If the weather outside is frightful, then it’s time to get comfy with warm cuppa tea—spiked with alcohol, of course. While the standard Hot Toddy will never do you wrong, there are plenty of ways to get creative with the combo of hot tea and alcohol. By swapping in yuzu marmalade for the usual citrus juice, diving into the heady flavors of a tea-take on an Irish Coffee, or upgrading to a crazy luxurious meringue-topped cocktail, these tea-tails can make you feel extra cozy—even in the dead of winter.
3 Cozy Tea-Tails to Warm You Up All Winter
Yuzu is the perfect citrus. Its flavor strikes the ideal balance between lemon and lime, and it’s especially apt for winter drinking when the Japanese citrus is in season. When the temperature drops, Kenta Goto, owner of New York’s Bar Goto, mixes his favorite yuzu marmalade into a large batch of lemon-ginger tea and adds a measure of Laird’s Apple Brandy for a full spectrum of warm fruit flavor. Fresh lemon juice and honey syrup brighten and round out the drink. Goto even serves the finished Toddy with a plate of extra yuzu marmalade on the side, which drinkers can use to amp up the sweet-tart wintery vibes.
This tea-based take on an Irish Coffee, served at Suffolk Arms in New York, can take on the coffee-based original any day. The elegant drink releases the sweet-sour aroma of burned milk, while a sip reveals a far deeper flavor than you’d expect of a surprisingly simple tea-tail, especially one made with gin. “Everyone pooh-poohs hot gin, but the heat causes all of gin’s botanicals to really come out,” says Suffolk Arms bartender Mike Scudder. The English breakfast tea provides enough caffeine to let drinkers keep up with pals sipping Irish Coffees, but Scudder swears by the flavor of Fords Gin and earl grey. The tea brings out the tannic and orange notes of the London Dry gin, flavors that become even more potent when sweetened and heated. Handmade whipped cream tops the whole thing off with a luxurious note.
“Who doesn't want a mink coat?” asks Rachel Sergi, head bartender at The Next Whiskey Bar at The Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. “It’s warm, luxurious and sexy.” The plush winter wear was the inspiration for the bar’s luxe take on a Hot Toddy, which upgrades the classic with infused scotch, demerara syrup and a rich clementine espuma. Compass Box Orangerie, whisky infused with navalino oranges and cassia bark, adds dry fruity tones to the cocktail, while rye brings peppery heat. The two layer upon the dry tannic flavors of ceylon black tea and the hardy sweetness of the demerara sugar. The clementine espuma, essentially an extra silky orange meringue, lays like a velvet blanket on top, dotted with spices that give the warm cocktail its winter sensation.