the warmed glass, add the hot coffee and the cognac. Gently float the whipped cream on top and sprinkle with grated chocolate.

I hope you enjoy making these and may they warm your dreary winter evenings. Salute!