I’m not a connoisseur of liqueurs and alcohol in general. But when I wander in with my friends in the evening for something to warm us up (yes, the nighttime temperature does drop below 60°F in Southern California in the winter), I feel like ordering a hot drink.
Now, I’ve read in my cookbook about hot toddies and warm wine with spices. But try asking for that in a bar! I want drinks that can be found in your run-of-the-mill establishment with a liquor license. I’m tired of always drinking Irish coffee. Once I asked a bartender «Do you make any drinks with hot chocolate?» His answer was «We’ll make whatever you want. What do you want in it?» I said «Surprise me». He said «How about an Irish Coffee?» So I submitted to the inevitable.
If not a drink that the bartender knows how to make, how about a drink that’s easy to describe?
How about an alpine? Hot chocolate and mint schnaps, ideally to be drunk in a ski lodge before a roaring fire. Or a hot buttered rum? Hot water and rum and butter and sugar – a oldie and, IMO, not-so-goodie, but then I don’t care for rum. Or a Tom & Jerry? A real one is made with a sugar-and-egg batter (but most people these days make it with Tom & Jerry mix) to which you add hot water or milk, rum (or whiskey, or both), and nutmeg. If made right, they’re really good – hot and sweet.
I bet you could find a bunch of recipes on the internet, too.
If you normally drink Irish coffee, there are a lot of other coffee drinks out there. Try some with Kahlua or Baileys. And not all cold-weather drinks are actually hot. You could definitely relax with some brandy, or a glass of Drambuie or even a nice snifter of Grand Marnier.
Also, if you’re in a somewhat classy restaurant, they may have special drinks included listed with the desserts, or even on a separate menu (a port menu comes to mind). I remember one we used to make that involved carmelizing sugar on the rim of a glass, adding brandy and Kahlua, igniting it, adding coffee, topping with whipped cream, and then drizzling flaming brandy over the top of the whipped cream. This was done tableside.
If you order one of these, make sure you’ve brought along a spare candycane to stick in there…mmmmmmm!
My drink du’jour (actually, of the month…how do you say that?) is a White Chocolate Brandy Alexander -
Melt 6 oz white chocolate in 3 1/2 cups of milk in a saucepan. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Don’t let it boil.
Take it off the burner and add 1/3 cup brandy and 3 tablespoons of cream de cacao. Top off with a bunch of whipped cream. Voila!
i am so bookmarking this thread - i have a long and lonely january ahead of me, and these all look much better than anything i could come up with my own (standard sneeze drink: pineapple juice and whatever liquor is on hand; will substitute melted freezer pops if juice is unavailable) so i am eager to expand my horizons, but:
brandy? can you guys maybe tell me a good brand or two (“good” being relative, of course - maybe something online with Schmirnoff or Tangeruay, but nothing really expensive)? or is it just called ‘brandy’?
also, is it like wine? or is it more like scotch? whiskey? i always pictured it as a grandma drink, but i’ve been wrong about this kind of thing before ("believe me, you’re SUPPOSED to take shots of 151, that’s what it’s for.)
Christian Brothers is fine , a good entree to brandy.
The name comes from the German “Brannt Wein” , or “burned wine”, meaning that it’s distilled from wine, or in some cases, the sludge left over after pressing, but these are called “marc” and are usu. more harsh and acrid.
Asbach Ursalt is an excellent choice, from Germany, and not that pricey. Hine Antique is also excellent. BTW, if someone attempts to serve you a glass of unmixed WHITE brandy, throw it on them and light a match. This stuff is nasty and usually meant for mixing, like with eggnog.
Good way to have any brandy is after a big meal, out of a tulip glass or small snifter. This is for the same reason red wine glasses are bigger and have a large balloon on them-they need to be warmed by your hand to give up the maximum of their flavour as the alcohol sublimates.
Try a Brandy Alexander. Try it with coffee. Or, my favorite, in coffee with vanilla extract. It can be floated and flamed. Try brandy and Amaretto over ice.
Then we get into cognac and Armagnac, which Zenster I’m sure can chime in on.
Jesus, looking over it you’d think I like brandy or something.
Re the OP, try a Mexican coffee-most places can make them.
Even though coffee drinks are a PITA, this is simple.
shot of Cuervo
shot of Kahlua
sugar to taste
No more than three, or you will be stinko and can’t get any sleep for a week. I speak from experience.
On REALLY cold days, I’ve been known to order (and get) a simple toddy, no eyebrows raised.
Just ask for a shot of something you like (brandy’s traditional; whiskey or dark rum or even gin would work) in a coffee cup or Irish Coffee glass, squeeze in a lemon wedge, and top up with hot water. If the bar serves coffee and tea, it’s no problem.
“I’m not a connoisseur of liqueurs and alcohol in general. But when I wander in with my friends in the evening for something to warm us up (yes, the nighttime temperature does drop below 60°F in Southern California in the winter), I feel like ordering a hot drink.”
Arnold - I mean no offense but I find this statement to be really hilarious right now… if it was 60 F here I would be sucking back a cold beer and wearing shorts and sandals.
Subtract 80 from 60 and you’ll get close to our present daytime high temperature. With the wind chill taken into account it is like minus 40 here. Nights are much colder.
If you like hot chocolate ask the bartender to add a shot of Frangelico and a bit of whipped cream. It’s one of my favourite hot drinks.
You might want to try hot Pear liquer, put an ounce in a snifter, add a slice of lemon, and fill it halfways with boiling water. It will warm your hands as it warms your insides. I like this drink after skiing.
Best of all is to simply have a nice cup of dark coffee with a (warmed) snifter of Drambuie on the side. This will really warm you up and the delightful blend of “honey and heather” won’t be tainted by throwing it into the coffee.
I bartended for a dozen years and in these parts hot drinks are pretty common… go figure.