Every winter it’s the same routine: Hot Toddy, spiked Hot Chocolate, Hot Buttered Rum, repeat. The base spirit in these go-to hot cocktails may change, but the basic structure stays the same. They’re as snore-worthy as Sleepytime tea. But this winter we’re finally seeing something new. Bartenders around the world are getting creative with warming drinks. They’re eschewing the traditional whiskey or rum in favor of unexpected clear spirits and incorporating ingredients more commonly found in a kitchen cabinet than behind a bar. The resulting cocktails are a breath of fresh air—or, rather, hot steam. Here, three drinks that will warm you to the core while bucking your whiskey-spiked preconceptions.
3 Hot Cocktails You've Never Heard Of
Though this drink from Gin Garden in London bills itself as a Toddy—and its very basic formula stays true to the classic cocktail—it’s in a league all its own. Instead of hot water, it calls for flavorful, spiced chai tea, and instead of the usual whiskey, it’s spiked with gin, which gets a fruity boost from a touch of apple juice.
This liquid meal-in-a-glass from Chad Solomon, co-creator and head bartender at Midnight Rambler in Dallas, concentrates the flavors of sweet-and-sour chicken into a delightfully savory, boozy treat. Starting with a base of gin, Solomon brings the sweet and sour flavors into the mix with a blend of lime juice, chicken broth—yes, you read that right—pineapple syrup and Sriracha. Fruity, salty and herbal notes all come together into one amazing hot cocktail, garnished with an aromatic star anise pod.
If you love spiked apple cider, this cocktail is a revelation. Instead of using the expected bourbon, rye whiskey or rum to give the drink its signature punch, this recipe from the Georgie Bar at the Montage Beverly Hills employs reposado tequila. With its vegetal, slightly oaky flavor, the tequila melds with the spices and fruit flavors of the cider, while agave syrup and lemon juice bring balance to create a warming take on a Tequila Daisy. The rock candy garnish lets you customize the sweetness to your liking—or gives you something to snack on in between sips.